Category Archives: Careers and Employment

Advancing diversity requires insurers and prospects to adopt a proactive mindset

Tiara Wallace recently accepted her role as the Director of Risk for Invesco US and can’t seem to hide her contagious excitement for her profession. After announcing in a recent interview with Triple-I that she is a new “dog mom,” she proudly revealed that she is a parent to a 20-year-old “who is in college and recently switched his major to risk management.”

She had explained to her son how some activities in his current (but unrelated) campus job, such as “reviewing contracts and determining if the appeal process is working,” could be a good foundation for a future role in the field.

Wallace’s advocacy for careers in risk management doesn’t stop with her family. Having spent some time as an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma, she delights in frequently sharing with young people the benefits and opportunities they might find in her profession. She tells them that “insurance and risk management is such a great and lucrative career,” welcoming people from various backgrounds.

“Some folks have college, some people just have experience in the industry. But you’re able to make it into whatever you need for your life. And there’s so many routes you can go down.”

She launched her journey by working in claims adjustment for ten years. Then she decided it was time for a change. “Do I pivot now and make the change into something else?” she asked herself. 

A friend remarked on her talent for educating people and understanding what drives claims. “Have you ever thought about safety or risk management?” her friend asked.

Wallace says a risk management major wasn’t available to her as an undergraduate. “So I did what any typical millennial does and I got on the Internet and started to look up jobs.”

She was surprised to discover she was already familiar with the foundations. She thought, “This is what we all do day-to-day, right – managing our decisions and determining where our risk appetite is?

She gives ample credit to her mentor, who has since become a family friend, for giving her a transformational opportunity. “He was the VP of Risk for a privately held bank in Oklahoma,” she says. He hired her as the risk manager for a family group of 20 ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

The job suited her well. “It was never mundane…and that really spoke to me and really started the journey into risk management for me.”

Years later, Wallace eventually relocated to Dallas and is now in her role working with commercial real estate and private equity at Invesco. The knowledge and skills she acquired working with the private firm are helping her excel in a publicly traded company, where she continues to grow.

“I’m learning a ton, and there’s a lot coming at me, but I enjoy the challenge.”

When asked what changes she’s witnessed in her field over the years regarding diversity, Wallace is candid, pragmatic, and hopeful.

“Going from a call center and claims where you see all types of people to these areas where it’s on the commercial side, and I’m going to different conferences. Sometimes, you can see the same type of person that fills the role.”

Wallace describes her firsthand account of an issue that is widely documented by various organizations – from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to key players in the risk management field, such as  Marsh.

For example, BLS data on Black and African American representation in the insurance industry shows that representation is increasing, with 14.6% employees in the field, up from 9.9% in 2014. Black professionals held 19.2% of insurance claims and processing clerk roles. However, as of 2020, only 1.8% (just three out of 168) of executive employees in the industry are Black, according to data sourced by Reuters

 “In the last three or four years, I think what I’ve began to see, just from the different generations entering in, is there is a more of a push for that diversity,” Wallace says. She notes that the diversity sought is not only in race, ethnicity, gender, and other identities but also in neurodiversity and professional backgrounds.

“I think that we still have a long way to go. But we’re starting to see more where the realization is, hey, we need a diverse candidate pool because here in the next what, 5 to 10 years, we’re gonna have an exodus in this market.”

Wallace admits that, as a long-standing industry, insurance can take some time to catch up while technology, demographics, and other structural factors are rapidly changing the game for the entire economy.

“We have not traditionally, and we’re still currently, not always quick to jump on thinking proactively or moving forward.” Nonetheless, Wallace says she is taking an active role in creating the future she wants to see.

“And so I think the thing that I started to realize is… I’m gonna be part of this change. So let me get involved in organizations.” Her educational experience likely played a role in this outlook.

She recalls how her college business fraternity leader asked her to “Go find three people that look like you. And three people that do not look or come from where you come from and recruit them.”

Wallace took up the challenge, of course. “That was one of the most phenomenal years because I got to learn so much. So I brought that mindset into this industry,” she says.

When Wallace was studying for her master’s degree years ago, a professor encouraged the class to be “agents of social change, like go in and be a disruptor.”

Now, when she advises people on connecting with diverse prospects, she asks whether they are searching beyond their personal networks and traditional spaces. “Are you going to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities)? Are you going to different candidate pools? Are you going to rural cities and towns where maybe people have not historically gone into? Are you also talking to veterans?”

