NZ insurance recruiters see Trump effect

by Maryvonne Gray 16 Nov 2016

NZ insurance recruiters see Trump effect

Just as the Immigration New Zealand website saw 88,353 visits from US users in the 48 hours after Trump’s election win, a similar spike in US interest has occurred on specialist insurance recruiter Ensure’s website too.

NZ general manager for Ensure, Hamish McDonald, said compared to this time last year there had been a 100% increase to the New Zealand site from traffic originating from the USA, and an even larger 172% increase for its Australian business.

“Recent direct enquiries have overtly stated the uncertainty they see within America, post the election of Donald Trump, and the desire to move to a place far removed from this,” McDonald told Insurance Business.

“Fortunately, New Zealand is seen as politically stable, innovative and safe.

“Most recently I have had candidates with actuarial science qualifications making contact, and since their skills are scarce and in demand there are options for most of them. Similarly, we have had contact with underwriters and distribution specialists.”

McDonald said it was very important to ascertain whether their response to the Trump election was a kneejerk reaction or not.

“There are a myriad of other factors that go with emigrating to another country, so we need to assess whether they’ve taken a deliberate and well-thought out approach which they’re motivated to see through,” he explained.

“A lot of the skills we look for are technical and specialised to the insurance industry, so we are always open for a conversation with skilled applicants from anywhere in the world.

“New Zealand doesn’t typically see a large volume of Americans moving here, particularly in insurance, but it would bring further diversity to our market which I’m sure each organisation would welcome,” he added.

Paul Wheeler of Human Edge Recruitment said he, too, had noticed a ‘huge spike’ in hits from the US in the days following the election result.

“I have recruited some great guys across from the States and fully expect to see some more talent reaching out over the next few weeks.”

Wheeler also said there were challenges around preparing candidates for a Kiwi culture shock.

“It can be a challenge with these candidates, not only logistically but also around preparing them for the different culture the New Zealand insurance market has, compared to what they are used to,” he noted.

“But it is a great talent pool to dip into, that can bring new ideas and initiatives with them.”

Wheeler said after Brexit he experienced a ‘a lot of ‘tyre kickers’ immediately afterwards’.

“A few followed up after the initial interest that I’m hoping to bring across in the New Year,” he said.

Stirling Andersen manager Gary Bloxham had seen a similar pattern play out too. The agency recently expanded its coverage to include legal services recruitment, which was encorporated into their overall professional services coverage to the financial services and insurance community.

Bloxham said: "This desk has seen a remarkable increase of enquiries from the US legal fraternity following the Trump effect including Kiwis looking at possible options in returning back home.

"From other areas within insurance we have seen a steady increase in enquiries from the US, some citing the unknown of a Trump presidency. These skilled migrants are senior skilled insurance specialists, again this also includes a number of Kiwis working in the US looking at possibilities for returning home."

He added: "With respects to Brexit we have also seen an increase in financial services professionals from within stock broking and funds management out of the UK making enquiries. We have also had enquiries from the greater EU, from countries such as Spain and Holland where British nationals are concerned about the European refugee crisis and are looking at NZ as an option."

Related stories:
Specialist insurance recruiter Ensure targets NZ
NZ insurance recruiter returns