DAILY NEWS Feb 13, 2013 3:26 PM - 1 comment

P&C insurance workforce younger in 2012 than in 2007: report

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2013-02-13

Property and casualty insurance firms in Canada need to focus on recruiting aboriginal and internationally-trained professionals, and on flexible work arrangements to retain workers in their 30s, according to a recent report.

Young people

The Insurance Institute of Canada announced Wednesday it has published a report, dubbed Demographic Analysis of the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry in Canada 2012 - 2022. An executive report is available on the Insurance Institute website.

Written by R.A.L. Consulting Ltd. president Richard Loreto, the report is based on surveys of human resources professionals and of employees in the industry. It also uses information from a demographic analysis of the P&C industry workforce, based on data both from individual companies and from provincial regulators.

The report explains that in 2020, the cohort of workers from the baby boom will range in age from 54 to 73 years. The “bust cohort” will range in age from 41 to 53 while the “echo” cohort includes those aged 25 to 40.

"The demographic composition of the industry's work force has changed noticeably over the past five years, especially with respect to its age structure," according to an Insurance Institute press release.

"The share of the echo cohort (ages 17 to 32 in 2012) has more than doubled (from 12% in 2007 to 27% in 2012) at the expense of the share of the boomer cohort (ages 46 to 65 in 2012; 49% to 37% ). As a result, in 2012 the work force of the property and casualty insurance industry is both younger and more aligned with the age structure of Canada's labour force than was the case in 2007."

But the report notes that one in three employees who retired in the last five years worked in claims, the job category which "remains the most difficult and urgent to recruit."

The executive summary includes a chart with the industry median age in 2007 and 2012 of several occupations within insurance.

In 2007, the median age in actuarial was 27 for men and 31 for women.  In 2012 it was 30 for both male and female, all full time.

However, last year, the median age for full-time claims staff was 41 for male and 40 for female workers. The median age for risk management, full time, for both male and female employees was 45 while in information technology, the median ages in 2012 were 42 and 44 for men and women respectively.

The report makes recommendations on strategies to replace retiring professionals.

“Over the next 10 years, it is imperative that three other labour market cohorts - career changers, internationally-trained professionals, and aboriginals - receive greater emphasis in targeted recruitment and retention programs," according to the report. "Actions to implement this recommendation should be taken at both the company and industry-wide levels."

P&C firms also need to retain workers over the age of 30, the report suggests, referring to charts listing aspects of an ideal job, reported by employees, in both 2009 and 2012.

Although 71% of employees surveyed in 2012 indicated a competitive salary was an aspect of an ideal job and 47% indicated flexible work arrangements, when broken down by age group, 56% in the 35 to 54 age group indicated flexible work arrangements were an aspect of an ideal job.

"Flexible work arrangements and accommodation of work/life balance are among the top five aspects of an ideal job for each of the under-35, 35 to 54, and 55-plus age groups. Therefore, these two factors should be taken into account in designing retention (and recruitment) programs."

Loreto is scheduled at 10 seminars across the country from Wednesday until April 18.

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