While banking and investment banking jobs are, generally speaking, much more lucrative and, some might say, more glamorous than those in the insurance sector, insurance has its own appeal. When widespread layoffs in banking and investment banking left many reeling, the hits to the insurance sector weren’t quite so deep. For many, it’s an easy trade off to take long-term job security versus a less secure and more lucrative position, especially in today’s economic climate.
Increases to Staffing
Fortunately, hiring in the insurance space is beginning to pick up. According to the Semi-Annual Insurance Labor Market Study conducted by the Jacobson Group and the Ward Group, 50 percent of the insurers polled plan to increase staff during the next 12 months, with hiring mostly due to increased business volume. The study found that technology, underwriting and claim roles were set to be the most in demand in 2012. Companies are on the search for actuarial, executive and technology professionals as well, but insurers are having a difficult time filling these posts.
Northwestern Mutual is in the process of large-scale hiring across the country. The Milwaukee-based insurer is beginning its largest recruiting effort in its history, with Northwestern Mutual planning to add more than 2,000 financial representatives and 3,000 financial representative interns. Much of the hiring appears to be for financial representatives and interns in South Florida and Chicago. The company is reporting that it expects more than 50 percent of the new financial representatives will be “career changers”—people who’ve reached a career ceiling or who may be looking for a better opportunity.
The current ramp up in operations and staff follows a big hiring effort in 2011. In May, eFinancialCareers reported that Northwestern Mutual was planning to hire 2,000 financial representatives and 2,500 interns.
Bloomington, Illinois-based State Farm is also in the midst of a large hiring initiative, according to the Chicago Tribune. The news report notes the addition of 3,000 people across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to 900 agents. State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson is quoted as saying the openings would be primarily in customer service, claims and IT.