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A career in insurance appeals to hard-working, motivated employees who have a passion for making others feel secure and an eye on securing a long-term future.
https://www.iii.org/article/careers-in-insurance, https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/04/17/insurance-industry-crisis-400000-positions-to-fill/, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.t01.htm
If you’re seeking a promising career with long-term longevity that helps others and has numerous branches in which to work, then mull your career considerations and take a serious look at the mutually beneficial terms of a career in the insurance industry.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), through this year 2020, the insurance industry will need to fill nearly 400,000 positions at all levels, and in all areas. Additionally, employment of insurance brokers and sales agents is expected to grow 9% by the year 2024 (compared with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) report of .5% overall growth during the same period).
What this surplus of potential positions means and this employment growth means is that there are serious career assets for the taking within insurance where you can experience a lifetime of benefits as you maximize your career exposure and claim your role.
Just ask the four insurance employees featured on the following pages. All are in various positions at major companies enjoying the pure premiums, benefits and goodwill of their roles that positively affect customers in all walks of life.
Learn more about them as they outline their job responsibilities in the insurance industry, and share their career policies, daily tasks and passions. Listen to them about how investing in your future leads to being able to improve lives every day and being able to make people feel secure.
Gresham Utilizes Creative Intelligence at Willis Towers Watson
For Myshell Gresham, ARM, an account executive with Willis Towers Watson, pursuing a career in the insurance industry was not intentional. Post-college, she hoped to work in the beauty industry. But it’s been, in her words, “the best career decision.”
She elaborates: “The insurance industry was never on my radar, and I started my career in the financial services industry, so insurance wasn’t the focus. In fact, early in my career I didn’t know the correlation with insurance and financial institutions. However, circumstances took me down a different path, for which I have no regrets.”
Gresham started her career as a credit analyst in the banking industry, performing due diligence for large corporate syndicate deals for the media and healthcare industries.
“During the banking consolidation years - in the early 2000s - the bank I worked for was acquired, and I wanted to be in control of my career, so I began interviewing,” she explains.
“During this process, AIG extended an offer. I made the leap into the insurance industry in 2000, and spent 18 years with AIG.”
The finance graduate of Hampton University then switched gears, and joined Willis Towers Watson just less than a year ago, working at the company’s Scottsdale, AZ branch.
“I develop, grow, and maintain client relationships and consult on risk management commercial insurance programs with appropriate solutions via technical, industry, and subject matter expertise to improve the client’s risk profile,” indicates Gresham.
Although her role at the company is still pretty new, she’s currently working on securing three large programs: one with a state water authority, one with a global solar company and one with a national car retailer.
“All quite exciting, because I’m getting the opportunity to utilize creative intelligence, speaking directly to my core,” Gresham shares, adding, “A few years ago, I realized creativity doesn’t always manifest in visual interpretation, but the ability to think abstractly to develop ideas for clients uses creative intelligence. This ability has allowed me to develop new ideas to solve client problems or actively brainstorm with clients to think beyond the standard business parameters.”
She’s enthusiastic about her career choice, and encourages others to join her in the industry. She further encourages young adults to learn more by attending events with insurance professionals, and studying the industry.
In addition, “understand initially what type of work you want to do. Most importantly, have fun doing it. Be authentically you, connect with your passion, and certainly align with organizations that illustrate their commitment to diversity and opportunity for all ethnicities,” she recommends.
Find job opportunities at Willis Towers Watson - headquartered in London, U.K. with offices in 140 countries, including the U.S. - at careers.willistowerswatson.com. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Glassdoor.
Hinton Implements an Inclusive Strategy at Unum
As vice president, inclusion and diversity at Unum, Wade A. Hinton, esq. is responsible for implementation of Unum’s inclusion and diversity strategy “to ensure our culture, environment and business approach in every area is inclusive and respectful to all.”
Adds Hinton: “I’m also providing leaders with tools and resources to be champions of inclusion, and to ensure all employees within the organization have access to opportunities and have a sense of belonging.”
He came to his current role just more than a year ago by way of law. Hinton - who’s based in Chattanooga, TN at the company’s headquarters - earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Emory University and a JD in law from the University of Memphis School of Law Central European University, and practiced law before joining the insurance industry.
