Do You Have the Technology to Attract Talent?

Margaret Resce Milkint, Managing Partner, The Jacobson Group
Alicia Morris, National Territory Manager, The Jacobson Group
Deborah Watkins, CEO, Care Bridge International, Inc

The “war for talent” within the insurance industry continues to heat up. While once viewed as a long-range concern on the distant horizon, the industry now faces a perfect storm of labor market challenges including an aging workforce, an impending wave of retirements and an increasingly shallow talent pool.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 50 percent of the insurance industry workforce is older than 45. The past 10 years have seen the graying of the industry accelerate at a remarkable pace with the number of employees aged 55 and older increasing by 74 percent. Today, the number of insurance workers aged 55 and older is nearly 30 percent higher than the rest of the economy.

As a result of this aging workforce, the insurance industry faces an unprecedented wave of retirements. By as early as next year, it is predicted that 25 percent of the industry’s current workforce will be on the verge of retirement. Within 15 years, nearly half of all insurance professionals will be retired. With less than 27 percent of industry employees falling under the age of 35, the current bench of less-tenured employees within insurance is not large enough to match the departure of retiring professionals. In fact, it is estimated that the industry needs to add 400,000 open positions to its bench by 2020 in order to remain fully staffed.

Unfortunately, graduates from risk and insurance programs currently meet only 10 to 15 percent of this growing need. Adding to this challenge is the reality that insurance remains an unpopular career choice. According to a survey by The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and The Institutes, less than one in ten young professionals are interested in working in the insurance industry. They feel that insurance is “boring” and “behind the times.”

“As a technology based company, we see how eager millennial talent is for innovation in the property casualty industry. When we explain our value proposition, the younger workforce enthusiastically grasps at the opportunity to have validated, efficient and user-friendly tools at their disposal to improve workflow and claims outcomes. It is generally the senior workforce, those aging out of the industry, who are reluctant to adopt and adapt to technology-based solutions, creating a disadvantage of retaining talent for future company sustainability.” stated, Deborah Watkins, CEO of Care Bridge International, an InsurTech innovator.

What can insurers do to address these growing talent challenges? Perhaps the answers lie in the industry’s rapidly evolving business environment.

Technology continues to change the way the world does business. In fact, emerging technologies are considered some of the greatest change agents since the introduction of the internet. Within the insurance industry, technological advances are impacting business processes at a breakneck pace. And that is only expected to continue—90 percent of insurers anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase rapidly or at an unprecedented rate over the next three years.

The industry is seeing the rise of InsurTech and the Internet of Things (IoT). Nearly 20 percent of insurers are currently piloting, testing or deploying an IoT project—that number rose 50 percent over three years. An analytics revolution is embedding analytics and big data across all industry functions, with 75 percent of insurers pointing to analytics as a key project. The emergence of the “digital generation” and “digital natives” is leading to increased investment in digital technologies. Already, 35 percent of insurers are incorporating digital as part of their overall business strategies. In addition, we are seeing the rise of a “blended workforce” of people, robots and artificial intelligence (AI). Within insurance, 50 percent of organizations have fully implemented or made significant progress in adopting cognitive and AI technologies.

These cutting-edge and innovative advancements provide a unique opportunity for insurance organizations to reinvent themselves, combat the misconceived view as a “backward” industry and promote their “cool factor.”

Today’s young professionals want to work for organizations on the forefront of new and provocative technological breakthroughs. They are intrigued and excited by the emergence of disruptive inventions and technologies. In addition, they want their organizations to understand and embrace the importance of technology.

Insurance organizations should embrace and publicize their work with hot button trends and initiatives—including analytics, big data, cyber risk and digitalization. Highlight what has already been done, what is currently underway and what the future holds in terms of innovation—and how young professionals can play a role in this exciting future.

Encourage staff to attend conferences and forums focused on innovation and emerging technological trends. Provide speakers at local and national events who can highlight the ways your company is driving and championing advancements.

Promote your organization’s innovative work on company web pages and social media. These public-facing mediums provide a unique opportunity to establish your organization as forward-thinking and cutting-edge. Developing a digital presence that highlights your organization’s use of new technology will help build a reputation as innovative and increase interest among today’s top talent.

Embracing the opportunities provided by today’s technological advancements and promoting your organization’s involvement with cutting-edge trends is key to remaking insurance into an industry that everyone wants to be a part of.


Margaret Resce Milkint is Managing Partner at The Jacobson Group, the leading global provider of talent to the insurance industry. As leader of the firm’s executive search practice, she handles executive management and actuarial searches on a global basis in the areas of life, property and casualty, healthcare, reinsurance and consulting. She can be reached at +1 (800) 466-1578 or mmilkint@jacobsononline.com.

Alicia Morris is a National Territory Manager for the firm’s subject matter experts’ health services team – a solution that gives insurance companies access to consultant-level insurance talent for special projects and short-term needs – and project solutions team – a rapid response solution to the insurance/managed care industry’s critical and often unforeseen workload situations. She can be reached at +1 (800) 466-1578 or amorris@jacobsononline.com.

Deborah Watkins is CEO of Care Bridge International. Using data intelligence, Care Bridge International offers technology based solutions for medical reserve setting and Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance. She can be reached at +1 (888) 434-9326 or deborah@carebridgeinc.com