2-29-2024 Webinar Transcript

…Hello everyone. Welcome. Happy Leap Day, February 29th. One one of our goals will be to do this particular webinar four years from now and see. You know how how are we tracking?
Welcome to this webinar I am your moderator Nick Lamparelli…The title of this is Attracting and Retaining Knowledge and Talent…In The insurance Industry. You may have noticed in the promotion for this That we did biographies, in introductions for a lot of the folks So, rather than spending five or ten minutes going through a traditional set of introductions i’m going to introduce the panel. We can go to the bio slide…
So first…we we have a star studded cast here we have Tony Cotto, who’s who’s with representing NAMIC, which for any of you that may not know NAMIC is the National Association…of Mutual Insurance Companies…have thousands of members who are mutual insurers throughout the United States and, Tony’s doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to lobbying and making sure that, the mutuals have a fighting chance to compete. We have Jeff Rice who’s one of those mutuals. He’s president and CEO of Wayne Cooperative Insurance Company in Upstate New York. And has quite a bit to say about what it is that we’re doing and he is actually, a use case for for one of our demographics that we’ll be talking about. we have the person that has to me the most gorgeous Italian name, Marguerite Tortorello. just used to be with the AIPCA and now as executive director of Insurance Careers Movement so very fitting to have Marguerite…on this. I’m gonna skip over the next guy I wanna save him for last. Joseph DeSouza, who’s the founder and CEO of ProNavigator…which is a knowledge management insurtech…Originally based in Canada and Joe is Joe has made his way south. So the the cold weather was just a little bit too much for him and I’m grateful that he’s joined us. And last but not least, magician, the the partly the greatest insurance magician that is walking the face of the earth which is Tony Cañas…If the screen looks like it’s gonna is set on fire It’s not actually It’s part of the magic trick that Tony is going to execute on So no need no need to worry. can we I I apologize Can we go back one slide and go through the objectives before I jump in and start talking to everyone. So…the the the the title of this is attracting and retaining knowledge and insurance talents in in the insurance industry. And we’re gonna start off by going into some statistics but There’s some significant challenges…and I would almost classify these as existential, meaning…we could see…a large amount of what we deem as really critical, small and midsize insurance organizations…facing a moment of truth because of…the…our our struggles with attracting and retaining…talent in the insurance work in the insurance industry. So…the it’s already difficult enough to attract…we’re gonna go into some statistics that’s gonna show that we’re actually having a struggle with us shrinking talent pool This is not just a problem in insurance which makes problem and insurance even doubly more difficult. we’re we’re gonna spend most of our time talking about strategies for attracting and retaining young talent And we got just the right panel to be able to discuss to discuss that. And, interestingly enough with a lot of the talent retiring and leaving the workforce, we give another additional strategy session or to discuss around how do we retain that wisdom that knowledge that intuition, and not just let it walk out the door How do we retain it and move it to the younger generation that has decided to join us. So we’ll go to agenda item one please…The shrinking talent pool and its impact. next slide please…Okay. So in our preparation for this we you know we have been blogging in promoting, this particular webinar around one particular fact which is there…we’re at, you know retirements from Peak 65 means that they’re gonna be starting around now There are millions…of folks who are going to retire in the next few years and a lot of those folks are gonna come from the insurance industry…We also learned in our preparation for this that there’s a there’s a double edged sword that’s associated with this which is since the financial crisis college enrollment has dramatically dropped off. And for most positions that are in the insurance sphere, college degree is usually required. So not only have we struggled to retain…or or attract folks, to the insurance industry, the pool…that exists, from which we want to attract from is getting smaller and smaller Which makes it even more difficult. So I’m gonna throw this out Marguerite I would like to start with you with since you were with insurance careers movement So this is like, you know, probably the thing that you think about absolutely every single day…initial thoughts around, clearly you started a movement in an organization to try to attract young talent When you see statistics like this, how does what does that do What is how does that make you feel? So when I look at it I think about how there’s even more statistics we could add on. We could add on the threats from parents questioning the cost of college. Students questioning the cost of college college.. it worth the investment of these insane prices that are happening? We have additional pressures from looking at what’s happening in the economy people are trying to decide what is a proper career path, you see pressures from other sectors shedding jobs companies being more lean, really looking at are they adding more positions positions.. There’s so much from these two glaring statistics and then you add in other layers in so there’s this immense pressure on the insurance industry to really think about how are we gonna be creative in really building out that