Category Archives: Careers and Employment

Careers in marine insurance provide a variety of roles

Students considering a career in insurance would do well to look into marine underwriting, a fascinating specialty that calls for a variety of diverse skill sets and abilities.

A recent blog post by Sean M. Dalton, Head of Marine Underwriting for North America at Munich Re highlights the many ways prior education is applied in marine underwriting.

Examples include:

  • Geography and History: Understanding climates, economies, cultures, histories, natural resources, trade, politics, conflicts and more, is at the core of what marine underwriters insure.
  • Communication: written, verbal, and presentation skills, are of critical importance. This applies whether drafting business correspondence, preparing a quote/proposal, or servicing your business.
  • Mathematics: Strong skills in math including finance, statistics, economics, algebra, and calculus all are important and useful in analyzing profitability, developing technical rates, and understanding trends and developments in results.
  • Science: Fields including chemistry, physics, meteorology, and biology are all important to marine underwriters and brokers.
  • Computer Sciences: Utilization of the latest IT capabilities and an understanding of how technology impacts the risks we insure are keys to success. CAT modelling and the application of predictive analytics are some specific examples where the power of technology is helping advance the business.
  • Social Skills: The insurance industry is a “people” business and how we interact with others is of great value. From marketing, negotiation, problem solving, and networking, social and interpersonal skills are keys to a successful career.

 

For more information about marine insurance visit the website of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters

For other careers in insurance visit InsureMyPath

Insurance labor market growth continues; Automation cited as top reason for staff decreases

The unemployment rate for the insurance industry in January 2018 was 2.2 percent, significantly lower than the national average of 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  A study recently released by the Jacobson Group and Ward Group takes a closer look at the insurance industry labor trends.

 “Anticipated increases in business volume and expansion into new markets continue to drive hiring demands,” said Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of Jacobson.

Highlights from the study include:

  • 58 percent of insurance companies plan to increase staff during the next 12 months.
  • Technology, actuarial and analytic positions are the most difficult to fill.
  • The top 3 reasons for increasing staff were cited as: Expansion of business/new markets (51 percent); Anticipated increase in business volume (47 percent); And areas currently understaffed (41 percent).
  • Companies that are decreasing staff sited automation improvement (23 percent) as the top reason, followed by reorganization (17 percent) and areas currently overstaffed (8 percent).
  • Companies are requiring more temporary staff. Twelve percent of companies are planning to increase their use, up from 11 percent in January 2017.

The Insurance Information Institute tracks insurance industry employment statistics here

Dr. Bob’s Dos and Don’ts for Successful College Recruiting

By Robert P. Hartwig, PhD, CPCU 

As part of our Insurance Careers Month series, guest blogger Dr. Robert Hartwig gives us his best tips for successful college recruiting.

 

TOP 5 “DOS”

    1.  Articulate a Career Path

  • Students want to see opportunities for career advancement and that you’re planning to make an investment in them.
  • Suggestion: Include an experienced employee on recruiting trips (5-15 years of experience, though not necessarily all with the recruiting company), not just HR people.  Students can identify better with these individuals and experienced employees can share their personal experiences and career paths.  Students love this.

    2. Get an Early Start

  • With the unemployment rate hovering around 4 percent (2.6 percent for college graduates), the best students are getting jobs sooner and sooner.  Top students now have multiple strong offers in September of their senior year. By December, the “cream of the crop” has been recruited.
  • Get into classrooms!  Career fairs can be a zoo.  Getting into the classroom, usually when students are juniors and first-semester seniors can be very effective for recruitment of new grads as well as interns.


    3. Institute a Formal Training Program for New Hires

  • Students want to hit the ground running and a formal training program after hiring is one of the best ways to quickly acclimate new hires to their new work environment while also making them feel welcome and comfortable with their new duties as co-workers.


    4. Institute an Internship Program

  • Many employers today have internship programs, but not all.  An internship program—even if very small—gives you a leg up on recruiting and many of the top students accept positions with a company with whom they interned.

     5. Support RMI Education—Consistently

  • Students who major in RMI are already indicating an interest in an RMI career.
  • Support RMI programs and education through scholarships, internships, targeted contributions to a university’s RMI program, executive visits to classrooms, participation by industry executives in courses taught partly by faculty and partly by the executive (e.g., one week).  A larger step would include endowing a faculty chair or professorship dedicated to the study of RMI, which would then bear the name of that company.
  • Get to know a professor or two!  Nobody knows these students better.  This will give you an edge in recruiting new hires and interns.  This relationship can also help you get into classrooms when students are making key decisions related to careers and employers.

TOP 3 “DON’TS”

    1.  Don’t Fail to Recognize that Students Will Hedge Their Bets with RMI-Industry Recruiters

  • You’re not recruiting in a vacuum. Most business school students double major and will have had two internships.  In today’s tight job market, understand that you’re not just in competition with other insurers and brokers, you’re in competition with banks, investment banks, accounting and consulting firms, pension funds, investment advisory firms and increasingly technology firms—and many more.     