Wallace also recognizes that the work environment will be as critical to diversity success as recruiting tactics. For example, she asks, “Are our spaces friendly and inviting to those that maybe have disabilities?”

She encourages aspiring professionals to think beyond the cliche of an insurance job to see where they may fit.  “Are you good at marketing? Because these insurance companies need marketing departments. Are you handy on the Internet? Oh, well, great. There’s a place in cyber or also IT (Information Technology) infrastructure.” The goal, she says, is “just having these conversations to get different people into this space…in the industry.”

“Some of you are gonna be strategic, too, you know, to implant yourselves in areas that traditionally have not allowed you to enter.”

Wallace says she would tell her younger self that being bolder and assertive in asking for what she needs will be crucial.

“As a woman, you better be able to sell yourself and brag on yourself and not and not take a step back and just assume that’s what everyone is doing. Make the ask because you can get paid for what it is. But you have to be bold enough — whether that’s a sale, whether that’s a salary, whether that’s you need staffing in your department, or you need help. Make the ask because you are the one that is in there working it day to day.”

Exploring the DEI Toolbox: Employee Engagement

Safiya Reid took a professional journey that demonstrates career diversity. Her first job out of college was with Pfizer as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Later, she worked on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show as a production intern and at a chain dine-in restaurant while in graduate school. Eventually, after landing in insurance, “I kind of just never left,” she said.  

Reid sat down with Triple-I to discuss how her Assistant Vice President of Employee Engagement role at Pure insurance fits into the larger picture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and how this work can enable a more robust organization and industry. 

When asked why DEI should be an essential strategic objective for the insurance industry, she addresses the myth that DEI benefits a small portion of employees. 

“When you think about women, when you think about people of color, that is the majority of the organization.” 

“I look at employee engagement as kind of the health and wellness of the employee population.”   

Reid uses data and various tools, such as engagement polls, proactive strategies, and best practices, to understand how the people in her organization experience their work and the challenges they face. As she sees it, her mission is to ensure that “everyone can have the resources that they need to be successful in the organization and outside of it.” 

Ultimately, Reid aims to monitor “the pulse”, how employees (including the aforementioned majority) experience their work.  

Understanding this pulse and how strategic DEI success can shape it is mission-critical. “If not, it’s just a matter of time before it starts to affect the business–if it isn’t already,” she said. 

In the face of a growing trend of political pushback that has even led to disinvestment at some high-profile organizations and agencies, she and her colleagues remain undaunted in their DEI mission. “I think it’s important that we not go back to square one and start relitigating why DEI matters.” 

She believes it’s vital to have measurements in place to track progress. “We know the commitment that we made. We’re going to keep marching forward to the next milestone until you know it’s time to set a new milestone.” 

Reid spoke in detail about how she thinks the intense stream of events over the past five years – the COVID pandemic, protest movement for George Floyd , #Metoo, the rise of remote work, etc. – may have impacted diverse representation in the industry and across the workforce. Many people grappled with unprecedented personal challenges, such as caregiving for young children or adult family members while working remotely and simultaneously coping with mass grief as communities lost scores of loved ones. Boundaries that people relied on to preserve their emotional well-being were breached and erased in some ways. 

“We were so used to leaving everything outside, whether at the bus stop, when the train starts, or the car,” she explained. “You know, we were all at a point where the,  ‘messiness’ of our lives, we could no longer leave that at the door. 

In her observation, attempts to cope ignited more discussion and a drive to understand “the pieces of ourselves that we would leave outside.” She says, “There’s a term for this behavior called covering.” 

Specifically, people may “cover” by hiding or downplaying aspects of their identity in the workplace. These aspects are typically those associated with an impact on their chances of career survival or advancement. For example, a single mother may avoid sharing stories or photos of her children because she fears being passed over for opportunities if colleagues fear she won’t be able to balance parenting with increased professional obligations.  

Reid says her team learned about this concept from the Neuroscience Leadership Institute in 2020. However, the term was coined in 1963 by sociologist Erving Goffman. 

For employees to feel at home and be their authentic selves, there needs to be an environment that fosters inclusion. Which compels the question, What might be necessary for ensuring that employees feel welcome and supported? 

