Let’s be honest, the Boomer generation is predominantly retired, and Gen X is not too far behind. Millenials are well represented in the insurance industry, but the Freshmen are Gen Z. As a proud and dedicated Gen X’er, I can assert my authority on this matter. Throughout my career, I have worked alongside baby boomers, particularly during my formative years as a claims adjuster. As a generation, we Gen X’ers have become well-acquainted with the thought processes and motivations of the baby boomers. We have also been fortunate to experience various modern technologies that have consistently evolved and transformed our professional landscape.
With the arrival of the millennial generation, significant changes took place. Their career choices often focused on finding meaningful work that could contribute to large-scale cultural change and improve the world. They sought to make a positive impact through their work.
And now, we are faced with the dawn of another new generation, bringing with them new goals, desires, and skills. Many believe that Gen Z professionals hold the most potential for our future, given their technical expertise and fresh perspectives on technology and societal issues.
Considering the demographics of management in the insurance workplace, it is highly likely that some Boomers still occupy positions, but to a larger extent, it is Gen X and Millennials. Both groups need to prepare for the entry of Gen Z into the professional workforce, not just as employees but also as future managers.
Undeniably, there are stark differences between these generational groups. Therefore, it is essential to educate the previous generations on the best practices for recruiting talent in the coming decade and beyond. This preparation will ensure a smooth transition and effective integration of Gen Z into the professional workplace.
Understanding Gen Z Needs and Expectations
Insurance companies can no longer rely on old hiring approaches to be effective in today’s evolving environment. Gen Z individuals have different behaviors, motivations, and expectations; insurance companies must meet their needs.
One key aspect is that Gen Z is a fiercely independent group that values autonomy and seeks a healthy work-life balance. This independence is closely tied to their familiarity with technology, which may surpass the understanding of prior generations. Insurance companies must recognize that Gen Z is considered to have born into this modern world as a digital native. They grew up with digital devices and received academic instruction through digital means. Writing in cursive may not be a skill they possess; instead, they are adept at using email, text messaging, Skype, Instagram, and TikTok. The insurance industry must be well-prepared for these digital natives.
Building Long-Term Connections Between Gen Z and Colleges and Universities
In the past, insurance companies sent representatives to career fairs with booths filled with brochures and merchandise like keychains, sweatshirts, and tumblers adorned with college logos. They would distribute applications for students to fill out and fax or mail to the registrar’s office.
However, this model has evolved in today’s landscape. There are now more opportunities to engage with students through college curriculums in diverse ways. For instance, a business curriculum with insurance coverage can invite industry representatives to share real-life experiences with students during physical visits.
With many courses now being offered online, visits can be made virtually, and valuable information about the insurance industry and specific companies can be incorporated into the curriculum. This approach would educate students about several types of insurance companies and provides exposure to your specific insurance company and its future vision.
By actively participating in college curriculums, insurance companies can establish a solid foundation of industry knowledge and familiarity with their organization among students. This proactive approach fosters long-term connections and creates opportunities for mutual growth and development.
Broadening the Talent Pool and Gen Z
Discussions and debates in online forums often revolve around the necessity of a degree to pursue a career as an insurance adjuster. As our email list of aspiring claims adjusters grows, one of the most frequent questions we receive is, “Why do I need a degree?”
Society and media have undergone significant changes, with abundant information now readily accessible online. Some individuals navigate this digital landscape adeptly, while others may struggle. However, one thing is certain: Gen Z individuals are experts in utilizing digital resources. They can find information faster than previous generations, such as Boomers, Gen X, or Millennials. It is important to note that this proficiency does not necessarily make them inherently smarter. Still, it does reflect their upbringing in a world where digital culture is as commonplace as running water was for me during my childhood in the 1970s.
It is high time for insurance carriers to reassess the requirements surrounding a college degree. With advancements in personal assessments and personality tests, it has become significantly easier to evaluate whether an individual possesses the qualities to excel as a claims adjuster based on their personality profile. Moreover, candidates can be provided with a simple form, quiz, or interactive activity that provides insights into the role of a claims adjuster. Unsuitable candidates will self-identify, and the career mismatch will become evident to the candidate automatically.
By re-evaluating the emphasis on a college degree, insurance carriers can broaden their talent pool and identify individuals with the necessary aptitude and skills for claims adjustment. This shift in approach promotes inclusivity and allows for the discovery of capable candidates who may have previously been overlooked.
Highlighting the Impact and Purpose of the Insurance Industry to Gen Z
I have often emphasized insurance as a noble profession that brings societal value. However, insurance companies have not adequately portrayed this aspect thus far. Reflecting on this matter, I recognize the need for insurance companies to describe and highlight this attribute better. Without the insurance mechanism, the economy would be at significant risk of failure. A prime example of this is the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, losses resulting from COVID-19 are typically not covered by insurance policies. Consequently, the economy suffered immensely.
The insurance industry must seize this opportunity to demonstrate to Gen Z how the pandemic impacted the economy and why insurance companies could not respond to the losses due to the principles of uninsurable risks. Moreover, when covered, the industry should highlight how major catastrophes rely on insurance to restore the economy to its former state. By focusing on these aspects, we can convey to Gen Z the essential role insurance plays in making the economy whole again after such crises. Millennials and Gen Z need to understand that their work in the insurance industry contributes to changing and improving the world—a meaningful impact that aligns with their aspirations.
Embracing Technological Advancements
To describe Gen Z as merely tech-savvy would be an understatement. On the other hand, the insurance industry has been perceived as relying on outdated technologies and systems to carry out its work. Some of the larger players in the industry have recognized the importance of embracing modern technology and are harnessing its full potential. For carriers outside the top twenty, it would be wise to look to these leading companies and take note of the strides they are making in technological advancements.
Efficiency is a shared goal between insurance companies and Gen Z. Both parties understand the significance of streamlining operations and maximizing productivity. Gen Z, more adept at leveraging technology, is uniquely positioned to drive this efficiency forward. It is crucial for insurance companies, led by boomers and Gen X, to recognize the value of Gen Z’s expertise in technological advancements and actively involve them in shaping the industry’s future.
Hire Gen Z Now!
Recruiting the next generation of insurance professionals will take careful thought and preparation. More importantly, ensuring that the mechanism remains effective and efficient for the years to come is necessary. That is pointed out in the last section of this post that society depends on insurance, and insurance depends on a workforce that is excited about working in the insurance industry. Insurance companies need to understand the needs of Gen Z, interact with, and connect with educational institutions, broaden the talent pool and reconsider whether college degrees are necessary, and understand and emphasize the insurance industry’s impact and purpose on society. Finally, they need to embrace technology as it has never done before. By doing so, the insurance industry can secure a talented workforce that will drive innovation, navigate the changing insurance landscape, and ensure a prosperous future for the industry.
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