I write with reference to the ongoing debate in your publication regarding the lack of available applicants and talent for the insurance industry.
As a humble underwriter, I would like to voice my opinion. Something all of your articles has failed to mention is that the industry is its own worst enemy.
All of my previous employers (a few not through choice) have gone the way of the dodo. They have either merged or gone bust. If I were required by a new employer to supply 10 years of references from previous employers, I would be unable to as every one of them has now shut up shop.
The vast majority of my friends who were in insurance have all had to retrain for new careers due to redundancy. And because of the volatility of the industry they are very reluctant to return.
To illustrate the point further, Maidstone in Kent was very much an insurance-orientated town, with all the big players having a large presence, and some of them even having a number of satellite offices dotted around town.
Today, most of the offices now lie empty, with only a few of the insurers having a small presence left in the town.
My company, NIG, now dominates the town and is the largest insurer in the area. However we, like the other insurers, are having a problem attracting new talent to our office.
How can this be when there used to be such a large pool of talent in the area?
While it may be true that some have relocated, I know a lot of my fellow colleagues have simply gone into other industries.
Simply put, stop the redundancies and off-shoring now because in the future these insurers will find a great reluctance from the UK workforce to seek employment with them because of their chequered history. I know money must be saved in order to turn a profit sometimes, but don't look to save money from your workforce.
Without us the insurance industry is nothing.
Kevin Barry, Commercial underwriter, NIG