Possibly, the answer lies in forging open and honest communication. “We’ve built a place where when something is wrong, there are channels in a place where you can talk to somebody about that and get that resolved in a timely fashion,” said Reid.  

More data about the DEI landscape in an organization or industry-wide can increase the capacity to make progress. Reid agrees that data is valuable, but she said what we do with it can be more important than having it. 

“I would want to first know how we are planning on using that. There may be additional data points that we need to tell a larger story,” she said. Specifically, the outcome needs to involve “figuring out who the audience is of this data and what change or what action we want them to do because of it. And then making sure all of that is connected and aligned.” 

The challenges to move the needle on DEI can be complex, involving a multi-pronged approach and long-term investment. The ultimate goal is not only increased representation but retention. As such, there are low-hanging fruit opportunities that insurance organizations can consider to make employees feel more included in a team that values them.  

“I would say first and foremost, make sure you take care of the ones you got first,” Reid said. “If you are cultivating a toxic environment, bringing in more people, particularly folks that have less advantages and throwing them into it… that’s not helpful. Everybody’s not going to be happy.” 

Reid offers a solution for organizations that need help approaching the issue. They can use “engagement surveys to find out what the pulse is.” She recommends promoting a way for employees to voice their concerns in a manner that can be heard equitably. 

And what advice would she give her younger self when starting in the industry? “Get here a lot sooner!” 

There’s Never a Dull Moment Working in the Insurance Industry

By Loretta Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I

The insurance industry employs about 2.9 million people in the United States — more, if you include people in insurance functions who work at non-insurance companies.  But the industry is confronted by major changes as the U.S. population enters a new demographic stage — “Peak 65” — that it will have to navigate.

About 4.1 million Americans will reach 65 years old this year, according to an analysis by Jason Fichtner, executive director of the Retirement Income Institute and chief economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center. That is about 11,200 a day, compared with the 10,000 daily average from the previous decade, he says. 

This creates a unique opportunity for people at the start of their careers and mid-career employees looking for a change as many of these aging Baby Boomers retire. Insurance Careers Month is a reminder of the number of organizations recruiting and retaining insurance industry professionals.

Insurance careers span a wide range of skills and talents—from actuaries and analysts to data scientists and marketers to drone pilots and engineers.  Without insurers and the thousands of professions supporting it, businesses wouldn’t be able to build factories and offices. Concerts, sporting events, the film industry, even universities, libraries, and parks—all are made possible, in part, by the careful management of risk.

“As the backbone to economic growth and prosperity, a career in insurance provides a wealth of career opportunities,” said Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan. “ Whether just starting out in the workforce or thinking about a career change, talented individuals should explore the world of insurance and risk management. Insurance Careers Month is a great reminder that this industry is filled with potential.”

To raise awareness about insurance as a potential career path, the Triple-I continues to partner with the HBCU I.M.P.A.C.T Initiative, Inc.® (IMPACT), a campaign aimed at recruiting students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to the insurance industry. The Black Insurance Industry Collective (BIIC), a non-profit affiliated with The Institutes, is focused on accelerating the advancement of Black insurance professionals.

The Institutes also offers student programming at a variety of their events and partners with colleges and universities through a collegiate studies program that enables students to earn credits towards the CPCU designation, among other initiatives.

“The risk management and insurance landscape is evolving rapidly, with advancements in generative AI, offering students entering the workforce the chance to be at the forefront of exciting and innovative solutions,” said Peter L. Miller, CPCU, President and CEO of The Institutes.  “With new approaches and skillsets needed—in a field that prioritizes continuous learning—there are countless opportunities for career growth and development.  A career in the RMI field opens the door to a diverse network of professionals who are problem solvers, strategic thinkers, and invaluable contributors to the global economy.”

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF’s) Mentoring Alliance is another initiative that partners with companies across the insurance industry to share a wider range of experiences.

“Our IICF Mentoring Alliance pairs emerging leaders from underrepresented communities with diverse role models and allies within the Insurance Industry,” said Barbara Reilly, senior vice president, Amwins, and a member of the IICF’s IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) Council.  “We are in our second year, and we doubled our mentee/mentor participation,” she said. Mentees appreciate having a mentor from outside their own company but within our Industry, as it provides a safe space to share perspectives and receive valuable guidance.”

“Connecting our high potential nontraditional employees with relatable mentors as they move into their first managerial roles is critical,” added Elizabeth (Betsy) Myatt, vice president and chief program officer, IICF.  “It’s not enough to attract new talent.  We need to keep talent in the industry and ensure success,” she said.

