January 18, 2024
Insurance Agency Client Service Hiring Trends for 2024
by Mary Newgard
Every year I think of January’s column as a crystal ball that shows trends in the insurance job market for the foreseeable future. In previous years my projections have been about ‘hot jobs’ like in 4 Progressive Jobs Insurance Agencies Will Hire in 2021. This year, my gut read is that insurance agency hiring will be less about niche roles and more focused on solving problems created by recent talent shortages.
Regional Service Teams
Insurance agencies big and small alike struggle to find experienced insurance talent which makes company size less of a factor than location. The bigger the zip code the easier it is to find more insurance candidates. I’ve seen a lot of firms that have acquired agencies in small and rural markets struggle to fill every level of client service role- CSR, Account Manager, and Account Executive. There simply isn’t enough insurance talent in these communities to easily replace veteran positions.
That’s why I believe insurance agencies will start recruiting regional service teams. They can strategically target markets with large pools of experienced insurance talent. Employees centralized in one office support smaller agency locations within a reasonable driving distance to attend client and team meetings. Additional benefits of regionalization include controlling overhead, maintaining pay equity, streamlining training, improving efficiencies, and making it easier to manage service employees.
Dual Service Roles
Cross training is more common than you might think. Internship and newbie training programs expose young people to all facets of the agency’s divisions before ultimately deciding on a specialty. Expect the trend of dual roles to continue for experienced insurance professionals too. Agencies are cross-training marketing specialists to handle claims advocacy and employee benefits financial underwriting specialists to also manage key accounts as an account manager. Duality has a lot of benefits:
- It gives every employee a back-up to help when they are out or during peak service seasons.
- It buys time for agencies to replace vacant positions.
- It offers new challenges to seasoned insurance professionals.
- It opens new career advancement opportunities and increases retention.
- It lets you tap into new talent pools for creative recruiting outlets.
More Nimble Service Positions
One thing hiring and recruiting does very quickly is demonstrate whether your company understands what it takes to compete in today’s job market. Last year I had a lot of clients start to question their service structure after interviewing job seekers and making them offers. Just when you think you know the template for a Commercial Lines Account Executive job, you interview someone who works for a competitor, and they describe a completely different model, set of job responsibilities, and pay structure.
In 2024 I expect a lot of insurance brokers to rebuild their service teams, making them more nimble, technical, and efficient. This may mean eliminating archaic positions or creating entirely new roles, say Benefits Consultant, whereas before your highest service position was Benefits Account Executive.
Matching your service roles with talent available in the market also benefits long-term, strategic talent acquisition planning. You can more clearly see where attrition and replacement openings will come from. You have confidence knowing the job openings you advertise in the market are competitive and attract top talent.