July 31, 2023

Want to Work Remotely? It Could Cost You.

by Kris Gibson

Remote insurance roles, namely client management positions, are all the rage right now. Before the pandemic, our team at Capstone saw almost no remote opportunities while today we see somewhere around 15-20% of client service roles allowing for fully-remote work and a large number of the remaining ones being hybrid with a blend of office and remote work.

As an employee the perks are often clear: no wasted time commuting, no commute-related expenses, less money spent on clothes, cosmetics, and other self care or beauty products, increased flexibility to meet family needs… the list goes on and on. While it would be great to just gain all of these things at no cost, let’s not forget this is America. As great as it is, nothing is free here.

Here are 4 potential costs or tradeoffs you may find you need to make in order to work fully remote in the insurance industry.

1) Growth or Advancement. The overwhelming majority of remote roles we see are what can best be described as account manager level and below. Into this bucket falls everything short of an account executive or client executive- analysts, techs, CSRs, Account Managers, and Sr. Account Managers. Obviously if you’re toward the lower end or middle of that list there is some room to grow, but with a cap in most cases. Those roles that are more heavily client-facing still seem most prevalent in the office and located near it for travel cost containment reasons with one exception- Account Executive level and higher roles working on a national accounts book or within a very narrow vertical. For these, location is less important. Long-term it is reasonable to think management and more senior level roles could progress to remote, but change is slow and hard to predict.

2) Compensation. Some are lucky enough to go remote and get a big raise, which is great and certainly the goal. The reality is many do not. Companies know the savings an employee gets going remotely and in many cases it simply boils down to basic economics. Right now there are more people who want to work remotely than there are remote roles. When supply is lower than demand, costs go up. In this case, you represent the consumer paying the higher price in the form of reduced wages.

3) Inclusion and Engagement. Remote employees represent a small portion of most organizations’ overall workforce. They are, in a sense, the exception rather than the rule. While most of the team is in the office together at least part of the time, bonding and participating in a company’s culture, it is the remote employees who can be marginalized and isolated, working almost more like an independent contractor. For some, this is a perk rather than a cost, but if you are someone who really enjoys being a part of a close team, be mindful.

4) PTO or Extra Flexibility. Many leaders and organizations see working remotely as the pinnacle of flexibility and work-life balance. True or not, that is their perception and this can often lead to them being less generous with true vacation time and/or additional flexibility or accommodation for things like working hours, days, and time off needs.

Hopefully you’ll be one of the lucky ones who can have it all, working remotely without giving up anything, but many are not so fortunate. In no way does it mean working remotely is a bad option, you should just be prepared for the whole bargain you may be making when you accept a remote opportunity.


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