Training a new generation of insurance professionals

Training a new generation of insurance professionals | Insurance Business

Training a new generation of insurance professionals
Filling the ranks of those departing industry veterans – the Baby Boomers – who will be taking that gold watch within the next decade, raises the question: who will be tomorrow’s industry leaders? And how is that knowledge base to be replaced?

Preparing for it, and attracting top talent to an industry that demands not only people with great people skills, but impeccable product knowledge, are the issues that RSA Canada have anticipated and are actively dealing with through its mentoring and education programs.

Finding the talent
There are a few success stories across the country that have graduates not only finding jobs in the insurance industry, but thriving.

“BCIT (British Columbia Institute of Technology) and Alberta have a 100 per cent placement rate to a number of different insurance companies and brokerages,” says Margaret Parent, the Director, Professionals Division, Insurance Institute of Canada. “BCIT has a wonderful career fair where the various employers all have their booths out, and it’s a 100 per cent placement rate for all of these colleges.” Entry level jobs are being filled by young people, it’s when greater skill set or deeper insurance industry skills are required is when it’s more challenging to find new talent.A new way of looking at those who are coming into the brokerage for the first time is to not treat them like cattle – nameless, faceless agents who have interchangeable talents and skillsets.

Not ‘one-size-fits all’
“I think one of the challenges is we’re kind of treating the people who work in the brokerages as almost a ‘one-size-fits-all structure,’” says Martin Thompson, senior vice president of global specialty lines with RSA Canada. “A key point of understanding is you need to look at the different profiles. You’ve got personal lines, which is where the agent or CSR resonate. But as you start to move further into commercial, it’s a different animal.”

As specialization becomes more narrow, the movement within the industry will also change, says Thompson.

“You’re seeing a different approach from some of the bigger national brokers where they’ll have armies of people doing specialized technical jobs,” he says. “You will see very few people go from the highly technical side of insurance  to become producers or brokers.”

Beyond the independent brokers, Thompson thinks producers will be brought in from the industry associations or people who have been plugged into different clients and customers.

“In my experience, it doesn’t tend to be from the industry as much,” he says. (continued.)

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