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Kelly Sheridan
Kelly Sheridan
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Turning Millennials Towards Insurance

How can insurance companies entice younger generations to fill the slots left by a retiring workforce?

Today’s tech-savvy college graduates could prove invaluable to insurance industry development, but insurers often struggle to compete for top young talent. As the baby boomer generation starts to retire, it’s time for businesses to think about how they can attract the newest members of the workforce.

The internal resources of insurance companies are a neglected aspect of the industry, noted Aite Group analyst Jamie Bisker in a conversation at this year’s IASA conference in Indianapolis. “There is a lot of work we could be doing to market the industry to younger people,” he said.

[ Mobile Apps: Key to Customer Engagement in Insurance. ]

In recent years, insurers have made progress in building products that appeal to young consumers. UK-based Ingenie serves as an example of how companies can leverage modern trends such as social media and gamification to attract millennial customers. But how can insurers attract employees from the same age group?

Insurance doesn’t often appeal to younger generations, Bisker explained, because most lack experience in the field – and the little interaction they have is perceived as negative. Most people don’t encounter the industry until they obtain cars as teenagers and are required to purchase auto insurance. Because it is often new to them, teens may not fully understand the benefits of insurance; they just know that they have to pay for it.

Bisker mentioned introducing the concept of insurance to young students in a manner that explains the benefits of the industry and applies the concept to their lives. Insurers could, for example, speak with elementary or middle-school students and explain how insurance could help if they break their computer or iPod. If they are aware of insurance at an early age, he explained, students have more time to familiarize with the industry and develop an interest in the field.

To increase the appeal for slightly older students, Bisker suggested the concept of a mentorship program for college graduates who may have limited knowledge of the industry. Retired insurance executives could provide necessary guidance to incoming employees through regular Skype meetings or phone calls. Such programs could help new workers become comfortable with the industry and provide the confidence they need to grow within it.

How do you think insurance companies could better attract young talent? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio

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User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 3:09:47 PM
re: Turning Millennials Towards Insurance
Good point, Kathy - this does go beyond education and insurance companies should definitely provide compensation/benefits that are competitive with those in other industries. That said, there is also more that can be done to spark students' interest in the industry before they get to college.
User Rank: Moderator
6/12/2014 | 8:11:29 PM
re: Turning Millennials Towards Insurance
The underwriter has been outfitted with many industry leading tools and capabilities. Unfortunately, because many of the tools are not integrated the result is operational pain and inefficiency. UW's have to move in and out of multiple applications to gather the information necessary to complete a single strand of work. Frankly, it becomes rather clerical in nature.

The complexity of underwriting is growing (big data and inputs multiply) and represents significant challenge in just being able to grapple with it. But keeping on top of all of this becomes discouraging when the frequent response to technology needs is - "legacy".

At a personal productivity level software applications are extending the frontier for
improved efficiency, communication, and mobility. TodayGÇÖs high performing
employees are expecting an employerGÇÖs technological tools to keep pace with the
rapidly advancing landscape. The industry is at least a decade away from
keeping pace with this issue. We are not attracting all that we should, who wants to work like this?.....
User Rank: Author
6/12/2014 | 7:04:53 PM
re: Turning Millennials Towards Insurance
The global competition for talent is, I think, one of the biggest challenges for insurers for all the reasons you and Jamie identify. Insurance companies definitely have an image problem -- some of that is unfair, some if we are honest with ourselves is somewhat justified. But more than education may be required, because there are still core insurance functions (claims adjudication, underwriting, accounting, etc.) that "are what they are" -- you can say it's big data but an actuarial table is still an actuarial table (no disrespect intended to actuaries). So there are probably other things such as compensation, benefits, location, etc., that also have to be on the table.
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