Category Archives: Careers and Employment

Careers Insured Charts a Bold (Obstacle) Course at Kansas State U.

By James Ballot, Senior Advisor, Strategic Messaging, Insurance Information Institute  

 

 

On September 12, the I.I.I. unfurled its Careers Insured banner for the first time outside the K-State Student Union at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. The call went out to all via live onsite campus radio broadcasts (and a full complement of social media updates) for everyone to drop by, have some fun, see a few amusing face-plants … but most of all to see and experience insurance and the insurance profession in a whole new light.

There amid perfect weather, things got “risky” as hundreds of KSU students ran a giant inflatable obstacle course and engaged with representatives from I.I.I. member companies, Lockton and Farmers, to learn about internships and job openings, collect free swag and enter for a chance to win prizes.

The obstacle course created a sensation. But what really brought people back was the desire to learn more about insurance careers and internships and the amazing possibilities they can unlock. If one anecdote could best summarize the day, it would be the following exchange:

I.I.I. staffer: “Hi! Run the obstacle course; sign up for the raffle; learn about insurance!?”

KSU student: “No time. I’m here to talk to these guys about an internship.”

Don’t want to miss out on the next Careers Insured event? visit the website for more news and information.

University of Pennsylvania Hackathon Recap

Brent Carris, Research Assistant at the Insurance Information Institute, files this report from the PennApps hackathon.

The Policy Incubator and the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I) teamed up to sponsor a “hack-for-resilience” route at this year’s PennApps, the nation’s first student-run college hackathon which took place on September 7-9.

Presentations were given by: Howard Kunreuther, Carolyn Kousky, and Brett Lingle of the Risk Center at the Wharton School; and the I.I.I.’s Brent Carris. Presenters discussed innovative tech-driven, insurance and disaster-relief/preparedness solutions. Student interest exceeded expectations, with 44 teams entering the hack-for-resilience.

First place was awarded to a hack called Babble.  This team created a mesh network that can be used when Wi-Fi is down to facilitate post-disaster communications, coordinate help, triage assistance, and give better information to first responders. Second place was awarded to a hack called Eleos that would match disaster victims’ needs directly with those who have resources to help. Eleos along with many other hacks were created in response to recent events, such as the California wildfires, and inspired by students whose family and friends survived disasters. You can see all other entries and winners here.

The I.I.I. is proud to partner with universities across the country to recruit the next generation of insurance professionals. Stay tuned for next week’s post from Kansas State University’s career event.

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER TO COLLEGE GRADUATES From I.I.I. CEO, Sean Kevelighan

By Sean M. Kevelighan,
CEO, Insurance Information Institute

Dear College Graduate:

Do you know exactly where you want to work after graduation? If your answer is no, then you’re in good company.

A lot of people I’ve encountered during my time in the insurance industry share a common story: Looking back at their college years, they’re still a bit surprised to be working in insurance. However, now that they’re here, they cannot imagine being in any other field. And this is the essential truth about insurance careers: That you can make the most of your knowledge, talent, passions and ambitions, no matter what you’ve studied or where you want to go. So here’s your chance not to be “surprised” by the amazing range of careers in insurance. Instead, we urge you now to take control of what could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Making a real difference in the world—every day

Insurance has a long heritage as the bedrock on which progress is built that dates back to the Age of Exploration. Today, the insurance industry is growing and evolving. We’re looking to recruit and hire the people who will power the future by embracing and innovating the breakthroughs that will help us fulfill our primary mission: to make communities safer, more resilient, and more productive—and to rebuild lives, households, and businesses after a loss.

Presently, the insurance industry employs more than 2.8 million people—art historians and actuaries; data scientists and drone pilots; marketers and M & A specialists; underwriters and overachievers of every stripe—all of whom enjoy careers that offer opportunities to earn and grow, and serve. Insurers invest in their workers by building corporate cultures that embrace diversity and inclusion, offer outstanding work/life balance, and serve their communities through organizations such as the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation.

Take the first step—you’ll be glad you did

As you embark on a path that will take you through life, I encourage you to investigate the limitless opportunities that insurance careers offer. To give you a sense of what you will find in the insurance industry, here are some facts and figures, as well as five stories of students and young professionals who are making their education and experience count: https://www.iii.org/article/careers-in-insurance.

On behalf of everyone at the Insurance Information Institute, we offer our congratulations on earning your degree and wish you the best of luck as you meet the next great challenges in life.

Sean Kevelighan, Chief Executive Officer

The Insurance Information Institute | www.III.org

 

 

 

 

Lloyd’s loosens its tie (rules)

Had a different post planned for today, but this article about Lloyd’s of London, from behind the Financial Times paywall is the perfect segue into the Memorial Day Weekend:

… over the past few months the insurance market has quietly started to relax its strict tie policy. While it has not yet formally repealed the rule, it is no longer enforcing it strictly.

A spokesperson for Lloyd’s said that the new policy was “in keeping with the norms of business dress in the City”.

One underwriter who works at Lloyd’s welcomed the move. “It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “If you had walked around without a tie 10 years ago it would have been the same as wearing a yellow mankini but this is part of general modernisation.”

… could do without the mankini reference, though.

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.