As part of Insurance Careers Month, the sixth annual Emerging Leaders Conference was held between Feb. 4-6, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas.  Hosted by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), AM Best, and the Insurance Careers Movement, it gives younger industry professionals access to executive thought leadership, provides networking opportunities across job functions, and offers an agenda that focuses on professional and personal development. 

The Insurance Council of Texas Education Foundation also is promoting Insurance Careers Month through social media and member communications. Their focus is to raise awareness of career opportunities within the property and casualty industry.

“Through various strategic initiatives, the foundation encourages college students to explore careers in P&C by offering scholarships and financial support at partner universities,” said Richard Johnson, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Insurance Council of Texas.  “By fostering education and financial assistance, we strive to cultivate a diverse and skilled workforce in the insurance and develop the future leaders of the industry,” he said.

“The insurance industry is facing the most competitive labor market in decades, making retaining and developing talent a top priority,” said Marguerite Tortorello, managing director of Insurance Careers Movement, an industrywide initiative designed to raise awareness of the diverse career options that risk management and insurance offer. “Together, we can help reach broader pools of job seekers around the globe and share strong career opportunities in insurance.”

Learn More:

HBCU Impact: Bridging the Insurance Talent Gap

Church Mutual President: Getting, Keeping Talent is Number One Challenge”

Captain of Her Own Ship: Anne Marie Elder

Insurance Careers: Opportunities in Risk

This Just In: Insurance Isn’t Boring

HBCU Impact: Bridging
the Insurance Talent Gap

By Scott Holeman, Director, Media Relations,Triple-I

To amplify the Insurance Information Institute’s (Triple-I) commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, Triple-I partnered with HBCU IMPACT®, whose mission is to increase the number of Black professionals in the insurance, risk management, financial services, and legal industries. The first step in attracting new, diverse talent is to raise awareness about the sector’s viability and vast opportunities for rewarding careers.

A logical place to engage new talent is on college campuses, where many students are still making up their minds about what kind of careers they should pursue. HBCU IMPACT® not only develops and mentors students through a variety of programs and initiatives, but it has also created the HBCU IMPACT® Incubator. This innovative initiative helps students gain insurance credentials and licenses before they graduate, giving them a head start in their search for jobs.

Symira Goodwin attended Bethune-Cookman University and now works at American Express.

Roschinael Pierre Lewis attended Florida Memorial University and is currently interning for the National Basketball Association.

Symira and Roschinael are both HBCU IMPACT® success stories.  Each of them received insurance adjuster’s licenses while still in college.

Church Mutual President: Getting, Keeping Talent Is “Number One Challenge”

Of all the challenges facing property casualty insurers today – from growing catastrophe losses to social inflation – Church Mutual president Alan Ogilvie sees the “war for talent” as one of the most pressing.

“For us, the old adage is very true. Our best assets walk in the door in the morning, at the end of the day they leave, and you just hope and pray they come back,” Ogilvie said in a recent Executive Exchange conversation with Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan.

Ogilvie called talent acquisition and retention “our number one challenge.”

“We like to think we bring something a little bit unique to our employees, and that’s a sense of mission,” he said.

He pointed to Church Mutual’s status as 126-year-old mutual company – the largest writer of insurance for religious institutions, which has expanded to include coverage for health, educational, and nonprofit organizations – and said, “It’s pretty easy to get up in the morning when you’re protecting organizations that you know are doing tremendous things in our communities.”  

Ogilvie is committed to busting the myth that insurance is a boring business. Among the features of insurance he emphasizes to people early in their careers is the focus on technology and addressing the challenges of climate risk. Catastrophe management – viewed through the lens of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics – has become a cutting-edge discipline. 

This, combined with the fact that many insurance professionals are expected to be retiring over the next decade, “creates an incredible amount of opportunity,” Ogilvie said.

Captain of Her Own Ship: Anne Marie Elder

By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I 

In celebration of International Day for Women in Maritime – observed every May 18 – Triple-I interviews women who have made a difference in the maritime field.  Last year, the Triple-I focused on Isabelle Therrien, SVP-Canada, Falvey Cargo Underwriting.