talent pipeline and really looking at how do we start earlier how do we start in grade school or not start excuse me how do we enhance our work in grade schools and in high schools right now And I know we’ll get into the solutions in a minute but it is very very high priority for the industry and executives across the country are focusing on the talent pipeline And then Joseph I’ll turn it to you because I know you were talking about the retirement peak and how that’s gonna happen But from the early ages it’s really scary to think about what’s happening with the numbers and the financial threats So Joseph what do you think on the other end of retirements? Yeah So we come from I guess a different perspective. We’re Insurtechs…I’m seven years young into the industry so I have a lot to learn. but when I started ProNavigator seven years ago attracting, fostering fostering,, young talent it was a hot topic whether it was a brokerage we work with with, an agency agency agency,, or carrier, And 7 years later it’s still a hot topic but now it feels like it’s here here…. And from what I’ve read in a couple of different reports…we’re gonna have a talent deficit our industry of probably 400,000 positions in the US and Canada alone. and this year 2024 has been labeled as Peak 65 and what Peak 65 is for those who don’t know is about 4.1 million Americans will turn 65 this year. And that’s more than 11,000 each day and that level will just continue all the way till 2027. So you know when you think about how much of our work force is gonna be aging out of our industry. But you know multiple industries but specifically insurance the knowledge and talents gap that could leave. it’s really gonna get exasperated. and I know the institutes have done a lot of work and research on it and some of what we’re seeing. Some of the biggest needs will be middle and senior management positions. I think the next one was commercial roles. And then closely follow behind was actuarial professionals brokers…sales producers and broker support staff that were very very close behind So it really feels like it’s it’s…it’s kind of here today this year and we’ll continue to go through through 27…I’m not I’m not sure if Yahoo Finance is listening to me on my phone, but I I got a notification message this morning Joseph to this point, that…the Federal Reserve, is actually estimating that the retirement is actually accelerating, that their models that they were using to predict…the number of folks who are beginning to retire and what that’s going to look like was off. So it’s actually some of these numbers might actually be understated…And you know the financial crisis had a lot to do with what happened and you know COVID as well. Tony Cotto Right…I’m interested to hear since you get to see or get to see and speak to a wide cross section of insurance companies thousands of them who are part of NAMIC. what are you what are you hearing around…these particular statistics Are they aware…Do they realize what is happening…around that What what are you hearing? Thank you Nick Yes Absolutely…You know what what you…as you mentioned the dynamic we have about 1500 member companies…all across the country. We’re proud to represent the smallest insurance companies in the country and the largest. So we do hear a big cross section and I will tell you uniformly what we are starting to hear that conversation that Joseph was talking about from a few years ago and how it’s here. We are not facing a talent gap. In this industry, we are facing a talent cliff! Okay This is what and and we are up against a universe in which there’s all these other opportunities and people think it’s not cool to be in insurance. And a lot of what our members are thinking about is not just succession planning for your top leadership but how do you get the talent coming in at the ground level. Like, and we’ll talk more about solutions but how can you actually…explain to someone that insurance isn’t just being an insurance agent? There’s so many other things that you can do. And those are conversations that in all fairness probably should have happened seven years ago when Joe was talking about. but they are happening at a faster pace which is good and we are…in addition to having the conversations no no Jeff will talk about some of the sort of use case experience, but it’s not just getting into the schools like Marguerite talking about. It’s also…finding ways to show…Hey you know once you have once you’re in the door and I imagine Tony will speak to this once you’re in the door there’s a lot of things that our company does that you may not know about. Right And you know the cross training opportunities and…all our members are worried about the future. But I think they’re starting to find ways to deal with it if they can get the bodies in the door…Joseph talk talk about about the the roles, right commercial lines, leadership roles…we have a ton of of young professionals in in in our industry who fell into it by accident, who…now have five seven eight years of maybe ten years of experience, but who have grown up in an insurance industry post two thousand and nine…where…that the expense cutting of the post 2009 era I read the training programs didn’t come back. Basically we have lots of people that are stuck in call centers…doing personal lines claims doing personal lines customer service, doing basically telemarketing, and they’ve gained insurance experience. But they don’t even have an idea of the roles that exist in the rest of the industry I have no idea how to get there And the carriers seem lost on even realizing they have a talent there It was part of the reason we created Insurance Nerds originally was to to give them a road map but but we’re this big right compared to a two million people