Editorial: Fostering the future insurance leaders of tomorrow

Getting the balance right between attracting and retaining talent is critical

Editorial: Fostering the future insurance leaders of tomorrow


By Mia Wallace

It’s an interesting thought – that the future leaders of the insurance profession are out there right now, taking first or early steps in careers that will prove remarkable.

The insurance sector has long faced skill shortages and wrestled with an ongoing ‘war for talent’ that is finding combatants in companies of every size and across every business line. As a result, there is a great deal of research, thought leadership and debate around how to attract great talent into the sector. From careers fairs, to apprenticeship schemes, to graduate programmes – many businesses are proving themselves open to partaking in any and all opportunities to throw open their doors to the next generation.

Of course, those open doors can bring trouble of their own when as easy as it is to come in, so easy is it to leave. It’s a tough balancing act for insurance businesses, to keep their attention on building a strong and sustainable talent pipeline while developing and maturing those who have already taken the instrumental first step of taking on an insurance role.

But conversations around retaining talent and keeping the future leaders of the profession invested and enthused about their future careers are more critical than ever. In a recent feature with Insurance Business UK, Wiser Academy’s CEO and MD Crescens George touched on this topic when he emphasised the need for companies to take a long-term and comprehensive approach to talent programmes.

Ambitious young people are not likely to be inspired by standardised initiatives, he noted, and so it is the responsibility of insurers to show them how the available opportunity can transform their lives and add a new dimension to their future. It’s an important message for insurance businesses that investing resources in new talent will never be a waste. For all its breadth, the insurance sector operates on a closed-circuit system, and the old maxim that ‘you can’t go home again’ has little meaning in this profession.

But even aside from the very real possibility that you will find yourself once again rubbing shoulders with the new market entrants that you train today, time invested in learning & development produces another insurance professional with a firm grasp of all the technical and cultural acumen that comes with that recognition. The more professionals circulating the market, in any business, the better the overall standing of the sector. And the more that reputation for professionalism develops, the easier it will be in the long-term to attract the very best and brightest the next generation has to offer. 

The weight of managing and nurturing the future of the insurance profession must be distributed evenly across a range of stakeholders lest it crushes those left to take it on themselves. It is not the sole remit of human resources departments, company boards, steering groups, external contractors or the managers who look after their people on a daily basis. Each has their part to play, as do the ambitious new market entrants looking to craft a career from the job they likely fell into. 

The industry’s rising stars must take advantage of every initiative designed to foster and encourage their talent. They need to give consistent and constructive feedback on what elements of these programmes are working for them and which still need a few more tweaks. It is by being part of the ongoing conversations around future leaders that they can carve themselves out a trail to blaze in the coming years.

With so much discussion about the future of work, there has never been a better time for the rising stars of insurance to make themselves and their unique perspectives heard and, in doing so, they can help craft the future of insurance in their own image. To those considering how to make that mark, there is nothing I can do to improve upon the expert advice recently shared by Nousheen Hassan of Innovative Risk & Audit Solutions – herself one of IBUK’s 2022 Elite Women.

Go out and do something different,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward for initiatives and do not underestimate how capable you are. You can bring a different perspective to ideas, teams, leadership roles and so it’s about being confident and facilitating the shift through your own actions. Have the confidence and believe in yourself. You can do absolutely anything you want if you truly put your mind to it.”

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