For as long as Anne Marie Elder could remember, she loved the sea. Being the niece of a Merchant Marine officer, she heard her uncle’s stories about the Merchant Marine’s role in World War II. She imagined what it felt like to stand on deck and watch the sun reflect on the water’s surface, breathe in the salty air, and listen to the ocean waves.  When she was in sixth grade, her Aunt Margaret told her about the first class with women graduating from the US Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA or Kings Point) and encouraged her to consider USMMA as an option for college.

Kings Point Midshipman Anne Marie Elder

It was the only college Elder applied to. She entered in 1984, in a class of about 211 men and 28 women. When she graduated, there were only 16 women – a 43 percent dropout rate.   

As part of her education, she was required to serve two six-month terms as a midshipman aboard commercial U.S. Merchant ships. A 20-year-old woman aboard a Merchant ship with 25 men was not always well received.  Within the first few hours on board one ship, the ship’s captain bluntly informed her that women did not belong at sea and that he did not want her on his ship.

“I was given specific orders to leave the bridge any time the captain was there,” she recalls.  “I also wasn’t allowed to eat in the mess hall at the same time he ate his meals. This went on the entire time I worked aboard that ship.”

“The captain’s reaction was so ludicrous and unprofessional,” she said, “I decided to take the high road and refused to let him rob me of a great learning and life experience.”

Elder noted that the first month aboard ship could be challenging.  “Some men gave me a hard time, but once they realized I was there to work and learn, they became more like brothers, looking out for me, making sure I was safe and watched over on the ship and when at a port.”  For the first six months, Elder was the only woman aboard the ship.

“I went there to get an education, and nothing would dissuade me,” she said.  “I was very serious, on the straight and narrow.”

By the age of 21, she had seen more of the world than anyone she knew.

“They were some of the greatest times of my life,” she said.

And that ship’s captain?  He gave her one of the best evaluations she got during her year at sea.

“He didn’t want me on his ship, but he clearly respected the job that I did.”

Swallowing the Anchor

Elder thought that she would spend a few years at sea, but there weren’t many sailing jobs at the time of her graduation. She thought about going to law school.  But she had a wonderful mentor and teacher at Kings Point: Rich Roenbeck, who was also a former Kings Pointer who taught her about marine insurance. 

“He was so good, such a great teacher, and it was pretty interesting, so I decided to swallow the anchor – give up the sea life – and try marine insurance,” she said.

Elder’s Aunt was again encouraging.  “A teacher in NYC and also a nurse at the VA hospital, she was an inspiration to me,” Elder said.  “She was the number one reason I went to Kings Point and got ahead.  When I started work, she took me out and bought me an entire wardrobe, so I’d look and feel confident when going to my new job.”

Her first job was with Continental Insurance/MOAC, which hired six marine trainees in their New York office – five men and Elder — where she started writing hull and cargo insurance. She also became very involved with the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU).

Anne Marie Elder, Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Marine at AXA XL

“AIMU is a hugely important part of marine insurance,” she said.  “They are a wonderful organization that has been around 125 years this year! They provide education in our industry and are involved with issues that are important to our industry.” 

She’s also involved with the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) and has focused on how data digitization could change marine underwriting

Elder lives by King Point’s motto she learned years ago – Acta Non Verba! – Deeds, Not Words!  Today, as a result of her deeds, she is Global Chief Underwriting Officer, Marine at AXA XL, a division of AXA, where her job is to develop the strategy and manage the portfolio of the company’s $1.1 billion book of marine business, one of the largest marine insurers in the world. 

One of her greatest concerns is the talent gap the industry faces.  Not just in the United States, but the rest of the world as well.

“Companies need to be more creative about bringing people into this industry,” she said.  “They need to think differently, to assess the skillset, not necessarily the knowledge of insurance, but the overall skillset. Companies should compensate them appropriately for those skills and develop them quickly as underwriters.”

What brings Elder the greatest joy is developing people. 

“You must be the captain of your own ship,” she said.  “You can take that ship anywhere you want, but you must have a plan and develop the skills you need to know where you’re going. If you’re not going in the direction of your dreams, you need to change the course of your ship.”   

She noted that women can sometimes be less vocal about their aspirations.

“Women think that if they work hard, they will be given a fair salary and chances to advance, but that’s not necessarily the case. Women need to work hard and develop the skills for advancement, but they also need to make sure that their managers know their short- and long-term career aspirations,” she said.