“Like many others, I had preconceptions about the insurance industry. But what I soon discovered was that many of the skills I developed throughout my career had a place in the insurance world,” he reveals.
According to Hinton, every industry benefits from inclusion, especially insurance. “Unum protects and helps 38 million people and families around the globe at their time of need. The best way for us to meet the needs of our customers is to reflect their diversity and operate inclusively,” states Hinton.
“One way to do this is to have a work environment that’s receptive to novel ideas and new ways of thinking.”
One of those ways for Unum is its recent launch of the Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Innovation Challenge, a business case competition for students from around the country.
“This program offered high-performing, talented juniors and seniors from HBCUs across the country the opportunity to solve real business problems,” explains Hinton.
Currently, he serves on the boards of directors for the Benwood Foundation, The Company Lab, Chattanooga State Foundation, and the Sankofa Fund, and is past charter president of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga Young Professionals Group. And this is just a small sampling of how he pays it forward, and supports the community.
In fact, giving back is important to him. “This may seem like a lot, but these causes energize and inspire me outside of my professional career,” he shares.
Unum, headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, has available jobs at unum.com/careers. Connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Staton Improves the Lives of In-State Residents at BlueCare Tennessee
As a medical director for BlueCare Tennessee, Lisa Staton, MD, FACP makes a difference for people across the state.
“It’s given me the opportunity to not only support individual members, but also to encourage better health for some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable at the population level,” says Staton, who earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina, and her Doctor of Medicine from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina in Greenville, NC. She then completed a residency in internal medicine at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC and a fellowship in general internal medicine at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
A career in insurance wasn’t always on this doctor’s career radar, but life works in interesting ways. In 2014 she joined BlueCare Tennessee, a division of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, serving in her current position.
“It wasn’t always on my radar, but I’m glad to be here now,” says Staton. “It aligns well with my goal to serve the health of the public. When I was practicing medicine, I didn’t always make use of the vast resources that insurance companies can provide - things like preventive care, transportation, social work and case management. Now I get to support efforts to educate primary care providers like myself in making the most of these resources, which is gratifying.”
Staton is currently entering her third year of supporting the company’s internal Grand Rounds program, which is “designed to help our employed clinicians (physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals) stay up-to-date with healthcare trends outside of their core area of expertise.”
Staton also supports medical management and quality programs for the BlueCare Tennessee program. “A big part of my job involves making sure we’re compliant with regulations and contract agreements related to the government programs we serve.”
She adds: “Our number one priority is the health of our members, so I work with data analysts and other teams to coordinate and apply clinical metrics aimed at ensuring those we serve receive the right care at the right time.”
Her role allows her to collaborate with experts from a variety of disciplines to identify patterns and address social determinants - such as access to transportation, safe housing and so forth - that may be impacting members’ ability to achieve better health.
In short, “it’s all about combining evidence-based practices and critical thinking with a person-centered approach to care,” she summarizes.
Her career advice for recent college grads considering an insurance career is this: “Be sure to highlight areas where your knowledge and skills match the position you’re seeking. Get help to make sure your resume and cover letter are error-free, and make sure your contact information is up to date.”
She adds: “It’s important to take care of yourself (mind, body and soul) to be able to bring your best self to work each day. Know how to prioritize your work. [And] remember, the goal is to work smarter, not harder.”
BlueCare Tennessee, headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, has jobs listed at bcbst.com/careers. Connect on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Scribner of WestPac Wealth Partners Is Passionate About Helping Clients Enjoy Life
By the bright lights of Las Vegas, NV, you’ll find Travis Scribner, CExP, managing partner for WestPac Wealth Partners, which has been recently recognized by Fortune as the Number 7 Best Medium-Sized Workplace in the U.S.
Scribner’s been with the company for eight years. His role includes the leadership, growth, development and retention of team members.
“In addition to growing our team, I also work directly as a financial advisor with small business owners, dentists, lawyers, doctors, and professional athletes across the country,” he adds.
