Emerging technology platforms, an aging workforce and a turbulent regulatory environment in the employee benefits field can either be perceived as problems or opportunities. Considering I sold everything that I had to start my own practice, I opt for the latter.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “An aging population and changes in federal regulation may increase demand for agents who sell health and long-term care insurance.” It has been widely talked about that nearly 25% of the overall insurance industry’s workforce will be older than 55 years of age by 2018, and while that still leaves a considerable amount of time to grow one’s business and work longer; a human capital gap will follow shortly thereafter if insurance organizations do not effectively capture the knowledge of these professionals and begin to aggressively hire younger generations and implement some succession planning. Other statistics report 50% turnover of the workforce in the next 10-15 years. Therefore, there is much to consider regarding what we need to do to capture the intellectual property, relationships, best practices and more of those expected to retire and/or leave the field.

If we let these aforementioned opportunities fall by the wayside, we will find ourselves in a position where servicing our clients becomes more challenging. Losing business to new technology-savvy entrants will increase in conjunction with increased expectations from our clients.

Of course such developments will result in loss of revenue, but what’s more important is the future of our industry as a whole. We have a responsibility to our clients and other important stakeholders to continue getting the word out on how we can best service our clients in this new landscape and attract new talent, proactively.

Don’t get run over

I have made a personal commitment to spread the gospel on the wonderful characteristics of insurance, such as meaningful consulting with clients who need our help, incredible growth potential and multi-industry exposure locally, nationally and globally. The latest attractions to this complex and dynamic industry, driven by a new competitive landscape and regulation, are other evolving areas, such as technology and actuarial science. Much of these changes force insurance organizations to deliver a more sophisticated level of consulting and service to simply keep their clients, let alone grow their businesses. 

The insurance industry is going to be losing its aging workforce, technology is penetrating the market at a rapid rate — forcing us to reinvent our methods and/or add layers to our existing models — and clients are expecting a more consultative approach with real, measurable solutions. Long gone are the days of simply offering an insurance plan design, coordinating open enrollment and working with your service team to manage it; it’s now a deep-dive into the real business needs of the organization and how those needs drive the risk tolerance, budgets and strategic decisions that organizations are faced with. They need our advisement in a very real way, and more damage can be done if that advice is not executed correctly.

The industry is ripe for new talent; the wizards before us have a plethora of knowledge to impart, and the newest member (technology) has arrived guns-a-blazing, so if you are looking for a place to build a meaningful career, or you simply want to preserve the one you have — take note. After all; you could be on the right track, but you are going to get run over if you just sit there.

Hanner is principal founder at BRIDGEMARK Insurance Group in Scottsdale, Ariz. Reach him at (602) 300-4189, linkedin.com/in/mikehanner, or mhanner@bridgemarkinsurance.com.

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