A Solution to the
Industry’s Brain Drain
could be a
Today’s high national unemployment rate is misleading and irrelevant. The insurance industry is being drained of talent and experience—a trend that’s going to impact the industry and its customers for years to come—and could soon be short-staffed. The baby boomer generation has just entered its long-awaited retirement phase. This sustained trend will last decades:
• About 10,000 baby boomers (born 1946-65) are now retiring
every day in the United States, according to federal census data.
• Half of today’s insurance industry workforce will retire during the next 10 years, forecasts National Alliance Research Academy research.
• The quickest-growing segment of the insurance workforce is
employees older than age 60.
Boomer departures will change the industry workforce, for
good. Can the insurance industry slow down the brain drain, or
even plug it?
For decades, the industry has tried to prepare for the baby-boom retirement wave by recruiting young, inexperienced workers. That’s a noble and important effort, but it’s simply not enough.
Even when fresh talent can be found and hired (if it can be lured
away from other industries with more appeal to younger generations), there are not enough recruits to go around. Inexperienced
workers—even if they bring new, up-to-date technology and social
networking skills—need training and seasoning to reach a level of
knowledge comparable to their predecessors. And with boomer
retirements, the industry is losing its institutional knowledge.
–Sharom Emek, Work at Home
Vintage Employees LLC
Insurers are dealing with an extended soft market in commercial
lines pricing, which trickles down to affect the entire industry value chain. Hiring is expensive: Employers face the significant costs
of recruiting, office space, salary/benefits, technology and training
when they want to add an employee. But there is a new, under-ap-preciated answer to the insurance brain drain: Using retirees to fill
That paradox is possible because today’s retirees (and fu-
ture retirees) want to keep working. But they want to do so
in a more flexible, independent fashion. Insurance employers
need to get up to speed and respond to this society-wide trend,
dubbed “phased retirement.” Today’s retiring workers want to
work from home remotely, by tapping into technology to gain
virtual access and contribute.
Sharon Emek, Ph. D., is president and CEO of Work At Home Vintage
Employees LLC ( WAHVE), a staffing company that works exclusively
with insurance firms
For more about staffing, search “Employee Retention” at XXX;JOTVSBODFOFUXPSLJOH;DPN