in the industry. Yeah. Jeff Rice, you’re you’re gonna be speaking on this topic last but not least. Jeff you’re actually part of the problem…Yes I am It’s it’s not your fault. You’re you’re you’re…we have discussed this You are set to retire and 2025 You’ve been discussing the system succession but this hits your company, like particularly hard Like you as far as use cases go you are…like on the on the podium around both sides of this attracting and you’re also leaving as well You’ve had a you’ve had a nice career as well Talk about it from the standpoint of an individual firm…your unique yours of smallish mutual in a very rural area in upstate New York Talk about the What those statistics mean to you and what you have seen over the last few years as well? And is the is the previous speakers I spoke about how did we get in the insurance industry I’m one of the baby boomers at the end of the generation Right 62/ 5 working up there getting getting out I backed into this industry myself So I was in the banking industry So next thing you know boom I’m in the in the insurance industry, through no fault of my own, and loved it. what we’re we’re seeing right now is we’re we’re I hate to say we’re lucky because we are so small. Because we all wear many hats within our within our particular company. Therefore, any employee coming into the wing cooperative or…actually sees the whole operation. Can’t actually see their impact in that operation, whether it be claims underwriting investments I mean For the most part they can see what their impact on the next employee over is, which is a huge benefit for us. And from an internship standpoint, we’ve developed the internships that allowed a a college student even to the high school level. We’ve had high school level people come in just to see the whole organization because it’s all under one roof You can see everything. Yeah. Yeah I I I think I think by the time we get done Jack you’re gonna be so excited about this conversation. You may postpone your retirement That’s you know fingers crossed. the the the IT guy says maybe you might might want you to. But just say keep having the fun but not necessarily responsibility how’s that Yeah. Fine Fine Well we are fun And and that’s something that we will we will communicate. So, you know we I didn’t wanna spend too much time…you know, getting stuck on the dire consequences and this is existential. It’s cliff Okay So let’s We we all agree this is problematic. Let’s spend most of our time talking about recruiting and retaining intel. Joe I wanna start with you. Because…as we discussed before, you’re essentially an outsider coming in You’re a technologist…and an entrepreneur. Coming in and getting a quote you know you got up many years now getting acquainted with to the insurance space, but…the rest of us are have been in this and I almost feel as though we need outside eyeballs…to kinda tell us the stereotype like you’re coming into our space as a technologist and entrepreneur. What were your initial…stereotypes or intuition about what you were going to bump into. So what I found really interesting and even to Jeff story and from what we’re hearing from customers is that a lot of insurance organizations today are are valuing…soft skills over job specific knowledge and technical skills and I find that so interesting for a couple of reasons I think one this wave of AI and automation and concerns of how it’s gonna impact our industry soft skills are gonna always be needed you know empathy, communication, adaptability, some of the things that attracted me to this industry, and I feel like some of those soft skills are often more challenging to teach than the than the technical hard skills You know a great company can teach the hard skills of the industry but it’s harder to teach some of those some of those skills. And so, you know that starts to open up other industries where we can recruit talent from right? I mean Jeff mentioned banking. Folks with no insurance backgrounds we’re seeing our customers train them and bring them into roles. Receptionists, teachers, folks who are comfortable in roles that require problem solving and interpersonal communication. So I think that that continuing to kind of double down on like you don’t necessarily…need to come in with all this knowledge of how to underwrite and how to you know place risk And if you have those soft skills those hard skills can be taught. And that’s a way I think for us to be able to kind of attract more people. but one of the things that I think attracted me to the industry I mean you I remember like on an airplane you’re landing and you just see like this entire city below And like everything as far as you can see, is insured, or rather maybe probably should be insured. Which really just a so much opportunity right I immigrated to Canada. As an immigrant immigrant,, there’s so much opportunity…for you to come into an industry like this and learn and some of the best people you’re ever gonna meet I I’ve loved it I’ve enjoyed every every moment of it and I just think it’s a it’s a phenomenal industry with so many career options and opportunities…for for new folks…Marguerite can you add on to that a little bit bit? Can you talk about…you hinted about you know the, the push to go younger. Right Like it it’s it especially given that statistics about the small the shrinking talent or the shrinking college graduate pool that we might have to leapfrog college Right. And go into situations i know Tony Cotto and Jeff Rice could probably speak to some initiatives on the mutual side, but can you for from insurance careers movement…if if we try to do that, most young folks are not exposed to insurance until they buy a car and they and that that might be the first opportunity. And my ex I I