Decoding the Talent Exodus in Insurance

Here’s why I believe the insurance industry should look at the exodus of underwriting talent as an opportunity instead of a crisis. 

People In White Suits Standing Near Black Wall

“I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than be in something as boring as insurance.”

Veteran insurance adviser Tony Tarquini was startled when his teenage son recently dismissed a career in insurance. With as many as 400,000 employees expected to retire from the insurance industry in 2026, the talent crisis seems apparent but also presents a tremendous opportunity.

During the third session of Send’s webinar series ‘INFUSE - Finding, and Keeping, the Best Underwriting Talent,”  industry experts joined me to discuss what we believe is a transformative era for underwriters.

My fellow panelists Georgi Munger, global head of MidCorp Casualty & Underwriting Practices at Allianz, and Caroline Bedford, chief executive at EDII, discussed talent acquisition, retention and succession strategies that could define the underwriting landscape for the next decade.

Here’s why I believe the insurance industry should look at the talent exodus as an opportunity instead of a crisis. 

See also: Overcoming the Talent Crisis in Underwriting

We’re not alone

Today, every industry is facing a massive loss of talent due to an aging workforce. Sectors in education, healthcare and construction are on the brink of a talent exit, as well. This attrition cycle leaves us all with an opportunity to partner with each other to develop alternate strategies. Whether that means early careers programs, career change programs or succession pathways, there are solutions that we can share to learn from each other. 

Companies that evolve traditional human resource policies, augment hiring strategies and develop succession pathways with their existing workforce are the ones that will become a talent acquisition or retention case study for the decade.

Attract talent with purpose and pay

Today, underwriters are seeking a more holistic approach to complement their career paths. To support this, underwriters must be offered growth and professional development opportunities in addition to simply financial compensation. During Send’s INFUSE webinar, Munger said Allianz went a step further and paid their new underwriters to learn everything about underwriting for a year while not presenting conflicting expectations. This gives fresh talent the confidence to explore their skills and develop faith in the organization. These innovative offers for work-life balance and skills development are resulting in a steady inflow of fresh talent looking to join the industry.

Nurturing underwriters

Attracting talent is easy. Retaining and nurturing talent into specialist roles is the challenge. Whether it’s technical training or soft skills, it can take years before underwriters gain the right business acumen for what is a complicated and complex industry. It’s important we involve the retiring workforce in the organization’s talent succession strategy. Veteran underwriters can have a huge influence by transferring years of underwriting knowledge and skills such as risk assessment, negotiation and data literacy. Several carriers have started to include "talent onboarding" as a part of the job duties for senior underwriters. This will certainly help inspire and retain underwriting talent.

See also: The Next Generation of Talent

AI is empowering talent transition

AI-driven large language models are changing how underwriters perform their roles, with the ability to reduce manual data entry underwriters would have previously had to sort through. AI can also help facilitate faster information and knowledge transfer about policy coverages, underwriting rules and industry terminology during the onboarding of new talent. For newer policy models, AI also can help retrieve the latest data and expedite their education during the onboarding process by giving them almost immediate access to the information a new hire needs to come up to speed quickly and efficiently.

This helps new hires improve their skill sets, increase their data fluency and elevate their data literacy. 

We’re confident that underwriters can anticipate a paradigm shift in employer expectations as more insurers work to instill a future-centric approach, with a stronger emphasis on upskilling and sustained adoption of AI.

At Send, we believe AI and technology are there to enable, not eliminate, the underwriter of the future. We’re here to support the important work of the future underwriters already in the industry, and those not here yet.

Pat Caldwell

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Pat Caldwell

Pat Caldwell is the first chief people officer at Send

Previously, Caldwell held a number of senior executive, board and advisory roles helping technology startups build and scale their people functions in the U.S., U.K. and Australia. He is formerly the COO and head of people at FundApps and is currently on the board at ImpactEd.

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