According to the Insurance Labor Market Study by The Jacobson Group and Ward Group, the P&C industry has lost 14,000 jobs so far in 2021. The study also found that more than half of commercial lines carriers are looking to add staff, while 40% of personal lines carriers plan to increase headcount within the next 12 months.
Because of the sustained interest in working remotely, recruiters are having to contact twice as many potential candidates when recruiting higher-level employees because people just aren't as interested in relocating. In response, insurance companies have changed their recruitment strategies and employee offerings to include incentives like flexible work schedules, remote work arrangements and mental health resources to stand out and recruit more talent.
Here are some updates on carriers and their hiring plans from the past two months:
- GEICO announced plans to hire nearly 300 new associates in claims, services, sales and other areas in Renton and Tucson. The leading carrier also increased starting salaries across the department, and is in search of Spanish speakers as well.
- USAA is raising the minimum wage for its employees to $21 an hour from $16, as it looks to hire 2,600 claims adjusters, service representatives, IT analysts and software engineers across several office locations. The carrier is also beefing up its benefits package, adding childcare reimbursement for some workers, college scholarship program for dependents, and other family support offerings.
- Elephant Insurance is building out its presence among independent agents and is looking to expand its reach. The carrier has already partnered with companies like Goosehead and Agentero.
Here are some updates on carriers and their hiring plans from August:
- State Farm boosted its headcount target from 1,500 to 2,500 full-time employees. Starting pay will range between $16 an hour and $17.25 an hour plus benefits.
- Root and Metromile plan to add independent agents to its distribution team throughout the rest of 2021.
- Metlife is increasing its investment in its employees by raising its U.S. minimum wage to $20 an hour. This initiative is the latest in a series of investments the company has made to develop its workforce over the past several years.
Within the P&C industry, the list of insurers looking to boost their headcounts has grown steadily in 2021, with carriers pitted against each other — as well as tech giants and financial services firms — in the search for skilled and experienced workers. Here are some ways some leaders in the industry have been changing up the way they’re approaching the hiring process.
Despite technological advances, a recent LexisNexis survey showed 51% of consumers still prefer to interact with a live person when submitting an insurance claim, proving that when it comes to insurance, people still want to talk to other people.
- GEICO stated in May that it was looking to add 500 associates in the claims, customer service and sales area in their Lakeland, Florida office. At the end of June, GEICO announced that it is looking to hire people in those same areas in their San Diego office.
- BoldPenguin, an insurtech recently acquired by American Family Insurance, announced that it plans to add more than 160 people as part of a major expansion in their main office in Columbus, Ohio.
- Progressive reported plans to hire 6,400 people this year to support the company’s growth in roles ranging from data scientists, attorneys and call center workers.
- Nationwide currently has 100 open roles in Texas to boost headcount in its San Antonio hub.
Offering career advancement opportunities
Work-life priorities have changed over the past few years; employees aren’t just looking for cool office amenities and fun work perks anymore. Instead, people are looking for meaningful offerings like mental health resources, support for continuing education and hybrid office hours. Many carriers have started to place a higher value on career advancement, job stability and the positive social value of insurance to reflect those nice-to-haves.
- Progressive prides itself on promoting from within, and recently announced that new hires will have access to an internal career development hub that offers mentoring possibilities.
- Liberty Mutual offers full-time employees trying to continue their education with 100% tuition reimbursement for undergraduate and graduate courses.
- American Family offers a student loan assistance program of $100 a month, and also offers interns and recent graduates a tuition reimbursement policy.
- GEICO offers full-time associates tuition reimbursement for up to $5,250 a year.
Taking advantage of remote work
With many companies transitioning employees to work remotely in the past year, some insurers are recruiting employees that aren’t physically near existing offices because they simply don't have to anymore.
- Both Liberty Mutual and American Family announced plans to hire for jobs outside of their traditional office locations to fill in-demand roles, opening the positions up to more talent and widening the companies’ footprints.
- Allstate is offering a mix of home-based, office-based and hybrid work designations, with employees receiving a direct deposit for “connectivity” reimbursements if they work from home.
- Nationwide is selling its corporate office in San Antonio, a facility that accommodates for up to 2,000 staff members. While the carrier hasn’t stated any definitive future plans with the facility, the space will still serve as a primary employment center for the company and reorganize how office-based workers will work in the space.
- Farmers Insurance announced that it would be pushing back its return-to-office plan until 2022, making it the first major P&C carrier to grant such a significant extension of its remote-work policy.
Instead of building regional customer bases from scratch, larger carriers have acquired smaller agencies to expand their reach in the past few years. Some insurers have partnered with insurtechs and start-ups, allowing companies to offer a diverse range of job opportunities and better bundles to customers.
- Allstate reported it is looking to buy other small independent agencies to build on its acquisition of National General and SafeAuto.
- Liberty Mutual announced that it would acquire State Auto, expanding the company’s position as an industry leader for personal lines and small commercial insurance.
- USAA is acquiring Noblr, a telematics-based insurtech startup built on a “reciprocal exchange” insurance model.
- Progressive closed its deal with Protective Insurance, which gives Progressive the opportunity to grow in the commercial auto insurance for the trucking industry.
Operating in a hybrid environment poses as the new normal, even in the world of insurance. As industry leaders modify the way they approach business models, the workforce, and operational trends to be more digital-centric and less “traditional”, it will be interesting to see how P&C insurers blend old ways of operating with new technologies.