In my previous post, we looked at why carriers may be struggling to recruit top talent into underwriting. Today, let’s look at how adapting their underwriting talent strategies could help carriers change the game.

What do millennials value?

In Accenture’s 2016 US College Graduate Employment Study, millennials indicated they are looking for workplace experiences that apply their existing skills in practical ways so that they can learn, grow and progress within and beyond a particular role. Graduate respondents revealed that they place a priority on:

  • Roles that use and build on their education.
  • Individualized experiences and a tailor-made career path.
  • A career that offers a wide variety of experiences.
  • A sense of purpose and greater meaning.
  • An open and technologically savvy company culture.

Millennials are not enticed by monetary rewards alone—they want to be part of the future, working for insurance companies that invest in leading technology, develop advanced underwriting approaches and give back to the community in meaningful ways. They want to know that they’re part of an organization that is actively forging a new path forward, whether that’s through artificial intelligence, big data aggregation or more advanced operational systems.

Are insurers meeting the needs of millennials?

The old way of recruiting and retaining talent is not going to work with today’s generation. Insurers need to understand this and adjust accordingly. Carriers that do not have a company culture that is open, team-oriented and technologically advanced, and one that rewards a strong work ethic, will have a hard time attracting the talent they need.

When we compare the things millennials say they value to the current landscape in the insurance industry, it’s clear there’s a significant gap. Current training programs are highly classroom-based, career tracks are slow and unchanging, and technology enablement for underwriters lags that of companies in many other industries.

How can insurers attract the best talent?

Carriers should consider who is doing their recruiting. Is the face of the company’s recruitment someone millennials can relate to and would want to work with? The overall employment lifecycle also needs consideration. Having a new recruit work as a junior underwriter for two years is no longer an adequate strategy.

To attract the best talent, carriers need to plan a career path of steadily growing responsibility and ongoing learning to develop a recruit’s skills. Beyond simply analyzing risk, tomorrow’s underwriter needs to be able to build and manage relationships, and adapt to the disruptive technologies that are transforming the industry.

Additional changes carriers could consider include:

  • Shorter, more modular training that is immediately applicable.
  • On-the-job experiences, including shorter roles and more lateral moves.
  • Performance support and feedback mechanisms at the time of need.
  • Integrated performance support tools to allow faster progression along a designated career path.
  • Clearly defined career paths with transparent performance objectives.

As competition heats up for underwriting talent, carriers must shift their focus from recruitment to engaging and developing talent. Unless they revitalize their talent strategies for the new generation, they will face a talent shortfall that’s difficult to overcome.

To learn more , please see: 2016 US College Graduate Employment Study

Special thanks to Evan Gladstone who helped me with this post.

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