Producers lead industry job growth trends

Producers lead industry job growth trends | Insurance Business America

Producers lead industry job growth trends
Despite concern over the changing role of the insurance producer, the agent and broker sector is humming along at a healthy pitch. In fact, recent trends indicate producers will soon hit a historical job growth peak.

According to an Insurance Information Institute analysis of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the producer subsector is now just over 3,000 new positions away from its pre-financial crisis employment peak in July 2007.

“If the recent pace keeps up, employment in this segment will pass that prior peak in one to two months,” said III President Robert Hartwig.

The sector added 3,300 jobs in November 2013, accounting for the sixth straight month of growth for producers.

Sustaining these figures will be another matter, however. According to a recent MarshBerry report, the producer sector is aging and will need to replace producers at a rate of three new hires to one retiree to sustain these high figures.

“This data makes it clear that agencies cannot afford to continue to do business as usual when it comes to hiring new producers,” MarshBerry researchers wrote. “The most relevant agencies of the next agencies of the next decade will not only hire aggressively in the short-term, they will work to improve their retention in the long-term to ensure success.”

Fortunately, the III believes the recent growth trends reflect an influx of young people into the producer sector.

“From our perspective, things are getting better on the employment front,” said III spokesperson Loretta Worters. “Many young people, who have traditionally been interested in finance and banking, are starting to see the opportunities in this industry.”

As a result, Worters said, the employment of insurance agents is expected to grow through 2018.

The rest of the insurance sector fared well in November, too, with only three of the nine subsectors showing employment losses. According to the BLS report, title and other direct insurers shed 900 jobs, claims adjusters shed 400 and “all other insurance-related activities” saw 100 jobs lost toward the end of 2013.