Work-life balance, opportunities for advancement, and a stable career path – who wouldn’t want to land a job with these qualities? And yet, millennials are still not entering the insurance industry in the numbers needed to replace a retiring workforce.
“It’s a great field, but I really don’t believe that the industry does enough to promote just how good a field it is,” said Robert Pettinicchi (pictured), executive vice president and chief lending officer at InsurBanc, which specializes in insurance agency perpetuation, acquisition and debt consolidation transactions.
Agencies especially aren’t grabbing the attention of students graduating from risk management programs who often end up being quickly picked off by carriers. It’s a lost opportunity, says Pettinicchi, because a young agent knows their demographic well.
“What the young agent can bring to an agency is how to market to a young person or to younger people,” he told Insurance Business, adding that stats show the world of agencies is populated by employees from older generations. “There’s a tremendous opportunity if the right talent is brought in to step into those roles.”
Getting exposure to the work done at an agency is key in the development of a young person’s sales skills, which are crucial to succeed as an agent. Though insurance is something that everybody needs, it does involve a sales process, says the executive VP. It takes people who can present well, work collaboratively, and, when all is said and done, make the sale. As new entrants to the industry, millennials need a hand in cultivating those skills.
“They’re good with problem-solving, collaborating, working in groups, and working in teams, but when it comes to that one-on-one sales process, that’s where they’ll need the development and there’s no greater place than an insurance agency to do that and learn that,” said Pettinicchi.
For young people with an entrepreneurial drive, working at an agency can open doors for business ownership later on. Many probably don’t set out with a clear goal of starting their own insurance agency, even though this doesn’t necessarily require a high capital cost of business, but that first job could be the start of a long and rewarding career that eventually leads to owning an agency. Nonetheless, that journey can’t start if young agents aren’t walking in the door to begin with.
“You’ve got to get your feet wet and see how it’s done, and be in a position where you could model some behaviors from people who are real top performers,” said Pettinicchi.
Robert J. Pettinicchi is chief lending officer of InsurBanc, a division of Connecticut Community Bank, N.A., a community focused commercial bank with a specialty in providing banking products and services to independent insurance agencies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org / www.insurbanc.com.