2. Don’t Pigeon Hole Students

  • Limiting entry level hires to a claims and underwriting track is costing you quality talent.  Consider more direct hiring into Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Data Analytics and other functions.  Exposing students to the core underwriting and claims functions is critical to learning the business, but if the student’s major (or second major or minor) was in another discipline, the attraction of a competing offer from a bank, investment firm, accounting firm or consulting firm may be too much to resist.  Help them apply and channel their skills, talents and interests while also training them in the “art” of insurance.

    3.  Don’t Be Parochial

  • An astounding number of insurers—even large ones—don’t look too far beyond their headquarters or primary bases of operation for talent.  This is true both for internships and entry level positions.  There is sometimes a bias to recruit at local universities (perhaps because it is easier and less expensive to do so) which can lead (inadvertently) to a bias against hiring quality talent from other institutions.

 

Dr. Robert Hartwig is special consultant to the Insurance Information Institute and is Clinical Associate Professor of Finance and Director of the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina.

Insurance industry employment by the numbers

Today’s Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) Daily reports that the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) just published data as of May 2017 on detailed insurance industry employment.

Updated multi-decade trend data in chart form is available at the I.I.I. website. The I.I.I. slides show employment trends for property/casualty, life/annuity, health insurers, and reinsurers, agents & brokers, independent claims adjusters, and third-party administrators.

In May 2017, on a year-over-year basis, employment in most segments of the insurance industry was up by varying degrees: P/C carrier employment rose by 11,200 (+2.0 percent) to 566,800.

Data for the last few months are preliminary and are often revised later, but revisions are usually small.

 

 

Knowledge transfer gap at retirement needs attention

Talent management is a key concern among business owners, yet only 40 percent of businesses transfer knowledge from retiring staff, a Travelers survey found.

Only 60 percent of businesses surveyed reported that they provide employee training. These business practices can help promote a safe and well-trained workforce, Travelers said.

While businesses use a wide range of measures to prevent or mitigate common risks, including talent management, many could be doing more.

The survey found that roughly 2 out of 5 organizations do not safeguard the security of their premises (42 percent), post emergency exit plans (40 percent), or have emergency contact plans to reach employees or their families (39 percent).

Travelers surveyed 1,202 business owners and decision makers, including 493 small businesses (2 to 49 employees), 453 midsized businesses (50 to 999 employees) and 256 large businesses (1,000+ employees) across 11 industry sectors.

Check out the latest Insurance Industry Employment Trends report from I.I.I. chief economist Dr. Steve Weisbart.

I.I.I. facts and statistics on Careers and Employment are available here.

Butler University Inspires With Student-Run Captive Insurer

If you’re looking for inspiration to join the insurance sector, look no further than this story of student innovation and enterprise out of Indiana’s Butler University.

The University’s live mascot bulldog Trip, rare books, fine art, and observatory telescope are just some of the items that will be insured by MJ Student-Run Insurance Company, the brainchild of risk management and insurance majors at Butler’s Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program.

MJ Student-Run Insurance Company, a captive insurer, just received licensing approval from the Bermuda Monetary Authority and will officially open for business August 1.

Note: A captive a special type of insurance company set up by a parent company, trade association or group of companies to insure the risks of its owner or owners.

Butler newsroom blog reports that the insurance company was created as a way to give students hands-on experience to prepare them for an industry that anticipates needing 400,000 new employees by 2020.

While 1,900 American universities have accounting programs, and 900 have finance programs, only 82 offer insurance and risk programs, noted Zach Finn, clinical professor & director of Butler’s Davey Risk Management and Insurance Program.

Finn drove the creation of the Butler program back in 2012 to promote his search for a mix of textbook and experiential learning.’

Bernews.com reports:

“This is entrepreneurship at its best. MJ Student-Run Insurance Company Ltd is believed to be the first such captive created, paving the way for future innovation.”

Butler’s captive insurance company was funded by a gift from MJ Insurance and Michael M. Bill.

Check out I.I.I. information on captive insurers and other risk-financing options here.

Diversity And Inclusion In Insurance

Insurers are committed to recruiting to create a diverse and inclusive culture and as we celebrate International Women’s Day our industry is one of many striving to attract, develop and retain female talent.

Some 78 percent of large organizations around the world are actively trying to recruit more women, according to PwC, and we’re now seeing competition for female talent escalate to a whole new level.

“As employers enter this talent battle, they need to recognize they won’t just face competition from other would-be employers when hiring female talent. As employer demand for female talent rises over time, it will be critically important not only to attract female talent, but also to be able to develop, engage, progress and retain female talent once inside the organization.”

Establishing gender diversity recruitment targets is a key practice at employers whose diversity efforts led to increased levels of female applicants and hires, PwC found.

The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reports that in 2015, there were 1.6 million women employed in the insurance sector, accounting for 59.4 percent of the 2.7 million workers in the insurance industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To find out more about diversity and inclusion efforts across the insurance industry, check out the I.I.I.’s new webpage.

