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Are you planning to grow? Invest in these three areas to compete for talent

This post is part of a series sponsored by AgentSync.

Are you planning to grow?  Invest in these three areas to compete for talent

The insurance industry, known for being stable even during times of instability, is once again set to add jobs and grow in the coming year. According to The Jacobson Group’s third quarter 2021 study, 93 percent of insurance companies plan to either maintain or increase their headcount in the coming year. The majority of these (56 percent) are actively planning to grow.

In a recent article, the Insurance Journal reports that the study’s results show a 1.81 percent increase in total employment in the insurance industry over the next 12 months—assuming projections are as expected.

This means that if you plan to grow, you are not alone. And the battle for talent is about to get even more brutal as the industry once again prepares for a boom. Not only will most insurance companies be hiring in the next 12 months, but the study shows that the majority of roles, across all functions, are considered at least moderately difficult to fill. This is the first time in the history of the Jacobson Group study that insurers have reported this level of difficulty filling roles!

Retiring baby boomers, fewer young people turning to insurance for a career, high turnover among newer hires and plans to grow at insurance companies? It’s the perfect storm for the already ongoing talent crisis to get even worse. So what’s an insurance company to do?

Here are some thoughts on how insurance companies can be as competitive as possible, hopefully leading them to stay ahead of others in recruiting and retaining the talent they need to achieve their growth goals.

Invest in technology

We’ve said it ourselves many times, but it bears repeating: Insurance companies that invest in technology to make employees’ lives easier will lead the way in the battle for talent. On the practical side, investing in systems that help your staff reduce busy work and repetitive data entry will obviously lead to higher productivity. But it is more than that.

The benefits of modern technology have a ripple effect. Employees feel more valued because their time is not spent on tasks they see as beneath them. Distribution channel partners also feel it when they have access to systems that give them a single source of truth and faster ways to get things done than your competitors might have.

You also cannot overlook the benefits that technology brings to the compliance side. With a system (like AgentSync, for example) to manage producer onboarding, licensing, renewals and appointments, you’ll be equipped to add agencies and producers faster without fear of missing important compliance steps along the way.

Invest in diversity

The challenges facing today’s insurance companies are unique to this generation. So the solutions must be too. Although it may sound counterintuitive, experts recommend recruiting employees who have no background in the insurance industry, rather than simply poaching experienced staff from other companies.

Doing so has the benefit of actually bringing new workers into the industry, helping the overall problem (the workforce shortage) instead of just putting a band-aid on your own company’s short-term problems. Another benefit of bringing in people from completely outside the insurance industry is that it opens up the opportunity to recruit talented women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and others who historically are not already represented in the industry.

Investing in a more diverse workforce isn’t just some “politically correct” box to tick. It’s proven to drive innovation and revenue, as teams perform better when challenges are addressed from a variety of perspectives.

With the insurance industry’s reputation for being dominated by old, white men, bringing in new talent by recruiting those with no previous insurance experience can be a game changer. At the end of the day, no one in the industry is going to solve the current perfect storm of job vacancies and lack of qualified candidates by hiring the same people you already have been for the past few decades.

Invest in training/mentoring

This tip is actually a culmination of the first two: When you diversify your talent pool with people outside the insurance industry, and when you create a positive experience for your staff by eliminating boring, repetitive tasks, the result is an environment where senior staff have time and ability to provide training and mentoring.

When asked, employees often cite mentorship and opportunities to develop their skills as some of the top things they look for in a career. Millennials have a reputation for ‘job hopping’ but the truth is they are just as likely to stay in one place as older generations if they feel their career growth is being promoted. If insurance companies really want to grow, not just in 2022 but for many years to come, they need to invest in the next generation of talent now while there is still an experienced workforce to learn from.

Overall, the storm blowing for insurance companies will not be solved by doing things the way they have always done them. Upfront costs, whether investing in a producer licensing and compliance management system or spending time training staff with no prior industry experience, are inevitable. The key to success is to take the plunge and get started as soon as possible to achieve growth goals, rather than lagging behind and missing the mark.

While much of this advice is yours to take and run with, and may require the help of external resources, one area we can support you in is your investment in technology. By implementing a producer license management system like AgentSync Manage, your insurance company becomes easier to work with, both for your own employees and the agencies, MGAs and MGUs you work with.

Check out an AgentSync demo to learn more.

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