May 14, 2020

Are Insurance Organizations Hiring During COVID-19? Where to Find Job Opportunities with Agencies & Carriers

by Scott Thompson

To say we are in unprecedented times is putting the COVID-19 pandemic lightly, right?  As an insurance recruiter, the most frequent question insurance professionals have asked me is if they can still find a job.  I believe the answer is ‘yes’ provided you know where within the industry to look.  

Company Size Matters... And Affects Hiring Activity

A lot of the Top 10 national insurance brokers are owned by larger entities (private equity firms and banks/financial institutions). Many of these are on hiring freezes that began in mid-March. I expect them to reevaluate hiring mandates after 7/1 renewals with many extending through the entire summer.

Large insurance companies have also imposed hiring freezes with location affecting these decisions. Home offices may have different standards than field operations based on current staffing and COVID hot spots in certain cities.

Insurance Jobs That Are Hot... Or Not

I’ve seen mid-sized and privately held insurance organizations maintain a healthy level of hiring activity. Yes, there has been some slow down but carriers and agencies that fall into this category have been optimistic, careful not to overcorrect and feel less pressure to make decisions because they don’t answer to a board.

Among this group you will find the greatest amount of new job openings. Find your position below for a glimpse of what is ahead.

Producers & Sales Executives

My recruiting career began 18 months before The Great Recession. One thing I remember about 2008-2009 is that agencies were keen to invest in revenue generators.

If you are an experienced insurance producer and want to change jobs, then you are in luck. Producers remain in high demand! Why? Because you can pay for yourself immediately through new business production. There are three other very important things for you to keep in mind.  

  1. Be a specialist.
    • Agencies invest in niche players versus generalists.
  2. Have a business plan.
    • Again, verticalization helps you create an exciting value proposition for expanding into new markets and capturing unique business. You must be able to talk about the classes of business you can target.
  3. Break down investment in small increments.
    • In your business plan, be specific about your goals for success in 3-month, 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year goals. Show agencies how you intend to validate much sooner than the traditional 36-month window. 

Account Managers/Account Executives

If you are an experienced client service manager, you can still find jobs that are open for 1 of 2 reasons. 

  • Vacancy
  • Retirement

Opportunity and expansion hires are slowing down, but an empty chair that must be filled is going to be a great role for you to consider.

  1. There is a lot of stability taking over an existing book.
    • Don’t be scared to make a change if you know there is an immediate portfolio for you to manage.
  2. Specialization is key.
    • You need to be able to talk specifically about the classes of business that you have intimate familiarity handling. Even a handful of accounts constitutes niche experience (like healthcare, construction, public entities, or non-profits).  Agencies find this differentiator desirable.

Technical Roles

Underwriting & Claims… two of the most diverse and bountiful insurance positions. I expect the volume of job openings to ebb and flow through graduation season and the summer. Already I’m hearing that carriers have not slowed down hiring within claims units. Catastrophic events tend to have this affect.

Management/Leadership

I’ve got to tell you, managers will not be hired unless there is a death or resignation that can’t be covered by an existing leader. Companies are eliminating these roles more than adding them. For those furloughing or cutting staff, it’s also a bad PR move to eliminate mid-level jobs but hire an expensive executive. If you fall into this category, you may not find jobs open up until Q4 at the earliest.

Do you have experience managing remote employees? This is the silver lining job opening for experienced insurance executives. Training, motivating, and managing remote employees is a valuable skill. COVID has shown that people can work well from home, but teamwork and culture are paramount to it being viable long-term. You can prove the concept through past experiences and carve out a unique differentiator for yourself as a leader. 

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