had just now try I have a niece that’s entering…the space now And I had a conversation with her about Hey you’re making a good choice here and they told her about the potential career opportunities. And she’s coming into the space and she’s like I had no idea. You know? How how have you been or what have you seen What what are what are we gonna do to what are we gonna need to do to engage…high school students…when they are completely unfamiliar with the topic Do we need to bring twenty khanas to every high school show and do a magic trick to get them interested. Well I definitely think we should bring Tony to every high school to do a magic trick or create a huge video series with him so we can beam it into every high school He’s fantastic but I think that’s one of Tony’s superpowers He’s so great at storytelling and what I think is exciting is you’re seeing the industry really leaning into storytelling and leveraging technology so insurance careers month we’re so excited for this bonus leap day. But throughout the month the companies across the across the country as well as around the world have been doing a phenomenal job telling stories of insurance careers and really drilling down this year So you’re seeing companies talk about what are career paths? What training programs programs?? What are benefits and comps comps comps??? their wellness initiatives initiatives initiatives initiatives???? is their hybrid remote in person look like like like?? like like? they’re? doing it not to through like a static image They’re telling really compelling videos. They’re doing great blog posts and that content isn’t just on LinkedIn It’s on TikTok It’s on Instagram. It’s on so many different platforms that they’re really trying to very intentionally target young people and tell a very visual engaging story. So that’s happening across the nation in a very massive way And it’s not just insurance companies It’s the trade associations it’s the insurance departments which is fantastic the insurtech the media So it’s exciting to see that collective effort. And then what’s also really exciting is You have organizations like invest They just announced this month They are partnering with Deca. So all of those programs where they are going into high schools They’re working with DECA organizations that are already established on insurance activities so again how you increase that REIT It’s a very concrete way You also have the National Alliance for Insurance and Education…They have great high school programs where you can receive a micro credential it’s a great way to help young people see that you can get a credential while you’re in high school to jump start your career And then you also have stations like Zurich and Aon that have amazing apprenticeship programs. They’re recognizing that that college path we cannot place such a strong emphasis on it We need to build other talent pipelines with different job seekers So what they’re doing in the apprenticeship space is fantastic. And then how they’re trying to collaborate and help other organizations be a part of it It’s really exciting So so many different touch points but what’s to me the most exciting so many organizations and entities are working together It’s really fantastic…Jeff Rice…you brought up that you have you have brought high school students into Wayne co op. can you can you discuss what did that what did that look like? And I I think it probably is important as well Jeff to discuss like, were there…speed bumps or was there friction? What was what was their…take from that How many of those folks ended up becoming like long term wing co op employees? I went from director from high school. we’ve had at least they had an internship program at the high school level. out of that we probably had five or six high school kids come in Of those six high school kids, two of the the kids decided that they didn’t really wanna go to college. And we picked him up and hired them for their positions. One of them now is essentially a junior underwriter, without a college education To be honest with you. they have the soft skills and to to Joe’s point. we I look at soft skills. Is I can train some of the other stuff but you just can’t train some of the soft skills. And from this industry take a look at it and the problem with the high schools of today are too stem related So you’ve lost a lot of the other education, alternatives that other kids have and had in the past last Yeah And as and as far as internships go, I’ve turned on…five college interns of the five college interns I think four of them went into the insurance industry In some capacity whether it was an agent whether it was an underwriter, or whether it was work care you know from that standpoint. but again it it’s a soft skills…It’s knowing that that we need English majors history majors…Yes and and and and that’s the type of thing that people don’t really understand…It there and we have said this before Tony Cañas have said this many times Like, there is a home for you regardless of your, your skill sets There’s a home Right When I think of English majors I think of writers, copywriting, marketing, sales. Right Like policy forms…documentation, Like it it goes on and on and you would think there’s not a fit there, but there is a fit And and it’s really important to know the five or six that you’re talking about for Wayne Coop that’s not a small number. Right Like Wayne Coop is a is a smallish mutual in a rural area Five or six is, you know a double digit percentage of your total workforce It is not insignificant that you were able to do that Tony Cotto…you…we in in our preparatory discussion for this you were you were telling me how…some namek companies have it as almost a procedural…formal process to go to the high schools…to