Insurance organisations must ‘give a really clear sense of purpose’ if they wish to attract and retain staff, says expert panel

“Culture, purpose and a sense of development and belonging are crucial” if insurance firms are to attract and retain talent following 2021’s Great Resignation, according to Jaime Swindle, chief executive of Ardonagh-owned MGA Geo Underwriting.

Speaking at the Accelerator conference, hosted by Bravo Networks on 2 March 2023, Swindle emphasised that insurance organisations must have a “clear message about what it is [they] do and why [they] do it” to ensure that staff are “interested in coming to work for [the] organisation”.

Swindle continued: “That’s one thing we’ve been trying to do – give a really clear sense of purpose from an organisational perspective.”

Another facet of improving industry-wide talent attraction and retention, according to Swindle, is to understand individual employees’ career journeys.

As part of this, firms should ensure to provide different job options, as well as invest in employees’ skills, career and personal development.

“[Firms] don’t lose people because [of] money. [Companies lose staff] because they don’t buy what they’re doing, they don’t see a future for themselves, they don’t see that development. So, ensure that you’re continuing that investment and that journey and giving them optionality,” she added.

Promoting an attractive place to work

Swindle and her fellow panellists agreed that the insurance sector needed to change its image in order to better attract talent – especially in terms of younger talent.

Ryan Birbeck, regional broker distribution director at Aviva, admitted that “we do have an image problem for the younger generation”.

He continued: “We aren’t talking their language in terms of making them aware of the different career [options] they have. I don’t think the benefits that we put forward [around] reward necessarily talk the language of Gen Z.”

The insurance industry has a wide range of available job opportunities, including sales, customer service, finance, accounting, marketing, HR, underwriting and actuarial positions.

Swindle agreed with Birbeck: “There’s every type of job in the industry. There’s pretty much anything and everything. Bringing that to life is really, really important.”

Meanwhile, Nick Hobbs, chief distribution and regions officer at Allianz Insurance, said there is a need to attract talent from outside the insurance industry. “[We] need to get many more people [from outside the industry] interested in a career in insurance,” he emphasised.

Hobbs added that insurance can provide a great lifestyle and long-term friendships, which should be highlighted when promoting careers in the industry.

Talent for tomorrow

For Birbeck, trade bodies such as the ABI and Biba need to pool their resources to help the insurance industry “attract the generation for tomorrow”.

He said: “We’re all probably thinking about recruitment right now, it’s very business as usual. It’s about how do we attract the skills and talent for tomorrow.”