Why the insurance industry needs to wake up on Gen Z

It's a generation you can't afford to ignore any longer

Why the insurance industry needs to wake up on Gen Z


By Ajay Mistry

The insurance industry, like many traditional industries that play a foundational role in the global economy, is at a pivotal juncture.

As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, from technological advancements to shifting consumer behaviours, it’s essential that we not only adapt but also thrive. A big part of this is the need to attract, nurture and retain talent from the newest generation: Gen Z.

As iCAN have finished our first Gen Z-only Career Conference at Aviva earlier this month, it is clear that the industry has a huge opportunity ahead.

Who are “Gen Z”?

The term ‘Gen Z’ typically refers to people born between 1997 and 2012. They are digital natives who have grown up in a world of rapid change and progression, which has influenced their unique and invaluable perspectives. They are defined by a certain entrepreneurial spirit, which combines a socially conscious outlook with a deep connection to the digital world.

Despite the obvious benefits Gen Z talent can offer, the UK insurance industry has been slow to recognise the value they can bring to the table.

“Gen Z are important to our workforce as they bring very different thinking and valuable challenge.  They work and think differently”, Kumu Kumar, head of Zurich Resilience Solutions UK said. “They are more digitally sophisticated and so can challenge our status quo, better preparing us for the present and the future. We must listen so that we can prepare our organisations to give them worthwhile careers, develop more appropriate mechanisms to retain them and to better understand what our future customers want.”

Here are just a few reasons why we should all be looking to do more to attract and nurture Gen Z talent:

  • Adapting to changing consumer needs

Gen Z, as consumers, have different expectations from service providers than previous generations. They value transparency, instant gratification and personalised experiences. By integrating them into our workforce the insurance industry can gain insights into the evolving needs and preferences of this demographic, ensuring we remain relevant and competitive.

  • Help to embrace digital transformation

With the insurance sector currently in the midst of digital upheaval and disruption, Gen Z employees are perfectly placed to drive this change and help the industry as a whole thrive in the new digital arena.

  • Increased innovation

Gen Z is a diverse generation that can bring a host of new perspectives and experiences to the industry – leading to fresh ideas and innovative solutions. By not tapping into this talent pool, the insurance industry risks being left behind.

  • Help to drive sustainability and social responsibility initiatives

Gen Z is deeply concerned about global issues like climate change, social justice and economic inequality. The insurance industry, with its vast reach and influence, has a role to play in addressing these challenges. By nurturing Gen Z talent we can align our strategies with the values of a generation that prioritises sustainability and ethical business practices.

  • Bridging the talent gap

With a significant portion of insurance professionals nearing retirement, there’s an impending talent gap. Gen Z can fill this void, but only if we make a concerted effort to attract and retain them. This means offering competitive salaries, flexible working conditions and opportunities for growth and development.

However, hiring Gen Z employees does come with challenges.

Mandy Lamptey, head of HR at Asta, said: “Attracting the next generation of talent in insurance presents distinct challenges. The biggest challenge I see for our industry is overcoming the perception that is it outdated and lack innovation. Meeting their digital expectations for seamless online experiences is paramount with a focus on sustainability and social responsibility - we will need to emphasise our commitment to innovation, digital transformation and social impact initiatives to secure and retain the skills and perspectives of this next-generation of talent.”

So, how can the insurance industry do a better job of attracting and nurturing Gen Z talent?

Here are a few suggestions, based on the work iCAN has done in this space:

  • Invest in training and development - Gen Z is eager to learn, grow and prove themselves. By offering comprehensive training programs, mentorship opportunities and avenues for continuous learning, we can ensure they have the tools to succeed.
  • Drive an inclusive culture - Embrace diversity, equity and inclusion, not just as buzzwords, but as core values to create a working environment where everyone is heard and valued. If you don’t know how, then ask. With this month’s Dive In Festival around the corner, there is so much fantastic advice and support to take advantage of.
  • Leverage technology - Use technology not just as a tool, but as a way to connect, collaborate and innovate within the workspace. This resonates with Gen Z, who are often more comfortable with incorporating technology into their day-to-day lives.
  • Train your managers – Are your managers trained in how to work with this generation? More and more firms are starting to pick up on this, but something we need to be doing more proactively rather than assume everything will continue. Lindsay Atkinson, talent acquisition partner at QBE told us: “In order to attract and retain Gen Z talent, it is clear that we need to invest time in supporting our managers with creating the right environment.”

As our industry stands at a crossroads, we can either choose to embrace the future by nurturing Gen Z talent or risk becoming obsolete.

Having now worked with so many Gen Zs, the choice is clear. Let’s invest in the future by giving the younger generation the platform they deserve.

To learn more about the work we do at iCAN, visit our LinkedIn Page

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