Re/insurance roles are changing and the industry will require a more diverse and techsavvy set of skills and new talent to tackle the challenges of this evolving landscape, but a shortage of candidates has raised concerns around how to fill the approaching gap. Intelligent Insurer investigates.
The re/insurance industry is facing something of a branding issue when it comes to attracting young talent looking to enter the world of financial services.
Recruitment specialist, Jacobson estimates that, in spite of placement rates close to 100 percent, the annual yield of graduates from US risk management and insurance programmes meets only 10 to 15 percent of re/insurance industry needs. While such statistics are harder to come by in the UK, the problem there is anecdotally very similar— if not worse.
“There’s a shortage of talent, full stop,” says Steven Lawes, chief executive of insurance recruitment firm Lawes Consulting Group. “In the whole market it’s very much a candidate led market. There are lots of opportunities at the moment in the UK—not just in London. We’ve got around 250 jobs that are insurance or reinsurance roles that we just can’t find candidates for.”
In response to this issue, Lloyd’s CEO, Inga Beale, and London Market Group CEO, Chris Beazley, have called for a more collaborative approach to engage the workforce of tomorrow and address the talent and skill gaps that the industry faces.
“The adding of alternative skills that have a more forwardlooking view will be what gives the London Market and Lloyd’s the competitive edge it needs.” Chris Beazley, London Market Group.
Speaking at a conference hosted at Lloyd's by social mobility charity, The Brokerage Citylink, and Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership: ‘2040—what work will look like for the next generation’, Beazley suggested that 65 percent of children entering primary school today are likely to work in roles that don’t currently exist, and leading corporates are already addressing the needs of changing labour markets.
Among the main drivers are enhancements in technology and the use of data, which Beazley believes is something that will need to be captured and properly utilised by the next generation’s workforce to gain a competitive edge in the future.
One of the keys to engaging these individuals, according to Beazley, is to create greater collaboration between businesses and educationalists to give jobstarters a better understanding of what working in insurance is like.
“One of the more prominent issues with engaging jobstarters is that many of them don’t see insurance as their first choice in terms of their career path,” says Beazley. “Too often you’ll still find people working in the industry who say they ‘fell into insurance’, almost as if it was by accident. There’s more work to be done,” he adds.
He suggests that when many people think about insurance, they tend to think more about personal lines or life insurance.
“For those looking to enter financial services, getting a job in the capital markets is often the first choice,” says Lawes.
Preparing for the future
Rather than agreeing that there is a shortage of talent in the industry, Beazley’s big question mark is whether the talent of the future is properly equipped to face the changing insurance landscape in terms of skills.
“The adding of alternative skills that have a more forwardlooking view will be what gives the London Market and Lloyd’s the competitive edge it needs over other global re/insurance markets,” he says.
One key example is the enhancement of technology and data, which will likely create roles that will require new sets of skills.
Skills such as interrogating and translating data will play an important role in the insurance market, he suggests, with even data scientists playing more of a role down the line. It is skills like these that will distinguish those undergoing a relatively traditional career path in insurance from those who will be the next generation of leaders in insurance, Beazley says.
“Take for example an underwriting career, that traditional progression from assistant underwriter to underwriter to senior underwriter, and so on. It’s quite a traditional career path. If you then look at the skills that are going to be required for leaders of the future, I would suggest some diversity to those experiences and skills will be really important.”
One of Beazley’s main concerns is whether the next generation are ready to lead the business of tomorrow.
“If you look at today’s leaders in the market, they are the people who steered this market through tragic events such as 9/11, and many of those leaders will be retiring shortly. If you look at the current CEOs leaving managing agents, the average age is 54,” he says.
The leaders of the future will need not only a good grasp of technology, but also more of an international understanding to compete and trade on a global stage, he adds. However, although roles are changing, Beazley stresses that there will always be a need for what has served the London Market and Lloyd’s historically.