Most insurance carriers plan to increase staff over the next 12 months, and claims is the second-most sought-after position, according to the latest labor market study by The Jacobson Group and Aon-Ward.
The “Q3 2023 Insurance Labor Market Study,” which explores hiring and revenue trends and projections based on industry data, found that 63% of insurers (and 65% of property & casualty (P&C) carriers) plan to increase staff over the next 12 months. Small companies are leading the way, with 82% planning staff increases, which is 32 points higher than medium- and large-sized companies. Small companies are also the most likely to hire for claims roles over the next year.
Per the study, among functions for which carriers expect to hire during the next year, claims is second only to technology, and is immediately followed by underwriting. Claims staff is most in demand among P&C commercial and P&C personal lines carriers, followed by P&C balanced, and then life & health (L&H). Fifty-two percent of carriers plan to hire experienced claims professionals, compared to only 27% seeking entry-level staff. However, claims, along with operations, were “identified as areas most likely to add entry-level positions,” the survey states.
Industry unemployment rates are low, and the number of job openings has increased to pre-pandemic levels; however, the industry continues to face challenges in recruiting talent, with 17% of companies experiencing more difficulty than last year. This number, however, is down significantly from a year ago, when 48% of companies said the same. Furthermore, 35% of carriers feel that hiring difficulty has eased in the past year.
The study projects that, overall, “If the industry follows through on its plans, we will see a 0.66% increase in industry employment during the next 12 months, creating new jobs.”
Technology: In-Demand but Difficult To Fill
Although technology is the most sought-after role in the industry, it is among the top three most challenging-to-fill positions, followed by executives and analytics. Medium- and large-sized companies are most likely to hire staff for technology roles, while small companies—as previously mentioned—are most likely to hire for claims, followed by technology, over the next 12 months. L&H companies are most likely to hire for roles in technology, followed by P&C balanced, P&C personal, and then P&C commercial. All in all, carriers expecting to fill technology roles are seeking only 12% of employees with entry-level experience and 88% with more experience, according to the survey.
The survey found that 72% of companies expect an increase in revenue growth, which is down seven points from the January 2023 survey and one point from a year ago. Only 3% of companies expect a decrease in revenue growth, down five points from the January survey. P&C companies responded that the primary driver for expected revenue changes will be market share at 48%.
A majority (86%) of the companies planning to increase staff during the next 12 months are expecting an increase in revenue, with 53% responding that it will be due to an increase in market share. Likewise, 48% of the companies planning to maintain their staff size during the next 12 months are expecting an increase in revenue growth, while 5% of the companies are expecting a decrease. None of the companies decreasing staff, however, expect a decrease in revenue.
Workplace Flexibility and Rigidity
“During the last six months, 65% of companies are expecting employees in-office, down from 72% in January,” according to the study. “This increased expectations for full-time remote work from 25% to 32%.” Furthermore, 64% of P&C companies expect most employees to come in at least once per week. Hybrid staffing models are most often adapted by large companies (79%), followed by medium companies (67%) and small companies (52%). Six percent of small companies and 4% of large companies require employees in-office every day of the week. No medium-sized companies, however, reported having those expectations, per the study.
Moving forward into the next six months, 81% of companies expect no changes to in-office requirements, while 19% expect employees to come into the office more. Twenty-one percent of large companies expect employees to be required in the office more after six months, compared to small and medium companies at 18% and 17%. None of the companies surveyed, regardless of size, have plans to have employees come into the office less after six months.
Most of the companies offering a hybrid work model allow a mix of both employees and employer to determine required days in office (65%). Twenty-seven percent of companies rely on the employer to make the decision, and only 8% of companies allow the employee to decide.
The increase in flexible in working arrangements reflects what many industry employees value. According to an article on LinkedIn, titled, “The Future is Now: Reinventing Talent Strategies in Insurance,” by Jay D’Aprile, executive vice president at Slayton Search Partners, “…Flexibility will increasingly emerge as a leading factor in recruiting and retaining insurance talent. Rigid work culture is now a deterrent to top talent, whereas remote flexibility and digitalization are incentives.”