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Insurance Business | 28 Jan 2015, 09:08 AM Agree 0
A recruiter with 27 years’ experience within the industry has called insurance “one of the most candidate short or talent short industries” around and given her tips on finding the best staff in a competitive market place.
  • Just an Observer | 28 Jan 2015, 10:08 AM Agree 0
    Would agree 100% with this comment.

    But after 38 years in Insurance I can only say that the industry only has itself to blame.

    With mergers, down sizing, out sourcing, change in direction etc. etc. companies have little if any loyalty to staff. So staff naturally don't really talk the industry up.

    Experienced people are under valued and in some case treated with what can only be described as contempt. especially by the younger generation of know All's.

    Second class third rate management are put in place because they are "safe" and can be relied upon to say YES when required.

    End result, people that do come into the industry don't stay past 5 to 10 years etc.

    Industry has a lot of soul searching to do if it wants to change things.

    Only problem is that 38 years ago when I started in the industry many of above problems already existed. So after 38 years would could say nothing has changed/ improved.
  • Darren Walker | 28 Jan 2015, 10:15 AM Agree 0
    It disturbs me that recruiters like Ms McNeill seem to view insurance claims as the area you send the dummies to work in. If she and others are unable to sell the many and varied roles and skillsets required within an Australian insurer of the 21st century, we really will have a problem.
  • md | 28 Jan 2015, 10:18 AM Agree 0
    years ago the insurance companies were one of the biggest "out of school" employers, now I believe with all the regulations and red tape it has made it harder to get juniors to enter the industry, everyone wants experienced people, without the big insurers training juniors to feed the whole industry its no wonder there is a shortage.
  • MFM | 28 Jan 2015, 11:23 AM Agree 0
    Interesting article and particularly pertinent in the regional areas outside the capital cities. Unfortunately, though, it confirms a widely-held prejudice against claims service and claims servicers. "...even if it's in the claims area..."? I appreciate that the claims teams are a great place for a start in the industry. They are also an important place for a whole career; I find it difficult to swallow, yet again, that this is considered an 'even', an 'only' and a 'just' role.
  • Phil | 28 Jan 2015, 03:27 PM Agree 0
    You will often find that claims people, because of the grounding they receive in that role, know more about a policy than some UW's so it is a great place to get that grounding if people in the industry are going to progress into other areas. I have been in the game over 40 years and I have always thought that the claims area is the best place to learn about how insurance works. Let's also keep these roles here in Australia!
  • Greg D | 29 Jan 2015, 10:07 AM Agree 0
    With many insurers moving office tasks overseas the past proven training paths have reduced considerably and will continue to decline whilst insurers continue this practice.
    Many insurance brokers have taken the initiative employing school leavers introducing them to a rewarding insurance career.

  • Les | 30 Jan 2015, 11:12 AM Agree 0
    I agree that there has been a shortage of young talent coming through the ranks in the insurance industry. A common refrain is that most people "fell" into the industry and stayed on. The industry is perceived to be non-glamorous with many talented young people gravitating to the finance and banking sectors. As a relatively young person in (mid-30s) who has been in the industry for 10 years now, there were a lot of raised eyebrows among my peer group when I first started. many questioned why I wasn't in investment banking or with one of the big four banks. The insurance industry has done a poor job in marketing itself to the new generation.
  • RM | 30 Jan 2015, 12:52 PM Agree 0
    It astounds me the way Recruitment Agencies treat candidates, it is the "norm" in this country to be ignored, sure there are often numerous applicants for one position, but this does not excuse recruiters from given the courtesy of a reply
  • Robert Cooper | 02 Feb 2015, 11:52 AM Agree 0
    Nearly every person I know in insurance "fell" into having a career in this industry, but thirty years ago, it was relatively cheap to study and obtain an Associateship of the Australian Insurance Institute because you could do it through TAFE as well as by correspondence. It did not cost much for employers to develop their staff accordingly and train them up for the long term.
    Now it costs a fortune to do so and the risk for a small business, to pay for their staff to study and develop increased skills, is the potential to lose them to a competitor who has not made such an investment but instead offers a higher salary. All that development and investment in the junior is lost as well as their knowledge of your portfolio.
    At the same time, a junior still does not seek out a career in insurance and make that investment themselves because we hardly project ourselves as a great career. Not all of this is our fault. When I have offered the local school to talk about the profession of Insurance Broking, they were not interested. The Vet, Dentist, Doctor, Accountant and Engineer all got gigs.
    We have to look at our Professional Associations and how they can be better utilised with much lower fees than they want to charge now, so we can all easily invest in developing staff.
    At the moment, only the much larger companies and insurers are able to do this, and if they engender loyalty and look after their career development, there is no reason for them to move on.
  • LesterLevin | 03 Feb 2015, 02:59 AM Agree 0
    RM, I agree!, even though I am, a far older candidate than yourself. Many, many recruiters claim, falsely, to have experience in our industry when in fact few have actually worked within it. I have experience in many facets of our trade, Broking, Marketing (Sales), Underwriting, Claims, Customer Service, Processing (Winbeat/Sunrise) etc and whilst I have this experience and am genuinely willing to excercise these skills I am continually passed over or ignored because of my age. Recruiters fail to respond except to send a stock standard reply and if the same standards (Regulatory) were imposed on recruiters as are imposed on licensee's and there employees HOW MANY RECRUITERS would there be?. We both work in Service Industries and we succeed or fail based on our application of that service. The other side of the coin lay in the fact that Recruiters and some Employers don't necessarily want people who can think and act independantly of an employers requirements and surely that's exactly what the Industry should be craving for. Anybody out there with a position that calls for such talent!, if so, contact me
  • Steve Clancy | 03 Feb 2015, 11:59 AM Agree 0
    It is partly a problem of economics: most employers are reluctant to invest in training inexperienced job applicants as there is a perceived low likelihood of recovering that cost. That is, once a junior gains enough experience to be valuable to other employers, they may chose to leave before their training cost has been recuperated.
    One partial solution would be for the applicant/junior to internalize the training and dev. costs.

