2024 Insurance industry employment outlook

2024 Insurance industry employment outlook
“Talent, especially in skilled ‘judgment’ underwriting that’s not as reliant on automated underwriting tools, will be in high demand as more business moves to the excess/surplus lines sector,” says Nancy Germond, executive director of Risk Management and Education at the Big I®. (Credit: ink drop/Adobe Stock)

The insurance industry is in for a drastic change by 2028, with 50% of the workforce projected to enter retirement. That means millennials, Gen Z and those looking to change careers have a unique opportunity to join the insurance industry in 2024. Some of these jobs are more challenging to fill than others, but the outlook for insurance-industry employment looks good as 2023 winds down.

Available insurance jobs

“Talent, especially in skilled ‘judgment’ underwriting that’s not as reliant on automated underwriting tools, will be in high demand as more business moves to the excess/surplus lines sector,” says Nancy Germond, executive director of Risk Management and Education at the Big I®. “The need for skilled adjusters, especially on the property side, has probably never been greater.”

Findings in the 2019 Labor Market Study by The Jacobson Group and Aon plc indicate a strong rise in insurance jobs, with most insurers planning to hire additional staff. The study projects a high need for underwriting and technology jobs, including in claims management. Vince Spaniolo, managing partner at New York Life, says the most in-demand jobs in his market (Michigan) are insurance agents, financial advisors and administrative staff.

Other potential insurance job openings in 2024 include insurance claims investigators, loss control consultants, brokers, agents, actuaries, customer service representatives, adjusters, regulators, processing clerks, claims examiners and junior and senior underwriters. Risk management and insurance also involve careers in data science, business operations, marketing and sales.

This array of available jobs provides job hunters of all experience levels and educational backgrounds a chance to break into insurance.

Who’s hiring?

Despite layoffs at some major property and casualty carriers, most insurance companies plan to hire more employees in the coming year. The Labor Market Study found that only 10% of insurers are planning to cut or lay off employees in the next 12 months, while others reported these goals:

  • 72% of insurance companies expect to grow their revenue in 2024.
  • 63% of carriers reported expected increases in hiring.
  • 65% of property and casualty insurers plan to boost staff numbers.
  • 56% of life and health insurance carriers plan to expand.
  • 27% expect to maintain the current size of their staff.

Nearly 50% of the companies planning to hire says they need to increase staff to meet growing business demands or enter new insurance markets. Thirty percent of insurers with hiring plans reported they needed to fill existing positions in understaffed departments. Of the 10% planning layoffs, 9% said their reasoning was due to automation, with overstaffing, less business volume, and restructuring listed as other motives.

The Liberty Company Insurance Brokers, for instance, plans to hire producers, account managers, assistant account managers, account executives, and administrative assistants.

“The insurance industry is seeking new employees from a variety of job functions and offers career paths where you can bring your authentic self to work and you can contribute both professionally and personally to your company and your community,” says Marguerite Tortorello, executive director of the Insurance Careers Movement.

The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) helped to launch the Insurance Careers Movement (ICM) in 2015. The program focuses on two key industry priorities: workforce development and increasing diversity. APCIA partnered with more than 10,000 global insurance organizations, including The Jacobson Group, AIG and Hamilton Insurance Group. Interested parties can attend annual meetings and recruitment events and utilize other benefits of ICM to break into or move up in the insurance industry.

“APCIA co-hosts the industry’s annual Emerging Leaders Conference with Insurance Careers Movement and AM Best,” says Tamra Johnson, vice president of public affairs at APCIA. “The event helps to identify, inspire, and retain fresh and diverse talent in the insurance industry.”

ICM also celebrates Insurance Careers Month in February and promotes job prospects on social media. “The campaign helps to educate fresh and diverse talent about the many jobs available in the industry,” Johnson says.

Hiring challenges

Respondents to the Labor Market Study ranked all insurance positions as at least “moderately difficult” to fill. That is troubling for insurers because many employees are aging out of the workforce in the coming years. These companies are looking to bring Gen Z and millennials into the industry. According to The Pew Research Center, only 4% of millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) are interested in insurance careers. Yet, millennials are estimated to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.

