The Great Resignation. The War for Talent. The Great Reshuffle. These phrases and their many iterations have become buzzwords in recent months. They refer to the huge uptick in workers quitting their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and shifting their expectations about what they want from their careers and their employers.
Insurance is an interesting case because, in many respects, the insurance labour market has long been tight. It’s often an industry that people fall into or inherit rather than one that people choose, and that’s because it’s up against other (seemingly) more exciting or lucrative careers in financial services, professional services, and technology.
“The insurance industry is not immune from these issues,” said Peter Hohman (pictured), Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) president and CEO, referring to the so-called Great Resignation and War for Talent. “However, I’ll say that the industry has a terrific story to tell, and that’s a great differentiator for us.
“The industry does important work that people can really believe in and get on board with – helping their neighbours and their communities get back on their feet when the unthinkable happens, whether it’s a single loss to a homeowner, or a business, a car accident, or whether entire parts of the country are affected as we’ve seen with recent flooding, fires, and windstorms.
“People can really see that their work can have a profound impact, and the younger generations in particular are looking for something they can believe in, whether it’s Gen Y (Millennials) and the Gen Z who are now coming through. The insurance industry has a fantastic story for these people.”
The narrative encompassing the Great Resignation is this idea of disenchanted workers looking for greener pastures elsewhere. People want fair compensation and benefits, they want flexible working arrangements, and, increasingly, they want to work for employers who are in tune with the major societal impacts of the day, such as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and the green economy.
“We have great employers in the insurance business. Whether it’s our insurers, reinsurers, brokers, adjusters, managing general agents (MGAs) – they’re all great employers,” said Hohman. “They want the best for their employees. They offer fair compensation and rewarding work environments, and I know that many will introduce hybrid or full work-from-home policies after the pandemic. And they offer professional development, which is critical, as people want to know that their employers will support and encourage them to grow as professionals.”
In 2021, the Insurance Institute of Canada celebrated a record number of graduates in the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) class of 2021, as well as record numbers of students who enrolled in institute programs, licensing courses and webinars. In total, the organization serves more than 40,000 members countrywide, providing professional education and career development for Canada’s property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry.
“With an industry population of approximately 125,000-130,000 people, having more than 40,000 people actively involved with the institute is remarkable participation – and we should all be very proud that the insurance industry in Canada is a global leader in that regard,” Hohman told Insurance Business.
“Really, when you think about it, the insurance industry offers many different rewarding career paths. There’s something for everyone. While some people may spin out of the industry, the insurance business offers a compelling value proposition that will keep people engaged and help us attract new talent to the business. In my view, the industry is really well positioned to succeed through this war for talent.”
One beneficial difference in the Canadian insurance industry, compared to other insurance markets around the world, is that it’s very close knit and there’s a sense of community – even among competitors.
Hohman commented: “The reality is, businesses are competitors, but at the same time, we have a common belief that the industry is here to support Canadian consumers. And while we can be competitors, we can also benefit and learn from others.
“I’ve been in the industry a handful of years, and certainly I’ve come to know a lot of people and I’ve kept those connections through many years. It really is a wonderful industry, and once people come into the business, they tend to stay because it is such a welcoming environment.”