#InsuranceCareersMonth – A Conversation on Recruiting & Retaining Great Talent
February is Insurance Careers Month – though of course we believe any month is a great month to start your insurance career! A career in insurance is worthwhile for a great number of reasons – and with a need for a wide variety of talent, it has something for just about everyone. Many industries and businesses have been impacted by ‘the great resignation,’ determining the best balance between remote, hybrid and in-person working environments, and other hot topics related to how the pandemic has changed our professional and personal lives. The evolving digital landscape has also created exciting opportunities within the insurance industry, both in career development and in how we develop and deliver the products our independent agency partners and shared policyholders need to Live Life Well Protected.
We recently had a conversation with Union Mutual Vice President & General Counsel Sarah Jarvis on how our Company continues to navigate these challenges using innovative programming and outside-the-box recruiting strategies, as well as empowering our current talent to achieve their goals.
Q: Why should people consider a career in insurance?
A: The industry offers a wide array of professional career paths and there are significant opportunities for growth and development. In addition, the insurance industry is very stable and does not generally suffer from economic fluctuations – so there is generally great job security!
Q: What is a misconception about insurance/insurance career you want to clear up?
A: That the work is stale or boring. In fact, the work is surprisingly varied, engaging, and constantly evolving.
Q: What excites you about the industry?
A: The work really matters – the core purpose of our industry is to help people and businesses recover from difficult events such as fires, auto accidents, thefts, etc. In addition, there is a serious focus on issues like climate change, social inequities, and community stewardship.
Q: How has hiring changed for our industry? For our company?
A: We have a willingness to train. We focus primarily on attitude and appetite for learning, and secondarily on experience or expertise. We believe in rewarding attitude and appetite for learning in addition to experience or expertise.
Q: How do you feel carriers can help support agencies in their hiring/retention?
A: We are always happy to share what we are doing to attract and retain employees. We assist agents with training CSRs with regular education/training sessions, and we even opened our internship program for agents to send interns they do not have capacity for.
Q: How has the effort put into our internship program and employee development program helped shape our hiring and retention success?
A: Our internship program provides in-depth exposure to the industry as well mentorship to young professionals. Most of the individuals who participate don’t expect to end up in the industry, and they are surprised how engaging and satisfying the work is. Almost every year that we have run the intern program, we have hired a participant in the program as a full-time employee.
Our internal employee development program provides employees with exposure to each of the business units in the Company. A person graduates from the program feeling very invested in the Company because they have a thorough understanding of the operations and have formed genuine connections with employees in each of the Company’s departments.
Q: Union Mutual has a wide variety of employees – some with multiple decades of experience, some insurance rookies, and several in the middle. How do we compare to the industry?
A: Historically our multi-year average turnover rate is 7%, whereas the industry average is 15%. Our rate has increased somewhat over the last 2 years, as our employees have not been immune to the pandemic-induced stresses and life re-evaluations (prompting early retirements or significant life changes). Thankfully, we have not had any issues with filling open positions.
And of course, check out our Careers page for current openings!