Out of the Mouths of Insurance Families

Trying to decide whether a career in insurance is right for you? A six-year old friend of the family just nailed it.

In a school homework assignment all about “My Dad” the first grader was asked to complete the sentence: My dad is the best dad in the world because…

Here’s his answer:

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So, there you have it, an insurance career in the making. Or, as the six-year old’s Mom quipped: #hiitsjakefromstatefarm.

There’s a new State Farm ad in there somewhere.

Check out the Insurance Information Institute’s new web portal–My Career in Insurance to get a sense of the incredible range of opportunities and occupations waiting for you.

Q&A With Bob Hartwig, Industry Legend

Dr. Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) for almost a decade is about to head south to join the faculty of the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. We caught up with him in his final days at the I.I.I. to ask him about his time in office, some of his most memorable moments and his plans for the future.

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time as I.I.I. president?

Bob Hartwig: Over the past 10 years we’ve built an extraordinary brand around the Insurance Information Institute name.  The I.I.I. is the trusted source for insurance information, analysis and expertise.  The organization’s credibility is its currency among its many stakeholders including not only consumers, insurers and media but also legislators, regulators, academics and more.  I’m also very proud of the way that we’ve been able to use cutting edge technology to further our mission of sharing with the world how this vital industry works and the critical role it plays in the global economy.

What was your most challenging day in office?

BH: 9/11.  No question about it.  The I.I.I.’s offices in lower Manhattan were only a few blocks from the World Trade Center site.  We watched real time from our 24th floor office at 110 William Street as the towers fell.  Our building was hit by flying debris and enveloped in smoke.  As the horror of that day was unfolding before our eyes, we were at the same time working to make sure that media and others understood that insurers would be standing by their commitments and would work tirelessly to help the tens of thousands of impacted policyholders, the city of New York and the United States as a whole get back on their feet.

You’ve made hundreds of TV appearances over the years representing the industry. Any memorable moments you can share with us?

BH: There are so many, but once again I go back to 9/11.  One or two days after the event I was invited to appear on the set of 60 Minutes.  I had appeared in the press calling for a Marshall Plan for Manhattan and once again was there to assure a nervous country that insurers were committed to helping rebuild.

You’ve rubbed shoulders with more than a few famous people on the insurance speaking circuit. Who were you most excited to meet and why?

BH: It’s not always the most famous person who delivers the best speech.  I had the chance to meet Bill Clinton, who’s quite a compelling speaker.  Recently, I met Arnold Schwarzenegger—who appeared at a fundraising event for insurance education in his capacity as a former governor of California.  I thought he had a particularly inspiring story that would appeal to many young people.  Perhaps the smartest person I ever met and a personal hero to me was John Nash, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 and depicted in the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”  I adapted some of the work he had done in the field of game theory in my PhD dissertation.  I met him in 2013 at the age of 84, two years before he and his wife died in a tragic car accident.

HartwigSchwarzenegger

When you’re not in the classroom cultivating the next generation of insurance minds, where can we find you?

BH: Well, you’re likely to find me out running or biking on rural roads in South Carolina.  That said, I bought a house on a lake in South Carolina and may soon indulge myself with a boat—so before too long you’re likely to find me at my favorite fishing hole!

I’m sure I speak on behalf of many of our readers in thanking Bob for his leadership and wishing him all the best in the next chapter!

Insurance Industry Advances Gender Equality

Insurance may have a reputation for being a male-dominated industry, but progress is being made toward gender equality according to a survey of female executives.

Some 86 percent of women attending the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) 2016 Women In Insurance Conference agreed that strides were being made to achieve gender equality, up from just 72 percent last year.

The shift in numbers is underpinned by several key trends that have had the most profound impact on the improvement of gender equality in the industry in the past five years.

Active recruitment of a gender-diverse workforce was identified as the most important trend by 44 percent of respondents to the IICF survey.

Another 22 percent cited the establishment of mentorship programs for women, while a further 20 percent said the sponsorship of executive networking opportunities carried the most weight.

Interestingly, 87 percent of respondents said their company in particular is actively working to promote gender diversity, up from 68 percent last year.

Limited opportunities to move up the corporate ladder are also no longer seen as the biggest obstacle to women ascending into leadership roles. Instead, women not promoting themselves enough or effectively was identified as the biggest challenge by 35 percent of respondents.

And when it comes to the advancement of women to senior leadership roles, some 32 percent of respondents rank insurance as the most supportive industry in financial services. Last year, insurance ranked last at just 12 percent.

Erin Calvey, executive vice president at Ironshore Insurance Co. and IICF Conference Series speaker, commented:

“While barriers still exist for women who seek to advance within their careers, we have seen a shift in thought among women in the industry – where lack of opportunities for upward mobility is no longer the primary obstacle.

“We see now more than ever the importance of women uplifting and supporting each other in order to collectively inspire progress.”

For more information on women in insurance check out these facts and statistics from the Insurance Information Institute.