Insurance career image needs makeover

Attracting talented staff to insurance is one of the industry’s highest priorities but not enough is being done, say industry leaders.

Makeover_HS

Zurich Financial Services Australia CEO Daniel Fogarty says the demand for skills in general and health insurance is expected to jump 15% by 2017.

“We need people now and even more in coming years,” he says.

Fogarty says he was shocked when, at a recent speech, he asked the industry crowd how many had “fallen” into the industry and saw the vast majority raise their hands.

“Why don’t we attract more people? We’re able to compete for talent with interesting and challenging work, training and development, career progression opportunities and high portability of skills,” he says.

“We’re better than our reputation and it’s a shame to see so much cynicism directed towards an industry that’s really there to help.

“We work with customers to help them understand their risk and arrange the appropriate insurance to financially protect them. Time and again when disaster strikes we’re there to get our customers back on their feet.”

NIBA Professional Development Executive Linda Evans says making insurance a more attractive career has been an on-going topic of conversation for the organisation.

“We are in the process of creating some information outlining in clear terms what the rewards of a career in broking are, and will work with our regional committees to support their efforts in taking this message to new audiences,” she says.

“This is a situation that will not change overnight, and a concerted industry-wide effort would be required to really make a difference in changing the perception of what a career in insurance is really all about.

“However, that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of talent in the industry already. We know there is a terrific amount of dedication and talent in our broking ranks and nurturing that talent, through networking events, seminars, YP-specific functions and further education opportunities is central to what we do at NIBA and NIBA College.”

Evans says if broker principals invest in the training of their workforce and increase professional competence as early in their careers as possible, it will increase loyalty and make staff more likely to treat insurance as a lifelong career.