    Also, I agree that claims is a great place to start in the industry, and even stay and further develop technical skills.
  • LesterLevin | 03 Feb 2015, 08:58 PM Agree 0
    Steve and others Please note whilst it is a requirement for employers to pay for training under the regulations it does not preclude a candidate from offering to undertake training i.e. Tier 2 to Tier 1 or Tier 1 to Diploma and to pay for same themselves and to subsequently be compensated with Higher Salary following completion (Reward for Effort). This would be a novel approach and is not, as far as I am aware against regs. This is also somewhat unique in that the prospective candidate is showing they can think outside the square and I'de say surely this is what most brokers and I dare say most Insurers should be doing!, is this not the way Brokers and Insurers create new products so as to meet market and specific consumer segments. i.e. HNW Domestic products the 1st company to cater to this segments was Mansions then followed Chubb, Sterling and AIG. There might also be the perception that our industry is not seen as progressive whereas it is in the sense that new products are not created unless an Insurer/Underwriter is receptive to approaches on variation to existing products. There remains an additional problem in that recruiters generally fail to understand the performance requirements of critical rolls i.e. Claims, Underwriting, account Executive, Account Managers and Directors. Who then needs and requires training and regulations THE ANSWER IS OBVIOUS!
  • Steve Clancy | 04 Feb 2015, 09:11 AM Agree 0
    Hi Lester,
    Yes, I agree with candidates seeking to undertake their own certification, it's what my interns do prior to graduating and seeking employment.
    However when I said cost, I mean the total economic cost to the employer, and this can be significant. Some of the monetary costs include recruitment ($2-4k), and salaries of existing team members who have to train and mentor the new recruit. Harder to quantify are the costs associated with loss of business, or loss of potential business, due to the new inexperienced staff member, and the lowered productivity levels whilst they gain working knowledge of the firm and their role.
    There is also a, perceived if not real, higher risk from an inexperienced candidate of failing to be able to competently perform their role. If this is the case, the firm suffers reduced productivity during this time, and 3-6 months later may find themselves going through the recruitment process all over again.
    I'm not saying this doesn't happen with experienced applicants, but the risks can be somewhat lower.

    Kind regards
  • Never to retire | 04 Feb 2015, 10:19 AM Agree 0
    A key issue is not only Young people wanting to get involved in insurance but the constant need of employers for instant fixes (i.e experience)

    Very few companies seem to actively target school or uni leavers so this has left a large gap in the skillset of employees….as mentioned above the outsource of the entry level or admin position doesn’t help as this is traditional pathway for office junior to broker to management, also the advent of AR’s has taken from this pool aswell.

    Also many talk about industry participation and engaging these young employees however the culture shift in all insurance based organisations has changed from the 70/80/90’s when there wasn’t networking function put on…it was just a standard regular catch up that didn’t require a sponsor or CIP points…it was just “the market place” and you networking and shared knowledge often without truly realising you were.

    A number of mid-tier brokers are struggling with staff salary pressures due to this major shortage in talent & any broker under 40 with good skills and reputation is almost the most valuable commodity on the broking/insurance market.
  • 18yrs in UK Insurance | 04 Feb 2015, 03:55 PM Agree 0
    Someone has the experience but not the required qualification! A school leaver with Tier 1 but no experience would be looked at first, this is ridiculous.

    I also feel the lack of training from employers could be the key to this problem and knowledge is being kept from new employees. Why would you not want your staff and business to grow and be the best in the industry.

    Customer Service in most Australian companies is extremely poor.

    Training is valuable, employers should spend quality time training new staff, get it right from the start.

    Salary is low for this industry in Australia, be in line with the cost of living!

    Australia asks for a course/qualification for everything, knowledge and experience is worth more than any qualification. Come on Government it is not all about the Money Money Money!!!

  • LesterLevin | 04 Feb 2015, 05:57 PM Agree 0
    It seems, once again, I've stirred up something of a Hornet's nest!. Recruitment costs as charged by recruiters range from 5 -19% on Base salary of $50k that's $2,500 -
    $9,500 and what do they indeed do for it, not a great deal that is, in my experience. As for experienced UK candidate working in our industry without Australian qualifications there problem, in my experience, stems from the fact that Underwriting practices and policy wording had been based on Marine principles and this failed as the questions normally asked of a potential client necessary to taylor the clients policy needs weren't present, that said, I know that regulatory reform in the Uk have changed in that they have or are largely based upon the Australian regulatory reforms and qualifications. The US is different again, in that, licenses are required to each product class let alone any other difficulties associated with US Law. I do not believe that employers or government demand that potential employees undertake course knowledge, as this is normally gained through on the job experience when they are engaged and where they show some aptitude in their field. Qualifications, by extension,
    form part of employment, despite who might pay for same. The point being is ""Where you are indeed performing your tasks you would be making money for your employer. The employees who fail to performing or are unsuitable to the profession will be, rather quickly, removed. This is the "Economic Cost". Despite the deemed requirement for Qualifications and irrespective of who pays for same. The employer, under current regulations, has the right to engage a candidate provided they can satisfy themselves that the candidate can meet the qualifying standards. Additionally there are numerous ways of employers can taylor salary packages to suite such eventualities.
    If there is an Insurance Broker out there who agrees with me and is seeking an experienced, Senior Candidate, give me a call (I will negotiate) 0403837770
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