to start this process exactly as Jeff has described Can you give us a little more color and context to that Sure And and I also you know when when we talk about stories and and how things have have evolved and we talk about you know the great benefits of being in an insurance company part of the message that a lot of our mutuals are are taking out into the community is…This is an opportunity for a career to do good in your community. We’re sponsoring the little league teams We’re sponsoring and…the same way I like to talk about small and big, an insurance career is an opportunity to be there on the best day of someone’s life When they open a new store and they have an insurance policy on it. And on the worst day of their life when the storm rolls through, both times the person that they’ve turned to is their insurer. And hopefully, that kind of relationship…you know where you’re working with the community I’ll I’ll give another example that we recently engaged on some traffic safety initiatives. And we were hearing about one of our member companies that sponsored…a…child seat installation…day with the local fire department…outside of outside a church where The insurer paid for lunch for everyone, and then the cops were there checking to make sure that your safety your child safety seat was installed correctly. After the preacher, blessed all the child seats. That’s the kind of community building that an insurance career can offer you that honestly like, Most jobs are just jobs. And if we can successfully paint the insurance…career path, as something where you are a community pillar, that’s gonna have a lot more appeal And I know Tony can speak to this some too in the research that he’s done Like, what millennials and gen z and gen x are like how how people care about things differently they wanna make an impact in their community. And…we’re finding more and more that our members are able to recruit better when they pitch in that part rather than hey come work for an insurance company and make a bunch of money. Great. That’s a great point. Not every mutual is in a rural area Right So it…But those that are can I think can really push that lever…around you’re doing good for the community? By participating here. Along with a lot of like the other cool stuff like you can become an underwriter and do stuff like that Tony Cañas, you’re you’re essentially the…professor of this You’re you are an author so many years ago you wrote a book called Insurance Tomorrow with your cofounder insurance and there’s Carly Burnham, about this particular topic. What is it that we’re saying here? Is anything we’re saying here? Does it disagree with your research in your book And what what else can you add based basically because…you’ve you’ve really studied the younger generation especially those that are digitally native. Right And you have you have a particular sense for like what they’re looking for? I I definitely don’t disagree with anything…millennials, mission. I mean be able to pair student loans maybe by a house someday, but but mission And and we have that The mission driven generation and we have a wonderful mission Every insurance organization has a wonderful mission We’re really bad at communicating that all the way to the entry level and all the way to the pre hire stage. GenZ, a little more complicated. their generation seeking…stability. it they’ve grown up in in a time of of utter chaos basically. it And but in insurance we we also have that Right We we have right hundreds and something else companies that been around for a long time, and lots of tales to be wrangled…For…post book, what I what I’ve seen a lot with the the ChatWithtony.com conversations which I do about four hundred a year, lots of complaints about, getting put in the wrong role for for for their…personality type for for what they’re good at, and then feeling like a failure and not being helped in finding a better role within the company. And number two we are super. It it’s getting your every insurance job search is painful, especially your first one. Right How do we make it so so that it doesn’t take hundreds of obligations and the six interviews have the same company for an entry level job? we have to be easier to get into And once they’re here, then then we we we have to make it clear to to them that hey this is a wonderful career. Let’s stop pretending…that that…the job that you started at it’s gonna be the job you’re gonna be at forever or even the company you started at. And let’s take a more holistic approach and and be like hey give me a couple of years in the claims call center. You will learn a lot, which will make you more valuable and then we’ll we’ll support you whether you wanna grow within clients or whether you wanna go to underwriting whether you wanna go to a different area of the company instead of just letting them drop off Right Basically. Yeah it it feels like like at the bigger carriers especially each department each hiring manager, is is worried about its it’s own little function and not really thinking about the bigger company or the bigger industry, we need to get better of that of that coordination between departments getting people into the right seat at the beginning and helping them grow into the right seat over time We don’t do that well at all Yeah Yeah. I want I wanna throw out a value proposition to all of you here And and anyone I want you all to add to this. My…my feelings about this is that, predominantly what Jeff said I don’t think there are any specific that I think there are more roles that do not necessarily require a college degree than require a college degree. But could we make this more interesting…by…recruiting…high school students? And training them not only for the position in in insurance, but could