May 3, 2021
Insurance Job Trends: Q1 2021 Report
by Chris Winterboer
The Insurance Industry Pays Top Dollar for Sales, Service, and Leadership Professionals
Through the first three months of 2021, we are seeing job activity tick up and with that comes more conversations with experienced insurance professionals seeking new career opportunities. If you’re in that boat, your first question might be, “What can I expect to find in the job market?” The answer: lots! Here are some trends we are seeing in sales, service and executive leadership.
Insurance Producer Jobs
Creative compensation is the way insurance organizations are enticing talented salespeople.
- Expect to see more brokers paying first year commissions on new business written. Agencies are motivated to see an immediate return on investment. This means dollar-one commissions, even if you haven’t validated yet.
- Run towards an escalating scale that includes higher tiers for additional revenue that is above year-one projections. Sometimes it has minimal effect on overall comp for year one, but it is the principle that matters. Agencies put their money where their mouth is with the emphasis on early results.
- Resources = Higher Production. You can’t make the personal income you want if the marketing & service resources are limited. Ask in-depth questions about internal support during your interview. Insurance organizations have invested heavily in technology, sales support, service training and centralized marketing. This might be worth a 5% differential or $10k less in up front salary to accomplish your long-term production goals.
- True validation periods are coming back in style. Retail brokers slowly chipped away at the 36-month validation from 2008-2018. Now the long leash is back in style because too many firms were burned with expensive first year hires that flamed out. Had they been more patient they would have seen a better return. Make sure you negotiate a reasonable validation plan. The agencies will give it to you.
Insurance Client Service Jobs
Companies that pay competitive salaries and offer flexible schedules win the race for top talent.
- Can this job be 100% Work-From-Home? Insurance organizations are motivated to hire experienced service talent regardless of location. It’s a silver lining from the pandemic. You will find in a job search that most companies are totally comfortable addressing hybrid work schedules and WFH capabilities without impacting future earning potential and career advancement.
- How are you upgrading & integrating technology? Just about every insurance employer upgraded technology in 2020- from conference rooms to video chats, home office set ups and contingency equipment. You will find most companies want you to seamlessly bounce from home to office as needed. Negotiate home office equipment into your comp package.
- Set boundaries on flexible scheduling. I have heard countless stories of people who have had to skip lunches, work late, take calls late into the night and weekends, and even miss kids’ activities to get things done. That really starts to impact your per-hour salary, and that is something to pay close attention to. Recently I even had a job seeker tell me that their boss brags incessantly about service staff being available 24/7. That theory has definitely been tested recently, and no one wants to have their cell phone ring in the middle of the night with a random question from a client.
- Are signing bonuses available? Yes even if the company doesn’t immediately mention it in the interview process. The fact is for every job seeker there are 4-5 job openings. The insurance industry has a huge issue with supply & demand. Sweeten the pot with your job search. Now is the time to ask for a signing bonus to incentivize your move.
Insurance Leadership Jobs
Insurance organizations in hyper-growth mode are investing in executive bench strength.
- Market conditions exist to get creative with total compensation. Executive perks, equity plays, unique metrics for revenue projections (and subsequent bonuses based on those metrics), overrides from profitability, and much more can be incorporated with more ease. Leadership experience is in short supply which opens the door for a savvy transition. Expect to find employers willing to do whatever it takes to make the deal.
- Unfettered access to the executive committee, board, CEO, etc. is higher than we’ve seen in a long time. Pay close attention to this, as this will ultimately affect your ability to make more money.
- Is everyone from the top down committed to the process?
- Are they invested, literally and figuratively, in ensuring success with the hire?
- Are they open to the ideas you are bringing to the table?
These will all be key to knowing you are entering an agreement that will be mutually beneficial from a financial perspective for both parties, now and into the indefinite future. Many times, a hire in the leadership ranks is something the top brass have been considering for a long time. After a brief pause because of the pandemic, these organizations are itching to make a big splash. Those are the best opportunities to capitalize on.