“I collaboratively work with clients to develop customized financial strategies that align with their financial goals. I’m passionate about helping my clients and their families enjoy the life they want - not only today, but for generations to come.”
Scribner initially hoped to be a stockbroker. It was that, or, as he jokes, “a professional athlete, like every little kid!”
He explains: “As I got older, I realized there was so much more to the career and investments, and insurance plays an intricate interdependent role in the financial success of people.” Growing up with little, he was always fascinated by money, and “wanted to know how money worked” to one day be able to provide for his family.
To further frame how he helps people, Scribner explains he recently had a client whose husband passed away, and “in addition to the emotional component, it left a great deal of financial burden and uncertainty. We were able to work with her to create a detailed financial plan that would allow her and her children to continue living the lifestyle they were in, and maintain peace of mind in an otherwise terrible situation.”
Like Scribner, if you’re interested in pursuing a career in insurance, then go for it. “There honestly has never been a better time, with the vast majority of advisors near retirement; the opportunity for growth is unprecedented,” he points out.
“The best advice I can give to a college grad is to get into the business and don’t give up. You’ll inevitably face difficult times as you build your business, but it’s all worth it on the other side of things.”
He adds: “My CEO always says, ‘You can choose ‘hard to easy’ in life or ‘easy to hard.’ This business is absolutely the path of hard to easy, and the only way you fail in this business is if you get out of the business.”
Some days, he admits, it’s giant leaps forwards and other days it’s baby steps. But the trick is to just keep moving forward. As for resumes, Scribner believes that “honestly resumes all kind of blend together.”
Instead, he prescribes a more direct approach. “Be proactive instead of reactive, reach out on LinkedIn, and set yourself apart from others immediately by building a connection,” he advises. “Project confidence and a willingness to be coached, and that goes a long way for me.”
As for his work-life balance, he explains that “the work I do is so ingrained in my life. At WestPac we prefer work-life integration as opposed to work-life balance, [so] the fabric of my life is intertwined with my career. That’s only something you can do, I believe, when you’re truly passionate about what it is you do.”
Outside of work he’s active with a number of charities in the Las Vegas valley, including the Make a Wish Foundation, Give Kids a Smile, and the Clark County Medical Society. Scribner earned his bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in public relations from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV).
Check out available jobs with La Jolla, CA-headquartered WestPac Wealth Partners, an agency of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian) in New York, NY, at westpacwealth.com/p/career. Connect on LinkedIn and Facebook.
https://content.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_insurance_industry_snapshots_and_analysis_reports.htm, https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/2Q19%20Mid-Year%20Industry%20Report%20%281%29.pdf, https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/2019%20Mid-Year%20Health%20Industry%20Report.pdf, https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/Mid-Year%202019%20Life%20Industry%20Commentary.pdf
Insurance Industry Gains
Property & Casualty Industry Overview
Increased underwriting discipline, continued rate increases, lower catastrophe losses, and an improving commercial and personal auto market have contributed to solid underwriting performance, to the tune of a $6.5 billion underwriting gain. This combined with solid investment performance contributed to a net profit of $34.8 billion. After factoring in unrealized capital gains, consolidated policyholders surplus increased 7.6% to $838.9 billion as of June 30, 2019, marking an all-time high.
Health Industry Overview
The health insurance industry reported a significant increase in underwriting results to $15 billion for the first six months of 2019 from $10 billion during the same period in the prior year. Net earnings increased to $17 billion for the first six months of 2019 compared to net income of $11 million in the prior year period. The industry’s profit margin increased to 4.5%.
Life + A&H Industry Overview
In the first six months of 2019, the life industry overall reported $28 billion of net income, a 36% increase compared to the first six months of 2018. Net premiums and deposits increased 14% to $437 billion, and net cash from operations for the life industry increased by 8% to $91 billion.. Total direct premiums increased 5% to $472 billion. Life industry cash and invested assets increased 5% to $4 trillion while total separate account assets increased 2% to $3 trillion. The industry’s total capital and surplus increased 5% to $419 billion.
Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
Best U.S. Insurance Job
Actuary, an insurance profession whose practitioners compile and analyze risk, is ranked as The Best Job in America.
https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/uk/Documents/financial-services/deloitte-uk-insurance-trends-2019.pdf, https://www.fintechmagazine.com/fintech/insurance-2020-trends-shaping-future?q=ntr, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/industry/financial-services/financial-services-industry-outlooks/insurance-industry-outlook.html, https://www.iii.org/presentation/future-shock-2020-and-beyond-insurance-industry-trends-challenges-and-opportunities-050916
Trends Shaping the Future of Insurance
Leading insurance firms will need to fight, adapt, and move quickly and effectively if they’re to successfully navigate the profound change they face in 2020 and beyond, years in which include elections, climate investments, and possible interest rate updates, plus cyber risk, the sharing economy, the Internet of Things (IoT), and the growing areas of finance technology, or fintech, and insurance tech, or insurtech.
Thus, this clearly means, for the insurance industry, the future means one thing: change.
There are four key drivers and interlocking trends that could separate the winners from the losers in the future:
1. New World, New Customers, New Solutions
Customers are the disruptive force in the insurance industry. In an age of immediacy, constant change and overwhelming choice where loyalty is no longer a given, the industry has to extend beyond its core products and services if it’s to retain its customer base.
2. A Different Road Map for Growth
The traditional approach of selling protective products is nowhere near enough for the insurer of the future. Growth will come from new, service-based models, innovative products, and a greater focus on prevention.
3. The Negotiating Table Beckons
Incumbent firms can no longer rely on organic growth or internal innovation. The winners will be those that can forge alliances with innovative start-ups, align with insurtech and consolidate with their peers. A rapidly changing industry will require unprecedented deal-making skills.
4. Digital Disruption: Practical Not, Theoretical
Disruption from new technologies is a given. It wends its way through all other trends. But acknowledging it and acting on it are very different propositions. Insurance companies need to know how to deploy the right technology for the right purpose, or they risk being left behind.
As insurance firms adapt to maturing markets and economic turbulence, in the long run, their ability to integrate technology, talent, and business-model innovation into legacy environments may be the key to success.
Sources: Deloitte’s report, A Demanding Future: The Four Trends That Define Insurance in 2020, Deloitte’s 2020 Insurance Outlook and National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) report, Future Shock: 2020 and Beyond, Insurance Industry Trends, Challenges and Opportunities
Fintech Fund Facts
Global financial technology (fintech) funding surpassed $111 billion in 2018. Fintech funding in the Americas jumped from $29 billion in 2017 to $54.5 billion in 2018.
Source: KPMG research
https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/financial-services/articles/gx-insurance-industry-outlook.html, https://www.ey.com/en_gl/insurance/ey-insurance-outlook-what-should-insurers-do-to-prepare-for-tom, https://mclagan.aon.com/insights/articles/2019/insurance-industry-trends-and-outlook-for-2019, https://ward.aon.com/offers/hr-employee-benefits/invite, https://ward.aon.com/company/about, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/financial-services/articles/banking-industry-outlook.html, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/financial-services/us-fsi-dcfs-2019-banking-cap-markets-outlook.pdf, https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-global-banking-outlook-2018/$FILE/ey-global-banking-outlook-2018.pdf
People-Focused Digital Disruption Pushes Nimble Insurance Growth
A focus on tech and innovation, and on these more specific key ideas, will help insurers drive agile growth:
• Digital transformation is critical to optimize costs and boost innovation.
• Both digital and direct distribution channels are imperative for growth.
• Life insurers must expand their value propositions and product sets to address all aspects of financial wellness.
Sources: EY’s 2019 Insurance Outlook and Deloitte’s 2019 Insurance Industry Outlook
Business & Financial Job Growth on the Rise
Employment of business and financial operations occupations is projected to grow 7% through 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 591,800 new jobs.
Globalization, a growing economy, and a complex tax and regulatory environment are expected to continue to lead to strong demand for accountants and auditors.
In addition, increasing usage of data and market research to understand customers and product demand, and to evaluate marketing strategies, will lead to growing demand for market research analysts.
The median annual wage for business and financial occupations was $68,350 in May 2018, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $38,640.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook
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