The Worldwide Broker Network (WBN) is the largest independent broker network in the world, boasting members in over 100 countries.
And yet even the largest broker network in the world still faces the same problems as any other broker network in the world – particularly when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. Many brokers across the world have feared a slowdown in recruitment long before the pandemic – and then COVID-19 hit, which caused a global shortage in talent across all industries.
Insurance Business spoke with Olga Collins, CEO of WBN, to learn how the organization has dealt with this issue, and what else can be done to attract new blood to insurance.
When asked what her thoughts are about the current “talent crunch,” and how some feel that education is not quite at the level wherein it can entice students to consider a career as a broker, Collins made a point that the industry is not completely helpless.
“I think the insurance and risk management world has come a long way when it comes to educating and keeping talent within,” she said.
But she also pointed out that there is room for improvement, particularly when it comes to informing students that a career in risk management is a thing.
“I think we still can do a better job advocating for, as we call here in [US] universities, a major ‘word track’ for risk management to be a more common class route, or [college] major route. Because not many organizations or universities in various countries provide that as a learning path.”
“So I think we have more gains to be had. But overall, I think we do a really good job at attracting folks,” the chief executive prefaced. “And, as you know, the insurance world is a people world; it’s all about relationships. There’s a little bit of fun to be had here, as well, so want to make sure to portray that to the college graduates accordingly.”
While interactions with clients may be part of the fun of being an insurance broker, the opportunity to meet with fellow colleagues to engage and discuss how to better help others could be just as exciting, if not more so. Accordingly, WBN recently held its 66th global conference in San Francisco – and the experience could not be more important to Collins.
“This was our first post-COVID, in-person conference. And we hold our conferences semi-annually, somewhere around the globe. So it was really exciting to get back in the same room again.”
Collins noted that as many as 45 countries were represented at the last conference. WBN was unsure about how many countries were still going to be hampered by travel restrictions, but the turnout was “surprising, but welcome,” the leader said. Collins also said that WBN gave brokers the option to participate in the conference virtually so that they would not miss out.
“And it really was a feeling of a reunion.,” said Collins. “And it was quite incredible. So if you can imagine meeting up with 300 of your closest friends, that’s exactly how it felt.”