Solving the P&C industry’s talent recruitment difficulties will be a key focus for 2023, according to industry respondents to Canadian Underwriter’s annual Executive Outlook survey.
While respondents focused mainly on the needs of the broking and underwriting business segments, the talent gap also extends to companies looking to recruit and retain claims examiners, said Janak Lally, assistant vice president at ClaimsPro – BC Lower Mainland & Interior.
“Companies are very stretched and finding it hard to fill in roles,” he told CU. “They’ve got examiners that have an excess [number] of claims, and you can only handle so much.”
One factor dampening hiring prospects is the pandemic-spurred Great Talent Migration (previously called the Great Resignation) that’s led many to seek job opportunities in different industries.
The example most people are familiar with is the restaurant industry, he noted, which was hit by shutdowns and uncertainties about re-openings that spurred waiters, bartenders and managers to change industries — or return to school to develop new skills.
The same phenomenon has impacted workforces at adjusting firms. “[It] has definitely caused some challenges in the last two years,” said Lally, who is also president of the Canadian Independent Adjusters’ Association. “And it’s affected cycle time.”
Another key factor is the sheer volume of work. With numerous large-scale weather events across Canada in 2022, Lally noted both insurers and adjusters are extremely busy and case loads have become challenging.
In particular, the large number of water events, which require extensive mopping up and the setting up of specialized equipment, has strained workers and taken a toll on closure time in the restoration process.
Plus, the P&C industry’s problems are compounded by labour issues at restoration contractors that adjusters depend on to close claims files.
“You have a labour force issue within the claims side of the business, and then you have a labour force issue smacking into that from the restoration side of the process,” he said. “Some of the restoration contractors are finding it very hard even getting technicians to get out to do losses.”
In response, he said, some contractors have begun offering increased compensation to get people to join their firms.