The insurance adjuster talent war | PropertyCasualty360

The perfect storm of pandemic disruptions, The Great Resignation, and an aging insurance workforce have created a historic labor shortage in the insurance industry. The combination of pandemic disruptions, the Great Resignation, and an aging insurance workforce have created a historic labor shortage in the insurance industry. (Photo: ink drop/Adobe Stock)

With the departure of the baby boomer generation from the workforce, the insurance industry faces an inevitable employment gap. Intriguingly, the insurance sector employs most working individuals 50 and older, and within the next year, close to a quarter of insurance pros will be looking forward to retirement within a decade.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has named this looming shortage “The Great Resignation.” A phenomenon created by the combination of an aging workforce, the wake of COVID-19, a changing labor market, challenging working environments, little career advancement or increased work demands, millions of baby boomers retiring, and the younger Generation Z increasing their expectations for a better work-life balance.

This amalgamation of events has heightened the desire to work from home; earn a greater wage with improved benefits, promotions and job growth; a lighter workload; and enhanced company engagement when hiring and seeking to retain staff. Unfortunately, combined with the baby boomer exodus in the insurance industry, a loss of experience and expertise is deeply felt. As a result, a war for talent, especially adjusters, has ensued for insurance companies attempting to meet demand. As veteran employees retire, how can insurance companies recruit young talent to serve as the next insurance leaders?

The gig workforce & customer experience

Contract, temporary and freelance employment, now known as the gig workforce, has steadily become more popular in the last few years and an asset to the insurance industry. By welcoming the gig economy and its workers, recent retirements and sudden turnover can be mitigated. In addition, highly technical projects can be completed with specialized and skilled provisional workers.

Hiring a staff of full-time professionals is expensive and time-consuming; providing benefits, the potential for employee turnover, onboarding and other costs, and time-related incurrences are enough to make insurance companies hesitant to hire full-time employees, especially for short-term project support or seasonal needs. Flexible employees can be a welcomed solution to these issues.

For example, companies that offer technological claims solutions can utilize the expertise of gig workers in customer and call center support. Gig Customer Service (GigCX) is one gig cohort deployed to provide customer service and can be used to route service inquiries securely through a platform that distributes the questions to knowledgeable and passionate GigCX experts. Organizations are using GigCX to reap the benefits of always available, agile, highly motivated individuals who consistently deliver excellent customer service support without the high-cost salary.

Workers can be located geographically anywhere and can help meet fluctuating customer service demands for a company. McKinsey & Company recognizes GigCX as one of the major developments in the area of customer experience because outside workers can be combined with internal talent to better manage peak demand times and provide improved customer satisfaction across multiple brands.

Other contracting and hiring options

With the potential for specialized skill and talent without the confines of traditional employment, contractors can be a cost-effective, instant and valuable way to alleviate crushing workloads, while adding niche talent to nuanced projects that some full-time staff may not have the skills in which to excel. And, while an independent contractor can offer temporary help, that doesn’t always mean the employee has to stay contracted in the interim.

Contract-to-permanent employees are a fantastic way to transition temporary staff to a full-time position if they prove invaluable and are interested in more permanent employment. Usually, contract-to-permanent employees work for several months as temporary employees during a ‘trial’ or ‘training’ period, in which performance is measured. If acceptable, they can be hired as full-time employees. This option is especially appealing to companies waiting for the fiscal year to onboard full-time employees but that need immediate coverage on specialized projects or simply a larger workforce.

COVID-19 and The Great Resignation have redefined the modern terms of employment. However, with access to additional talent pools otherwise considered unaffordable or unattainable, the gig economy offers a cost-effective solution to the waning workforce.

Employee referral programs are also a powerful tool and recruitment channel for insurance companies to generate new opportunities from an existing pool of employees, creating a loyal workforce and laying the groundwork for a healthy professional environment. Utilizing an employee recruitment program reinforces and celebrates employees in a tangible way for contributing to the company’s success.

At Davies, the Employee Referral Bonus Program brings in candidates that offset the industry-wide workforce slump. The purpose of the program is to incentivize current employees to bring new talent to participating U.S. entities by referring candidates who are subsequently selected and successfully employed. Most positions are eligible for the program, and a bonus is given to the employee who provided the referral. Due to the nation’s aging claims staff, finding adjusters can be particularly difficult, but the employee referral program has helped to mitigate the impact considerably.

Recruiting new generations of professionals

When recruiting for the next working generation of insurance professionals among the youngest generation currently in the workforce, Generation Z, it is important to know where to find and how to attract them. As digital natives, Gen Z brings a familiarity with and the technological expertise required to succeed in the adjusting and insurance world, something the previous generation has had to acquire over time.

Most Gen Zers are starting their first job out of school or are combing the job market for opportunities in the tech or digital fields. The challenge for insurance carriers? These wide-eyed graduates often overlook the insurance industry because they don’t know the multitude of opportunities available. Therefore, insurance companies need to get involved beyond career fairs to build long-term connections and relationships with colleges and universities.

Offering internship programs or partnering with local schools to share employment opportunities for current students could lead to a pipeline of future candidates. Another tactic should include broadening the talent pool toward non-traditional candidates without a university degree, an atypical academic background, or parents working within the industry. Internship programs can also be offered for those who did not attend a higher education institution to focus on immediate training and eligibility for employment.

Some companies, such as Delta Air Lines, have altered their educational preconditions for specific job positions, shifting the focus to skills and experience. Having a presence on campus can also include partnering with certain classes, such as risk management, to provide speakers and create a relationship with students so these potential future employees can meet personnel from the industry and learn first-hand the opportunities the industry has to offer.

Insurance professionals protect and help clients during some of their most difficult times in life while also supporting the economy by covering businesses and other assets. It’s an honorable industry that offers vast opportunities for new graduates. Understanding what drives these young professionals to be adjusters and reliable recruiting strategies can help attract the best and brightest young talent in the industry.

The perfect storm of pandemic disruptions, The Great Resignation, and an aging insurance workforce has created a historic labor shortage in the insurance industry. With the current older workforce, these seasoned professionals may choose to retire early instead of risking involuntary unemployment, another COVID-19 disruption, or the plethora of economic problems exacerbated by the pandemic.

However, involvement from the gig economy can provide muchneeded support. Employee referral programs are also a great tool to leverage current employee loyalty to gain an influx of valued new talent. Lastly, targeting the techy Gen-Z population can create leaders to drive the future insurance landscape. Adjusting and adapting to the changing tides of the employment landscape in the insurance market will ensure success, even during the crisis of the talent war.

As vice president of business development at Davies Group, Chas Nickells ([email protected]) manages the development and rollout of all new programs and continued growth for existing clients in both the United States and Europe. 


Claims issues to watch in 2023

6 key trends influence employee benefits in 2023

Finding (and keeping) the best people for your agency

Leave a Comment