September 21, 2020 by Adam Malik
When a student or recent graduate asks what they’ll be doing if they were to work in the property and casualty insurance industry, it’s important to give them a detailed sense of what any given career in the industry might entail, said John McNeil, program coordinator and full-time professor for Humber College’s insurance management program.
For example, telling a young person that a career in insurance will involve claims handling and underwriting policies isn’t just poor marketing strategy — it sells the industry short. While it’s true that claims handling and underwriting policies may be part of the job, “it’s also a matter of talking about doing risk analysis, claims investigations, and portfolio management,” McNeil told Canadian Underwriter.
The industry needs to deliver messages that spell out in more detail the tasks and skills that make an insurance career exciting to those who don’t know much about it, McNeil said. “It’s about digging deeper into the work. It’s about digging deeper into the industry.”
Underwriting policies and claims handling are among the industry’s intriguing career possibilities, as McNeil points out. But people outside of the industry may not know that based on such a simplistic description of the roles, so bringing new talent into the industry is about showing them the enticing aspects of the job. “I’ll walk them through what it’s like being an underwriter or a claims adjuster,” McNeil said of his students at Humber. “We have some fun with that. It’s about getting deeper in the work and those discussions.”
McNeil suggests connecting with more young people on platforms like LinkedIn. Offer them insight into the industry by showing them what a day in the life of an insurance professional looks like, he recommended. Some are already doing this, but connecting with young minds needs to be done on a larger scale.
One reason why it’s important to grab a prospect’s attention quickly is that the window to attract and recruit talent is much smaller now than in past years, McNeil has noticed.
“Before, you’d have two, three, four interviews. It’s not like that anymore. Now things are moving faster,” he said.
A connection with a student — or anyone for that matter — gives industry leaders an opportunity to say more about who they are. It also creates an opportunity to paint a picture of what it’s like to be involved in the industry, so that the person will already be familiar with the industry when they are looking to start or change their career.
“When you can connect with anyone on LinkedIn, you have a chance to build a rapport with that person,” McNeil said. “Even if you don’t have an opportunity for them, if you inform someone and get them into the industry, that’s great. Social spaces like LinkedIn are great because you’re having conversations with people. You can also not only understand how they communicate, [but] you’re also building rapport and helping that person out. And if you’re helping that person out, that not only reflects on your personal brand but your company and the industry.”
Feature image by iStock.com/cnythzl