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Hit the Ground Running: Identify Your Next All-Star Hire and Give Them a Head Start

The proportion of the nation's 65-and-older population has grown by over a third since 2010 and by 3.2% between 2018 and 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is being felt within the insurance industry’s workforce. The average age of an independent insurance agency principal is 54 years old, according to the 2022 Agency Universe Study, which also found that 17% of all independent agency principals are age 66 or older.

This leads us to a few questions: How do agencies engage the younger population? How do they address their aging workforce? And what are the characteristics that you value in a new hire?

First, every agent and agency needs to maintain the appropriate insurance licenses. So, before making a new hire, examine the markets and states that your agency deals with and ensure that any new hire has the required licenses. Or, put a plan in place to get your new hires licensed.

Insurance agents and brokers that are new to the industry must also be highly customer service oriented. After all, being client-focused results in more renewal and referral business. Consider how responsive your candidate is to the interview process. You want someone who will respond quickly to clients. How responsive they are when setting up an interview with you could be a potential indicator.

Also, how enthusiastic and energetic is your potential new hire? You want someone your clients will enjoy working with. You also want someone who is professional and knowledgeable, particularly for clients who have complicated insurance needs.

Now that we have some of the ground rules, you might be thinking: How do I find and attract good candidates? While new hires don't necessarily need a college degree to become an insurance agent, many universities across the country offer risk management and insurance degrees. The Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals has a state-by-state list of universities that offer these degrees. Consider contacting the college and inquiring about recruiting fairs or offering internship opportunities.

If you're looking for someone more experienced, post job openings on sites like Indeed or hire a recruiter. Meanwhile, you should also be active on LinkedIn. Examine your list of LinkedIn contacts and reach out to individuals who would be a good fit for your agency. Additionally, pay attention to other agents or brokers that you have had good experiences with and keep them in mind when you have a job opening at your agency.

Once you’ve hired a new agent, they need to be onboarded. Again, if they need more licenses, make sure that they get started on what's required as soon as possible. You should also provide them with your office’s policies and procedures to make sure that your new hire is familiar with how your office operates.

Train your employee on your internal computer systems and the carrier sites that they will be using. Make sure that your new employee is cognizant of renewal dates and knows how your office's calendar system works, as well.

Lastly, one of the keys to avoiding any potential errors & omissions exposures is to teach your employee about risk management and audits. Make sure that they document files appropriately and confirm action items with clients in writing. Remind your recruit to keep all emails and to always ensure that your clients are duly informed.

By following these tips, hopefully, you and your new hire will start off on the right foot and work together for many years to come.

About the Author

Donna Asta is vice president and claims expert with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and works out of the Chicago office. Insurance products underwritten by North American Capacity Insurance Company and Swiss Re Corporate Solutions America Insurance Corporation, Kansas City, Missouri, members of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions.

This article is intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. Swiss Re shall not be held responsible in any way for, and specifically disclaims any liability arising out of or in any way connected to, reliance on or use of any of the information contained or referenced in this article. The information contained or referenced in this article is not intended to constitute and should not be considered legal, accounting or professional advice, nor shall it serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of the Swiss Re Group ("Swiss Re") and/or its subsidiaries and/or management and/or shareholders

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