we tie a college degree…to their job employment…is is…with with the bundling of that create a value proposition, for insurance that could be very attractive…Anyone. Nick. Nick I’ll I’ll just note you know part of the challenge also is the…paucity of risk management progress…It’s nice to say oh you know come work here while you get your risk management degree or while you get your insurance specialty but there aren’t that many of them, at the same time, now in a Zoom era with online education mhmm. Yeah I was just having a conversation recently with a student in California who was enrolled at the Eastern Kentucky University risk management program right here in in in Kentucky I love it so I think that be that’s becoming more possible. But…it it’s tough to implement…And I I think you’re I’m sorry Okay Go ahead Marguerite Please I was gonna say I think you’re seeing companies put a lot of thought and intention around, like the whole cost of education like travelers has a pay it forward program where they’re trying to help address student debt and then also help people save for retirement Like they’re looking at it basically through your career span some really interesting things happening there I think the work of the Spencer Foundation and what their work on scholarships i know NAMIC you guys have great scholarships too. Like how people are looking at providing plenty And then also I should say LAIA has scholarships NAIA has scholarships Like I think in the really since the pandemic a much heightened focus on scholarships for the industry, providing interns Spencer provides internship, paying companies to bring in an intern So I think companies are really trying to be creative and how they provide financial support in a variety of ways I think it is though I agree Like it’s challenging…to try and find different solutions and implement as well But there are And I know Jerry created what’s happening. Joe’s about to jump in but I just wanna tag on the you know Marguerite mentions The NAMIC Foundation, and we’ve awarded about $600,000 over the last five years. but those are going to…kids who have already chosen…a risk management program because we wanna help them further develop and then come into an NAMIC member company. I think the conversation we’re having today is a little bit different It’s more of a do you even get them to consider…risk management Like it’s easy to target the ones that are already there…And and how do you also another thing that we haven’t really talked about is second careers. Right Like I I I know I talk to a lot of our member companies And if you talk to like their fraud units for instance, like they’re not recruiting high school kids they’re recruiting former cops Right Because former cops have a nose for insurance fraud. So that’s part of the the mix we need to be thinking about too And I’ll be quite and I or Joe’s been chopping up a bit to dump in here No It’s just gonna, was thinking about Jeff’s story about investing in people and also the perception How do we change the perception in the industry And I think one of them is really investing in our people I mean that’s something I’m hearing a thread through here both in what they need to do their jobs but I think also in what are the technology and tools they need to be successful. And you know sports has a great analogy for this And Nick this was something that you had brought up in a conversation we had You know the professional sports business you know they’re in a business their goal is to make money Well how do they make money They draw large audiences…and they do that by having talented and entertaining teams that win games. And so rock star athletes are talented that can win games but it doesn’t really stop there Right Because if it did why would they why would you fly a team when they could just a bus right or why wear cleats when you can wear tennis sneakers out on the field And so thinking just through what are the resources and technology that we need in our organizations to really provide our employees what they need to be successful to be able to move within departments. And if you’re trying to attract high school students and you’ve got legacy systems and they’re walking into an environment with Lotus Notes…it takes two hours a day to find the information they need to be successful and do their jobs. Well I think I think we’re gonna have challenges in trying to recruit and retain some of this rock star talent that we absolutely need that that that is such a I mean that’s a segue to, item number three But That’s huge Like that’s…we’re we’re we’re talking about putting a lot of effort and resource in making it attractive. Right. And jeez they get here and it’s like I’m gonna use old cosby show analogies like putting filet mignon on a garbage can lid. Like look at this look at the sizzle of this thing No one’s gonna wanna eat that afterwards And then you just it’s so spot on…I have personal stories but their story after story after story that Tony Cañas and I have both heard in the hundreds of episodes we’ve done on the podcast about folks who have come in to organizations who are just literally not prepared for them or the role that was sold is not the role that they’re actually working in Like it’s it’s a oh it was almost like a stretch goal for that particular role And so that I think as an industry we have to be accountable…For that it’s you know we we can’t talk a good game about hey this is an awesome industry…and then they come in It’s flamingon on a garbage lit Like that’s That’s nobueno. They’re you know they have lots of lots of options. Jeff I I before we go we and we’re gonna go into this one part and and I’m gonna ask one additional question and then another question to you because you are you are the person