A report from A.M. Best warns that the US insurance industry may be facing a talent drain as companies are having a hard time recruiting younger agents.
Talent management was one of the topics that the ratings agency considered in its Spring 2015 survey of the insurance business. While on the whole neither life nor the property insurers said they were having a problem meeting their hiring needs, the survey did reveal that the US insurance industry is not hiring as many young people as it should; those surveyed said that nearly 70% of their agents were between the ages of 44 and 55, and that less than 20% are under the age of 44.
A.M. Best says it is even more concerned by the fact that 62.5% of life agents and 45% of general insurance agents are over the age of 50, and notes that the only US health insurers have a relatively young workforce, with more than 20% of their agents being under the age of 44.
The survey asked companies to identify what they believe was the biggest obstacle for bringing on new agents. "Answers here were quite diverse: a lack of insurance knowledge, inability to attract younger talent for competitive reasons, a lack of general sales skills and compensation," reads the report.
In addition, about 40% of respondents thought that prospective candidates perceive the insurance industry as being "not being entrepreneurial enough" or "too boring". Those surveyed also expressed concern about the amount of training and professional development required to learn the business, and the industry's non-competitive compensation structure compared to other sectors.
"Interestingly, life/annuity respondents cite the perceived industry culture/lack of diversity as an obstacle while the property/casualty industry stated more frequently that insurance is not considered entrepreneurial," notes A. M. Best.