“I spent three years in London in marine treaty reinsurance and would never have had that opportunity if I hadn’t spoken up.  It put me on people’s radar,” she explained. “You must be positioned and ready for the opportunities.  You have to network and vocalize what you want.  It also takes a good sponsor which is different from a mentor. A mentor guides and helps you strategize, but a sponsor promotes you to other people to help you advance in your career.  You need both. I had someone early on who was looking out for me.  It was a man.  There were few women leaders when I started,” she said.  “There still aren’t a lot of women in senior positions in marine insurance, but men are doing a better job of recognizing women’s assets.” 

Elder noted that women and men can have very different leadership styles. 

“We don’t always think the same way or manage the same way,” she said. “Having that diversity of thought makes a stronger company.  Studies have shown that more diverse companies have higher profits.”

“It’s a great time for women to be in this industry because of all the opportunities out there,” she said.  “I tell women, ‘Take the helm and be that leader.’  I tell them, ‘Full speed ahead, ladies, full speed ahead!’ ”

Nurturing Tomorrow’s Risk & Insurance Leaders

By Loretta L. Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I

Forget the stereotype of the boring door-to-door life insurance salesperson – aka Ned Ryerson from the movie Groundhog Day.  Insurance is not just about sales – it is a purpose-driven industry with countless opportunities to make a positive impact on individuals, businesses, and communities.

The insurance industry employs more than 2.8 million people spanning an incredible range of skills and talents, from art historians to actuaries; data scientists to drone pilots; marketers to M&A specialists; and, of course, from underwriters to claims professionals.

February’s annual celebration of Insurance Careers Month offers a reminder of the industry’s opportunities.

First organized in 2016, Insurance Careers Month seeks to inspire young people to choose insurance as a career, share what makes the industry a great one to work in, and collaborate to recruit, nurture, and retain emerging leaders.

“Insurance is the backbone of the global economy, providing security, recovery, and sustainability,” said Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan. “Whether just starting out in the workforce or thinking about a career enhancement, there are a wealth of opportunities across a broad spectrum of pursuits.”  

To raise awareness about insurance as a career path, Triple-I continues to partner with the HBCU I.M.P.A.C.T Initiative, Inc.® (IMPACT), a campaign aimed at recruiting students at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to the insurance industry. 

Lack of exposure to the insurance industry and to professional networks are the top barriers for Black professionals, according to a study conducted by Marsh. That’s why the Black Insurance Industry Collective (BIIC), a nonprofit organization affiliated with The Institutes, is focused on accelerating the advancement of African-American insurance professionals. The goal of BIIC is to empower these professionals to expand their leadership development opportunities by emphasizing mentorship and sponsorship while collaborating with like-minded organizations.  

“We contributed to the formation of the BIIC as part of our overall Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative,” said Peter L. Miller, CPCU, president and chief executive officer of The Institutes. “We look forward to working with the BIIC Leadership Council as they cultivate and preserve a culture of inclusion for all who work in and are served by the risk-management and insurance community.”

The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) has a Talent HubTM, an online resource center created to help job seekers learn about opportunities in the insurance industry and for the insurance carriers, reinsurers, brokers, and agents to reach a new and diverse talent pool. 

“As the Baby Boomers near retirement, the insurance industry will need to fill a generation’s worth of jobs,” said IICF CEO Bill Ross.  “The goal of the IICF Talent HubTM is to introduce a new audience of non-traditional job seekers to the industry and the rewarding jobs and careers that are available.”

Talent development and the future of work will also be two key topics at the IICF Inclusion in Insurance Global Conference, June 13-15, 2023, in New York City.

Other organizations – like RIMS, the Spencer Educational Foundation and Gamma Iota Sigma – promote and advance risk-management and insurance education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

In conjunction with Insurance Careers Month, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association’s (APCIA) 5th annual Emerging Leaders Conference, to be held February 5-7 in Charleston, S.C., will give younger industry professionals access to executive thought leadership, networking opportunities across job functions, and an agenda focused on professional and personal development. 

“The insurance industry is facing the most competitive labor market in decades, making retaining and developing talent a top priority,” said Marguerite Tortorello, managing director, Insurance Careers Movement, an industry initiative designed to raise awareness of the diverse career options risk management and insurance offer. “The Insurance Careers Movement is designed to bring together and recognize exceptional rising stars in our industry; an industry we are most proud to be a part of.”

