KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Investing in the development and resources to grow an internship program will be the key to stronger talent acquisition, better in-house training, ongoing client satisfaction and significant growth.

A survey from the Hartford — a U.S. investment and insurance company — showed that just 4% of millennials were interested in insurance as a career. It is up to insurance leaders to cultivate an insurance practice that is attractive and lucrative to young professionals.

During the National Association of Health Underwriters’ Annual Convention in Kansas City, Mo., panelists Megan Chiarello, NAHU Vanguard Chair and president of Grassetto Creative, and Mark Fox, vice president of Collateral Benefits Group in Birmingham, Ala., spoke to members about how to create and sustain an internship program that could generate greater interest in the employee benefits industry.

[Image: Bloomberg]
[Image: Bloomberg]

“If we invest in mentorship and internship programs, it will increase the member levels in our firms, perpetuate new talent and new innovation,” Chiarello says. “It will also offer additional benefits for agency growth and contribute to overall success in the industry.”

Less than 5% of millennials say they are familiar with the insurance industry, according to another study cited by the panel that was conducted by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation & The Institutes. Among those who say they are “somewhat interested” in working in this sector, 37% are interested in investigating insurance claims, more than twice as many as any of the other options presented.

“The industry is going to retain students by talking about some of the really insightful things that we do as an industry rather than focusing on selling insurance,” Chiarello says.

Despite the low initial interest among millennials, 82% of those in the industry would recommend a career in insurance to their friends, as more than a third were recruited by friends in this field.

Once in the industry, 67% of millennials have remained in insurance for three years or longer and plan to stay for as long as possible. At least 86% of millennial insurance professionals are somewhat or very optimistic that the industry will be able to attract future workers.

“This is really telling because once you get someone into the insurance space, they love it and understand that it is a viable career path,” Chiarello says. “This is why we need more internships to switch the perceptions on the industry.”

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