Young people in insurance would rather work for agency competitors – here’s why

Young people in insurance would rather work for agency competitors – here’s why

Young people in insurance would rather work for agency competitors – here’s why SPLICE Software CEO Tara Kelly is confident that despite the insurance industry’s poor reputation with young people, the business has a lot to offer millennials, who express interest in careers involving community involvement, big data and the chance to develop cutting-edge technology.

When asked to name a few companies that are leveraging these concepts  as successful recruiting tools, she had no trouble doing so.

“AAA is really doing well at developing a keen community focus, which is appealing to millennials,” Kelly, who spearheads SPLICE’s efforts to develop better customer experience solutions for clients, told Insurance Business America. Liberty Mutual is also toying with better technology internally, as is Farmers and of course GEICO. GEICO really broke all the rules when it comes to using technology to improve the insurance company’s relationship with its customer.”

Unfortunately, all of those companies have one thing in common – whether as a captive carrier or a direct writer, they do not involve independent insurance agents and therefore don’t pass on those values and investments to agency principals and producers.

The independent channel is already struggling to hire the young people it needs in order to meet projected customer demand. A 2015 report from Reagan Consulting found that agencies are posting a dismal 56% success rate in hiring new employees, and between 55% and 60% are “under-hiring” based on their needs.

These are concerning figures, particularly given the onslaught of expected retirements in the next 20 years (the average insurance agent is 59) and the rising threat of alternative, tech-based solutions seeking to take over broker business.

Yet Kelly believes even the smallest insurance agencies have the ability to attract ambitious young people looking to work with technology – even if they don’t have the expansive budgets of a GEICO or a Farmers.

“We have so much data just waiting to be used, and software vendors are filling the gap by creating an affordable mix of products to do that,” she said. “It’s going to create a paradigm shift where agents and brokers are earning the right to be part of a customer’s life by exploring that data to mitigate risk and help customers. Agencies that put those tools in the hands of their producers are going to be the ones that will crush it in terms of hiring this really intelligent and savvy workforce.”

Kelly specifically recommended mobile- and app-based communication services, big data tools and even new ways of writing products (think Verifly’s “per flight” drone policies versus the traditional drone insurance model) as ways of adding value to the producer role and attracting millennials to the business.

By providing these tools and setting young people free to find a “different way of selling,” she says agencies will redefine the role of insurance and attract more customers – particularly young people, who are becoming a growing portion of the general workforce.

“It’s a very beautiful cycle, hiring millennials who look like the millennials they’re serving,” Kelly said. “She just takes off and she goes.”

Related stories:
Agencies' hiring success rate is dismal: Industry report
60% of agents say they’re doing “average to poor” in this critical area
  • John Neumann 8/30/2016 12:06:07 PM
    Unfortunately as someone in the gen X, I can even say 99% of the time I would pick working for a carrier over working for an agency/brokers. The vast majority of agencies/broker firms I run into are just way behind the times in terms of benefits, flexible work schedules, and upward advancement. Heck most agency don't offer a 401K and a full hour lunch, but if you work 70 hours a week for a decade you might, break $100K a year. Millennials have even a higher standard The Agent/Broker is a dying breed
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  • Insurance Recruiter 8/30/2016 2:15:41 PM
    As a recruiter in the Insurance & Risk Management space specifically within brokerage, technology is not the reason such companies are failing at attracting young talent. Nowadays, this organizations are very concerned with hiring a sure thing. They want to invest the lowest amount possible in order for someone to validate their compensation as quickly as possible. Due to this mindset, millennials do not feel valued. They understand quickly that if they do not produce the business, they will be let go. If these organizations went back to investing in people versus focusing on the return, the success rate and retention of these type of employees would exponentially grow.
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  • Never again. 7/13/2017 7:36:14 PM
    Just left a large broker after 10 years and can say I'll never go back. Made a $100k salary but was miserable and didn't know it until I left. The half truths and unethical practice need to make a sell will kill you personally. Fact is all agents brokers are selling the same carriers and services. Carrier can provide all the same services that brokers do. The independent agency won't exist in 15 years with growth in technology.
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