October 3, 2022

Top 10 Reasons Why Insurance Professionals Change Jobs

by Chris Winterboer

The Great Resignation. Quiet Quitting. In office vs. WFH. You’ve probably heard all of the buzz words and wonder what it means for you.

  • Are there trends to be aware of that may help educate your own job search?
  • Is the grass really greener on the other side of the job search?
  • What are other candidates really doing right now?

To help you understand the broader landscape as you make your own decisions, here are the Top 10 reasons, in no particular order, that we have been hearing why insurance professionals are changing jobs.

1) More money

While this may seem like a “no duh” kind of reason, there are actually many layers to be aware of when it comes to compensation. Yes, it is always okay to have money be a main factor in a job search. But far too many people right now are “hearing” that there is crazy money to be had in the tight labor market. Not only is that not entirely true, it should not be a leading reason for making a job change. You risk pricing yourself out of future promotions or raises by doing so. The market will normalize over time, and is starting to do so already, which makes you expendable if you get too high on the salary scale from an internal equity standpoint.

2) More autonomy

This may seem esoteric at best. What it really means is that people want to be trusted to do their job, provided the resources to do so, and then be left alone for the most part. Many people that fit into this category can have their performance tracked by pretty objective measures, so it can be a great indicator of a solid employee. In sales it is based on results. In account servicing it can be based on completion of projects or client satisfaction. In management it can be based on profitability and/or employee happiness. Just don’t hear what I’m not saying – this doesn’t mean you can just stop having to answer to a boss. Be ready to be under intense scrutiny on the occasions when your work product is actually graded.

3) More responsibility

This category could also be labeled “seeking promotion”. Someone in an individual contributor role that is seeking a management or leadership position. Perhaps someone in a lower level customer service role that wants more of a strategic seat at the table. Maybe a really successful producer that wants to enter into upper management or oversee an entire region. This usually comes with more money as a benefit, but is not the primary motivation. There are fewer and fewer candidates that fit into this bucket, so they are worth their weight in gold.

4) Job restructuring or layoff

This is starting to happen more and more. As companies overreacted and over-hired during and shortly after the pandemic, they are watching the bottom line and profit margins a little more closely these days. If this has happened to you recently, I always preach patience. I know it is a difficult position to be in, but you should really try to remain patient to find the next long-term match. Jumping at the first opportunity may lead to a short tenure and another job search way sooner than anticipated.

5) Fired or terminated

This may be a blurry line between true termination for performance and job elimination due to financial constraints. Honesty is always the best policy, and I have heard all of the excuses in the book that do not resemble honesty at all. Should you ever find yourself in this category, own it the best that you can and bounce back quickly. Too many people try to adjust the truth on their resume or in their narrative, and that will be seen through in short order if you’re not too careful.

6) Desire to maintain WFH status

This is quite common and incredibly understandable. Many people grew accustomed to the autonomy and flexibility of working fully remote instead of battling a daily commute and all of the ups and downs that come with that. The reality, however, is that more and more companies are bringing people back into the office. With that in mind, be aware that the number of truly WFH opportunities are dwindling and the labor pool to gobble those up is growing deeper and deeper by the day. Be sure to remain vigilant when talking with prospective employers that they also provide the right opportunity to succeed both in the short term and the long term.

7) Culture

This may also seem like a no-brainer. There is less sense of community, however, than ever before with so many people out of the office. What are employers doing to bridge that gap and provide some balance? Most aren’t doing nearly enough. Perceptions change on a daily basis and can be very unpredictable and unstable. Looking for a new employer that can do better than where you are currently is difficult to attain at times. Knowing all of the right cues will be the difference between success and failure.

8) To become more of a specialist

Building up your expertise in a niche or vertical market can help you climb a corporate ladder more quickly. There is more of a need than ever before for SMEs in a variety of roles. Whether it be risk category, product knowledge, or even something technology-related, there is a growing market for all kinds of specialization. Being an inch wide and a mile deep can have payoffs in more ways than just money.

9) Relocation

You might think employers would be flexible when they find out they are losing an employee who is moving out of state for personal reasons. It is not always the case. Sometimes candidates are ready for a new challenge anyway. This can be a very motivating factor for employers to consider when a candidate comes to their market. Finding the right one who will roll out the red carpet is always the challenge. Knowing a solid insurance professional is coming to your geography should be a HUGE incentive to have a conversation and hire someone before their competition does. You can use that to your advantage.

10) Jumping to/from agency or carrier side

This is quite the tightrope to navigate at times. There is a reason why it is one of the most difficult transitions at times, despite many people thinking it is a piece of cake. There are a multitude of factors that play into someone having success on either side of the equation. No matter how much you might think you know enough to make the jump, there are likely underlying factors in the lead-up to someone spending 15-20 years in whichever role they find themselves. You thinking it is a smooth transition with zero learning curve could be dangerous.

The basic lesson to be learned at any time you are entering the job market or a search process is to be prepared. You may relate to one of these reasons, or perhaps several at once, but don’t let that make your candidacy too all-encompassing. You don’t want to be all things to all people most times. Rather pick your spots carefully so that you can be seen as well balanced as possible. Regardless of the ups and downs that come with various hiring cycles, keeping is simple is always a good idea!


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