As the next generation of professionals embark on their careers, they will find it’s an exciting time to join the insurance industry – an industry that embraces people who can drive change, innovate, and solve problems.  They will find that with a career in insurance they can contribute meaningful work, making a difference in the world every single day

Women in Maritime and Marine Insurance

By Loretta Worters, Vice President, Media Relations, Triple-I 

When Isabelle Therrien started in the marine insurance industry 25 years ago, it was almost exclusively a male-dominated industry. 

Isabelle Therrien
SVP-Canada, Falvey Cargo Underwriting

“The progress we’ve made is a testament to the women that have been part of this industry and that have empowered other women to get into this business and created opportunities for them,” said Therrien — now senior vice president – Canada at Falvey Cargo Underwriting. Therrien has held various senior marine underwriting positions in Montreal, Toronto, and New York. In addition to Falvey, she spent more than 10 years with Chubb. 

“There are jobs in the maritime industry, whether it’s the maritime industry at large or marine insurance,” said Therrien, who is also chair of the International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) cargo committee.  “We look for people that have studied business or logistics, or who have been at sea and now want to have a job outside of being at sea, people who have an interest in global trade.”

With nearly half of the current workforce being eligible for retirement in the next 10 years, there’s never been a better time for women to enter the maritime industry and change the demographic.

“I did not know when I started that I would last this long in marine insurance,” said Therrien, “but if you tried to take it away from me right now, I’d say absolutely not. I love it and I really think it’s a great opportunity for people to learn more about globalization, insurance and how we support global trade.” 

Honoring Women in Maritime

In December 2021, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming the first-ever International Day for Women in Maritime, to be observed annually on May 18. 

The observance will celebrate women in the industry and is intended to promote the recruitment, retention, and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector; raise the profile of women in maritime; strengthen IMO’s commitment to the UN sustainable development of gender equality; and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.

History of Women in Maritime Industry

Women in the maritime industry have a rich history that’s rarely given the recognition it deserves, according to the Maritime Institute of Technology (MITAGS). Women have been making a name for themselves on the water for hundreds of years – such as when emergencies called them to wartime duty, to support their families, to find a better life, or even just to find adventure and new surroundings.

Turning the tide

While women still only comprise two percent of the 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, it’s no longer virtually impossible for them to enter the industry. The most significant barriers that hinder women from entering non-traditional industries and apprenticeships include:

  • Lack of awareness: Perhaps the biggest reason there aren’t more women in the maritime sector is simply a lack of knowledge that it’s an available career path. If women don’t have family members already in the industry or know of someone who works at sea, it could easily be an option that passes under the radar. Many people also don’t even consider the maritime industry because it doesn’t result from the traditional four-year college route.
  • Traditional gender roles: The lasting stigma that the maritime industry is for men only likely continues to deter women from joining the field.

Gender inequities in maritime and marine insurance mirror those of the overall insurance industry.  While over 60 percent of the insurance workforce (1.6 million) are women, leadership is where inequity exists, according to an ACORD 2018 study. Women occupy only 19 percent of board seats, 11 percent of named inside officer positions, and 12 percent of top officer positions. Only 8 percent of insurers have formal programs to develop strong careers for women. Further, women in insurance still earn less than men – 62 cents on the dollar. This is even worse than the pay gap in 1951.

There has also been a large discrepancy in promotions. In the maritime industry, most women leave or change jobs because they are kept at a level for so long, which is not the case with their male counterparts having the same qualifications and experience.

About 90 percent of the world’s products are carried by sea. It is one of the largest international industries, with a vast need for technical, legal, and administrative talent. With the maritime industry growing and the number of capable candidates not keeping up, marine companies are turning to underrepresented worker categories, especially women.

There are career opportunities covering the design and building of ships, maritime environment/resources management and protection, training, marine insurance, maritime law, ports and harbor management, and administration and managing of internal water resources.

Falvey Insurance Group and the American Institute of Marine Underwriters (AIMU) have partnered for the International Day for Women In Maritime to host a panel discussion amongst women in the maritime industry.

“We are very honored to be a part of this important partnership,” said John Miklus, president of the AIMU, a not-for-profit trade association representing and promoting the interests of the U.S. ocean marine insurance industry and serving as an educator and resource center for the marine insurance community.  “These women are role models for our industry and are extremely accomplished.”