that’s gonna be leaving Right So you have already gone through the succession plan and discussed this But…my experience Jeff, in insurance has been some of the best insurance professionals. were not originally insurance So you have all have hinted at this engineers, engineers who found a dead end in their career and were able to resurrect their passion for engineering…in the insurance space. I spent quite a bit of my career doing catastrophe modeling and I remember…being at some of these firms and the best modellers…were folks who came from computer science They were failed actuaries they were actuaries who were just like I don’t want to do the math exams anymore and they went into catastrophe models They were economists…They had economic degrees and economics…and went over and were able to build marvelous…careers used in the catastrophe space, Jeff…you’ve run an insurance company for a long time…What has what has been your experience about folks who like were able to sort of either resurrect a career or they were going down one path and ended up in insurance and kinda stayed with it it it it filled their cup so to speak…Exactly…in in when I came in most of the people that I know are affiliated with came in the same way we did We backed into it, from that standpoint. it it in you take a look at it and that’s kind of a a melting pot melting pot essentially of people that actually work as a team that it it’s far and away. A great operation a great way to come into this into this business. And really what happens is a lot of times you look to find the talent or look to find that I’m the individual strengths and play to it. And that in and of itself will get you a long long one Yeah And that’s kind of what we’ve done I’ve tried to take a look at the strengths of the individuals coming in and play to those strengths They may not be what we have currently available, but I can envision it and see it And hey listen Give me three years You’re gonna like this. And that’s where like here Nick you said we had one in in internship here And she says listen I’m gonna go and become an actuary. I I said listen you’re getting two years into what want you to come back be another intern, and see where you’re at She calls me up and says listen Jeff Is there any way that I can get away with just a data statistical analysis degree. I said you’ll be farther ahead. She graduated out of our IT and come back to me and said You wouldn’t believe it She says I’ve got more opportunities here and cut off all of the headaches of an actuarial exams and still enjoying my my job…It’s a mar it’s a marvelous story So I I wanna be respectful of the time that we have left and hopefully leave some time for Q and A So Jeff I’m coming right back to you. twenty twenty five, you’ll there’s a deck chair with your name on it maybe near me here in Florida. we’ll do some golfingers and stuff like that. but this is a real problem as well So we’re talking about attracting people in but again back to the original statistics there’s a whole bunch of people leaving, right And I’ve gotten really close with Joe who’s an author an insurance nurse talking about this topic I was having a discussion with my sister-in-law about this topic, and she was like I had no idea. Not an insurance but she’s like I had no idea this is a problem. It’s, man it’s one thing to have the talent in there but there’s a lot of institutional knowledge…that exists in the space and we just can’t allow that to walk out the door For one thing it’s an asset. That’s walking out the door For another thing it’s like…we were trying to attract younger folks to to Tony’s point men you get someone stuck in a particular position where they’re looking for something They they don’t know how something works. And the person that knows how it works just retired and never shared that information, Jeff you you’ve been involved in a session plan Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve learned? Right I would be very interested to know like, what you learned that you didn’t know like stuff that was in your head and the intuition…on how to run your business…that you’ve now had to kind of pull out so you can hand the baton off to your successor in a in a successful way. talk about your succession plan and how you guys have kind of structured this thing? as far as the session plan you can’t start early enough. I tell you that And we probably started just in the nick of time. Essentially, as it as it turns out, because Nick you hit hit nail on the head You really don’t know what all of the innate knowledge that has built up over a thirty to forty year career Yeah You just it it it’s it’s unfathomable, to be honest with you. One of the things that we I’ve been a strong proponent of is the leadership team and the leadership team meet meet regularly. and we go over the issues, corporate wide, corporate goals corporate whatever so that each department then can they can see everyone else’s department to see the ins and the outs and so forth like that That that for the most part you gotta get people involved You gotta get the younger people involved. For years, NAMIC has been in September. actually I gave the the leadership role to run the board meeting in September always to my second command. So he’s done that for the last six years…so it’s these kind of opportunities that you kinda kinda lay off of. In in that from a board perspective, that is even a greater issue because now the board members are saying oh jeez I don’t wanna make a decision Answer session planning Jeff you make it Whoa Whoa Wait No. You know but ultimately I’m I I said no I wasn’t Now I’m kind of more involved with it He says hey listen here Here’s my recommendation here’s why and and so forth like to have. Yeah. Joe Joe D’Souza you, have