Over the past few years, the national economy has been improving markedly and is expected to continue doing so this year as well. As such, it seems that many property and casualty insurance providers are now planning to hire more agents as competition heats up. That is certainly something that current agents will want to keep in mind going forward.
In all, 62 percent of P/C companies polled for the recent Semi-Annual U.S. Insurance Labor Outlook Study from The Jacobson Group and Ward Group reported that they plan to add staff over the course of 2014, while just 4 percent of respondents said that they would have to reduce the number of employees they carried, according to a report from the Insurance Journal. Both are all-time records in the history of the survey, and continues a trend seen throughout the insurance industry for some time now; since April 2011, such companies have added more than 26,400 jobs.
In fact, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the insurance industry in general is carrying an unemployment rate of just 2 percent, and that marks the lowest level observed since March 2007, when the effects of the recession really began to take hold, the report said. This is also well below the overall national unemployment rate, which most recently came to 6.6 percent.
Downturn still having some effect
However, it’s important to note that many experts in the industry are now concerned about the availability of high-quality candidates, the report said. When the P/C industry, like most others, shed large amounts of workers during and even following the recession, many who had been highly-qualified moved on to different industries instead, and thus many carriers may go wanting for top jobseekers even as the economy improves.
“Dating back to the 2008 time frame there was a lot of reduction-in-force, particularly around the claims operations,” Jeff Rieder, partner for Ward Group, told the site. “We also saw many of the human resource training departments depleted. What this caused is that for certain positions, particularly insurance training and experienced claims adjuster roles, there are fewer of those [job candidates] because they found jobs in other industries.”
Insurance agents will certainly have to keep in mind that the increased competition in the market could impact their numbers, and as such it might be wise for them to check in with their clients to determine how satisfied they are with their coverage.