The following is an opinion piece written by Joe Beneducci, founder, chairman, president and CEO of ProSight Specialty Insurance. The views expressed within the article are not necessarily reflective of those of Insurance Business.
Millennials are ruining everything. Or, at least, that's what the internet would like us to believe. Their changing preferences have caught companies and even entire industries off guard, and markets are adapting to keep up with the evolution.
Despite being thought of as outdated and stodgy, the evolution and innovation of the insurance industry has created more employment opportunities than ever. Meanwhile, millennials are finding it more difficult than previous generations to land a good job right after college.
So, insurance and millennials is an obvious match, right? The numbers say that college graduates don’t think so. A 2015 study from The Hartford found that only 4% of millennials surveyed were interested in pursuing a career in insurance. Frustrated 20-somethings either on campus or fresh off the graduation stage should take a good look at the available jobs in insurance. Here’s why:
Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that insurance underwriters earned a median salary of $67,680 per year, up from roughly $63,000 in the previous year and about 45% higher than the median annual wage for all workers ($37,000). And while it takes intelligence, skills and attention to detail to serve as an adjuster or underwriter, the typical underwriter enters the field with only a bachelor's degree and has no previous experience before getting started.
There are also good paying jobs available for those without a college degree. Per the BLS, the median annual wage for insurance sales agents was $49,990 in May 2016. The highest 10% earned upwards of $128,000. Meanwhile, the typical insurance sales agent starts out with a high school diploma or an equivalency degree. Agents can also boost their pay with commissions as most positions are heavily performance-based.
Thanks to data mining and social media, insurance companies are starting to target their marketing directly to specific consumers. The ability to tailor their coverages, apps and even policies to the right audience is invaluable to insurance companies. The data-driven, computer savvy, innovative mentality commonly attributed to millennials make them prime candidates to help carriers create insurance products that truly speak to the right audience.
Get rewarded for your hard work
Success in the insurance business is largely tangible and not subjective. When you bind more policies or create original coverages that lead to more business, it can be clearly measured by hard data. Because the effectiveness of your work is apparent, you’ll not only receive congratulatory pats on the back, but it will be easy to build a case for greater compensation or a new position.
Tons of jobs available
If you’re thinking that careers like these are hard to come by, think again. Recent reports show the BLS estimates that the insurance industry will have a whopping 400,000 job openings within the next few years, thanks in large part to the mass retirement of baby boomers. Roughly half of the industry’s workforce is older than 45 and only 27% of workers are under 35. Here’s the TL;DR (for the Boomers, that stands for “Too Long, Didn’t Read”): young, hard-working professionals are needed to bridge the gap.
Diversity in action
In 2016, Black Enterprise Magazine’s “50 Best Companies for Diversity” list featured seven powerhouse insurance companies on the leaderboard. Insurance companies also ranked high on Bloomberg's Gender Equality Index, and the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index gave high marks to a score of insurance companies for their LGBT equality practices. Even though there is always room for improvement, the insurance industry is one that is continuously striving for diversity in the workplace.
The insurance industry allows you to specialize in a number of different areas, and there is a myriad of ways for you to apply your best skills to your career. Best of all - when you generate more business for your company, you will be rewarded with larger checks and a push up the corporate ladder.
Already, we’re seeing the insurance business adapt to its younger clientele. But, the next big metamorphosis of the industry is still on the horizon, and it will come from a late 80s or a 90s baby. Maybe that’s you.
The young people that seize the chance to make a mark on the insurance business today will be grateful, particularly when the acting gigs don’t work out for their contemporaries.
Join Insurance Business America at our Millennials in Insurance event being held in New York City on February 08, 2018, where a cross-section of industry experts will discuss how to attract, engage and retain the younger generation.
Register for the Millennials in Insurance event to learn from industry experts on how to attract, engage and retain the younger generation. Register here: millennialsininsurance.ibamag.com/register