In 2021, America experienced the “great resignation,” with 47 million workers leaving their jobs, and more than half changed to a new occupation. Most people vacating their positions (regardless of the career) cited low pay, no growth opportunities, childcare problems, and feeling undervalued or disrespected at their workplace. Many struggled with not having enough flexibility with their work hours. Some insurers are sweetening the pot to bring new blood into the insurance industry with higher compensation, improved benefits and flexibility.

Once someone is interested in an insurance career, they may find breaking into the career field difficult.

“I think what is missing more so in the industry than anything is proper mentorship, meaning that when somebody wants to become a financial adviser, there’s not enough full-time mentors, coaches and managers to help people through the process of becoming a financial advisor,” says Spaniolo.

Landing the right job

With ample prospects in various insurance roles, millennials and Gen Z may want to veer into this career. That path can look different for people seeking senior roles versus entry-level positions. College students interested in insurance jobs should enter an insurance and risk management program to pursue mid- and senior-level roles. Other interested applicants may only need a few weeks or months to become an insurance agent or gain the skills for another entry-level position.

“If possible, work through the state of Michigan [or your state of residence] to obtain an insurance license,” Spaniolo says. “Marketing, sales and business marketing are specific degrees in a couple of universities in the area. [I recommend] sales, business marketing and finance for those looking to go into financial advising.”

Skills and experience

The swath of job openings expected to hit the insurance industry by 2028 requires various skills and experience, such as computer and math literacy, communication, customer service, analytical, organizational and problem-solving skills.

“They [applicants] have to have some sales experience,” says Spaniolo. “Ideally, some entrepreneurial experience, and they have to be pretty fluent with technology, meaning the use of a CRM software, Excel, Microsoft; that kind of stuff.”

Mid- to high-level positions in insurance analytics or business require a high school diploma and at least a bachelor’s degree in finance, mathematics, marketing, accounting or business. While a master’s degree is not required, the higher the position within the insurance company, the more education, experience and training are necessary.

You can gain experience in insurance-related operations through internships or entry-level roles as a sales representative or administrative assistant. Though mentorship programs may be challenging to find, some firms still offer them.

“If someone’s interested in this industry, they need to seek out firms that have the capability to properly mentor and coach them, and maybe they need to seek out an advisor that would play a role as a mentor,” says Spaniolo.

Additional designations or certifications may help you stand out. You can sign up for online or in-person courses to increase your skills and training in insurance law, statistics, accounting and risk management. Some educational centers offer associate certifications in general insurance, claims, insurance data analytics and adviser accreditation.

Insurers also want employees who understand advancements in technology, including social media, cyber communication and digital marketing.

Insurance career benefits

Insurance is a stable industry, even during a recession. People will always need protection from risks, no matter the state of the economy. Employment with an insurer provides more job security than other career fields, such as the arts, entertainment and construction industries. That safety net means employees can pay off student loans and build a nest egg sooner than their peers.

“If you’re actively producing as an agent or financial advisor, probably the biggest benefit is [the] flexibility of career path,” says Spaniolo. “Because of the technology today, it’s much more advanced, and you can really work from any location because a lot of the appointments are virtual. The application processing is digital. So, flexibility and the opportunity to have residual income for the rest of your career.”

The need to fill positions with fresh minds in all areas of insurance in the coming years offers unique prospects not seen in other industries. Insurers understand the draw of a modern work environment, career development, competitive compensation and work-life balance. The clear path for career advancement is enticing for anyone looking for a new field or entering the workforce, and employees can work in departments that match their interests, such as marketing, customer service and underwriting.

Depending on the role, people can start a career in insurance quickly. Some can jump right in with just a high school diploma (or equivalent), while others spend a few weeks or months training to become an insurance agent.

The coming year will see new employment prospects in all areas of insurance and risk management. Now is an excellent time to enter or move up in an industry preparing to expand.

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