I write to express my growing frustration at the insurance industry's insistence on saving money by either job cuts or offshoring. I find both "solutions" to be incredibly short sighted and are adding to troubles faced by the industry.
Almost every issue of Insurance Times of the past few months has carried an article bemoaning the lack of talent either being recruited into the industry or already in place and ready to become the industry leaders of tomorrow. Indeed in the CII supplement (21 September) there is an article that states: "Insurance is too often a career for the also rans...the Law Society, the British Medical Association and even the dentist' professional body, the BDA, are better known than the CII."
To the person who wrote this article I have one question, do you honestly expect any form of job hunter, from graduate to school leaver, to actively seek to join an industry that seems to be constantly shrinking in this country? If you keep treating (and referring to) your existing staff as expendable also rans then you will not attract anyone of a higher calibre.
Furthermore, graduates will look for the jobs that pay the higher salaries. If they see insurers constantly trying to cut costs, this does not create the impression of wealth.
As for talent already in place in the industry. Being a non-graduate who joined the insurance industry, I know that a lot of people like myself serve an apprenticeship carrying out the more administrative side of the business, assisting underwriters and then eventually becoming an underwriter.
As the job cuts usually target either the call centre environments or the administrative staff, then these people are being culled from the industry.
It's a fact that between the ages of 18 and 22 you do not join an insurer as an underwriter and so regardless of talent or intellect you will be affected by job cuts. The other side of this being that if you are aged between 18 and 26 and have some intellect, after being made redundant by one insurer you will grab that opportunity with both hands and leave the industry for a more exciting, stable or lucrative industry.
In the same edition of IT, there is an article entitled "Technical merit" which talks about how much money insurers are spending on training and underwriting academies. Is there any point in investing in this side, if you are losing staff in large numbers, because you can get someone else to do the job cheaper and who requires less training (the whole money saving point of off shoring).
Finally, these job cuts will ultimately affect the insurance industry at the front line of its business - the consumer. As more and more industries move jobs to India, this will lead to fewer jobs in the UK. Ultimately this will affect the UK economy meaning the consumer has less disposable income. And as the consumer has less disposable income, this will lead to less spending and potentially a number of small businesses going bust. This will decrease the SME commercial market that insurers are so actively trying to target, meaning they will have fewer policies on their books and smaller new business opportunities to target.
While I am sure the fat cats at the top of the industry (sitting secure in their UK-based job) don't really care about my arguments, I do hope that the British public will start to move away from these companies and support companies which support and boost the UK job market and economy.
Mason Owen Financial Services