Captain Alexandra Hagerty

The event is part of Falvey’s larger speaker series to highlight professional women — “Women at the Helm” – and will include a panel discussion with Captain Alexandra Hagerty, Ship Captain, Executive Leader, Master on Hospital Ship Africa Mercy; Meredith Neizer, Chief Logistics Officer at ARMADA; Tiina Ruhlandt, President & CEO at EIMC; and Karen L. Griswold, SVP Ocean Marine, Property & Specialty at Chubb.

Triple-I, HBCU IMPACT Partner to Recruit African-American Talent

Triple-I and HBCU IMPACT have joined forces in a career-building campaign aimed at recruiting students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to the insurance industry.

The acronym, IMPACT, stands for “Insurance Mentoring Program Advance Career Track”. The organization’s co-founders say they are aggressively sharing the “good news” of insurance career opportunities with students from all disciplines. 

“The war for talent in our industry is indeed real, but it is also an extremely exciting time of corporate transformation and technological advancement,” said Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan.  Even before the “Great Resignation,” the insurance industry faced a talent gap. Much of the workforce is reaching retirement age, and the median age of insurance company employees is higher than in other financial sectors.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of 2019, African-Americans made up only 12.4 percent of the insurance industry’s employees.  A study conducted by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) in 2018 found that only 2 percent of established agencies had at least one African-American principal.

“We are going around like evangelists, letting the next generation of black talent know that insurance is a place where you can build a career, learn skills that are transferable, and you can make a lot of money,” said Rebekah Ratliff, mediator/arbitrator, founder of CCM Consulting Associates, LLC and HBCU IMPACT co-founder.

“Ultimately, we want to achieve an increased representation of black talent in the industry – not just at the entry level, but we are also looking to groom our next black executives,” said Ngozi Nnaji, founder of Ako Insurance Consulting, LLC and Ako Brokerage Services, LLC and an HBCU IMPACT co-founder. “HBCU IMPACT is proud to join forces with Triple-I to spread the word.”

The campaign kicks off Black History Month – which also is Insurance Careers Month – with the launch of HBCU IMPACT’s new website and Triple-I’s release of a video series titled “Insuring Success.”

Triple-I isn’t alone among organizations seeking to increase diversity and inclusion in insurance.

Zurich North America in January launched its Zurich Fellow Scholarship to help “diverse talent” pursue advanced degrees in insurance fields, Jessica Aguilar, head of talent acquisition for Zurich, told Business Insurance. The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and its members helped launch the Insurance Careers Movement (ICM) in 2015 to focus on workforce development and diversity as key industry priorities. More than 1,000 insurers, agents and brokers, trade associations, regulators, media organizations, and others are currently working together as part of Insurance Careers Month, according to ICM managing director Marguerite Tortorello.

#Insurancecareersmonth #ICM2022 #blackhistorymonth #insuringsuccess

Insurance Careers: Opportunity in Risk

February is “Insurance Careers Month” – a great time to remind the world that insurance isn’t boring!

“If you’re looking for tech, if you are looking to be a part of innovation, the insurance industry is definitely something people should consider,” Marguerite Tortorello, managing director of the Insurance Careers Movement (ICM), says in this brief video. ICM is a grass-roots initiative consisting of more than 1,000 organizations inspiring people to choose insurance as a career; identifying, developing, and retaining leaders; and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.

Long before today’s technology, insurance was the original “big data” industry. High-speed computing, telecommunications, and sophisticated modeling and analytics have only increased our ability to gather, organize, and analyze data to help mitigate and share risk and empower families, businesses, and communities to bounce back from calamity.

In addition, the pandemic has taught us that a globally interconnected economy is fraught with vulnerabilities and inequities that need to be addressed as the world navigates the “new normal.” Insurance touches all of these challenges and opportunities.

“There are so many exciting things happening,” Tortorello says, from automobile telematics and cybersecurity to disaster preparation and response, in roles from underwriting, claims, and loss control to customer service, marketing, and more. 

Throughout February, ICM’s members will be – even more than usual – sharing stories and insights and showcasing opportunities, using the hashtags #insurancecareersmonth and #ICM2022. Whether you’re a recent graduate, a veteran, someone looking to change careers, or a retiree interested in bringing your talents back into the game, insurance offers tremendous potential to do interesting work and have an impact.

#workininsurance #insuranceisntboring