Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice to both employers and employees on leveraging their strengths.
Q: How will careers in the insurance industry be different once the pandemic is over? Will any of these changes help my career?
A: Living in Florida for the last 30 years, I have been through multiple hurricanes. Each one had its own trail of destruction. After the cleanup, lessons learned from each storm contributed to better building codes, upgraded weather technology, earlier warning systems, and more innovative public safety policies. COVID-19 reminded me of the worst storm to hit Florida: Hurricane Andrew in 1992. This storm caused billions of dollars in destruction and forever changed the way insurance is written in Florida. Events of this magnitude force change, hopefully for the better, and create opportunities that did not exist before they occurred.
Similarly, the pandemic disruption is forcing insurance companies to revisit their workforce strategies. In addition, employees have had almost two years to evaluate their employers and determine if they want to stay there in a post-COVID-19 world.
As many companies are finding out, employees are leaving in record numbers in what now is known as the Great Resignation. The challenge is for employers to figure out the best way to be competitive in the insurance marketplace and engage their employees like never before.
One thing is for sure: That 1985 insurance job description will finally change. The 2022 version has to focus on all of the things that a company is doing to keep its employees engaged, safe, healthy, and compensated. Also, companies must have clearly defined training and development programs available so employees can continue to grow professionally and increase their value to the companies. Finally, companies with outstanding technology need to ensure that this is included in all job descriptions.
Employers have to make a lot of changes, one of which is figuring out how to leverage the new “flexible” workforce. Remote workers are here to stay, and companies will have to invest in technology that provides tools to manage this workforce without lapsing into Big Brother tendencies. Ironically, while working from home seems to be a big selling point, a large part of the workforce still has no desire to do so. Insurance employers are essentially going to have to “customize” each employee’s work contract to fit their needs as long as they can meet company goals. It is not “take it or leave it” anymore if companies want to hire the best and the brightest. That is clearer today than ever before, and the conservative insurance industry may have some challenges making this work.
All of these changes employers have to make to recruit and retain are only amplified because insurance industry workers are still retiring in record numbers. If you want to move up the corporate ladder quickly, there isn’t a better time. Unlike the never-ending recession from 2009-2013, we saw home prices escalate during the pandemic, and the stock market hit record highs. Anyone considering retiring got a taste of what it would look like during the lockdown. I think the Great Retirement may finally be upon us, and many jobs will open up.
The insurance industry is going through an interesting time for hiring, retaining, and compensating employees. The good news for anyone who wants to move their career quickly is that so many jobs are open; if your current company isn’t providing you what you want, then there is a great chance a competitor can fulfill your career needs. Also, with work from home on the table, you can now work for a company thousands of miles away that meets all your needs.
The pandemic caused all companies to reevaluate how to do things, emphasizing employee engagement and enrichment. This is an excellent thing for your career and a competitive advantage for insurance companies ready to make these changes.