built a technology company to hopefully solve this particular problem Can you get again as an outsider…Right You you chose to come into insurance This is not knowledge management institutional knowledge management is not just an insurance problem This is every industry has this problem with those kinds of retirement statistics. why have why choose insurance What are what are you seeing with your, with your your eyes around this. Yeah Thanks Nick it’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time and because in our knowledge management platform, we have analytics to see what are the types of questions staff are searching for and questions they’re asking and looking for answers. And what we saw through the analytics is that a high percentage sometimes as high as 30% of answers that staff were looking for weren’t captured in any documents. You know we spent all the time to capture and document that information but as high as thirty percent wasn’t there So what happens You’re putting the customer on hold you’re pinging a manager or subject matter expert or trying to get back to the customer And I think this is definitely compounded in a remote and distributed work environment where you can’t just turn to a colleague and ask them a question. So I’ll maybe I’ll I’ll share two nontechnical ways then I’ll maybe share a bit of the technology side I think one is like you can’t substitute…in person, being being fully remote You can’t do that that time in the office face to face is the best way to learn It’s just like there’s no other way around it So certainly would encourage folks to do that I know it’s it’s easier said than done but at any time that you know we spent together as a company as a distributed company, know humans have survived as a species because of our abilities connect and that’s who we are We exchange ideas We learn So I would say that’s one Two I would say try to keep your more tenured experience staff I know we joked on the call earlier Jeff that you might wanna stick around for longer. But is there ways to structure your organization where you can keep that talents, you know we’re flexible a couple of days a week being a resource for your team because that institutional DNA is is is irreplaceable. but kind of speaking to the technology side I would say kind of two things One, there’s a lot of tools out there to allow you to create documentation to to communicate asynchronously. And it’s really a culture shift You have to cultivate a culture of whether it’s a video recording or screen recording or an audio recording you know in in in software companies it’s a very common practice to do pair programming where you have two people sit next to each other and watch each other. Code and talk and you’re doing it at the same time. Well today you know you could be a really good programmer and you could just record and narrate what you’re thinking and while you’re doing it and share your screen. The other person can watch it at two and a half x and they can pause it and they can rewind it and they can take notes and you don’t have to do this live And that piece of content…is something that’s part of your organization forever into the future for anyone else who who, can benefit from it It really really scales infinitely. And then through our platform we’re also doing things like this where we can start to use AI to capture the questions where there is no answer…and even draft what we think the answer is based on it being trained on your company’s knowledge, but then always have a subject matter expert and a human in the loop to review and improve and edit before that goes back into the knowledge vault so that you can really ensure it’s accurate it’s trusted and verified So I think a lot of these tools that didn’t exist when we started and and certainly just in the last few years to be able to capture that institutional knowledge to not only make your employees jobs easier and drive efficiencies but really give you an edge on competition because that knowledge is a superpower It’s how you differentiate It’s that institutional memory and institutional DNA that’s been forged through all of the all the experiences you had So really making an effort to working reserve that I think is is absolutely invaluable. And and you brought up a good point I’m gonna go to a question It must be weekday must be Italian Day as well One of my favorite people Joanne Artesani, asked the question for and Joe you brought up face to face We didn’t even talk about remote…Okay So let’s let I think that’s huge from a career perspective Tony Cañas talks about this. Quite a bit remote hybrid organizations. Joanne’s question was for remote only employers eager to hire young talent. To grow them here. What are some of the key office…environmental components we need to have to support their career development? So I’ll throw it to Marguerite Tony Tony any anyone that would like to take a swing at this or you can all take a swing. I’ll go first Nick because I actually work as part of a remote team despite having our headquarters in Indianapolis with about a hundred staff, my team because we are lobbying all over the country we are all remote. And one of the things that we look forward to every year is that once a year we all come to headquarters…for the same two days. we get some face to face time. We knock out you know you can check-in with HR check-in with, you know the the marketing team get new business cards Once a year our whole team is face to face and those two days are so valuable. you know we try and meet other times of the year if we’re both crossing over in the same city or the same conference, but you gotta have your whole team together at least a couple of times a week…Tony Cañas…That’s this is like, topic You talk about all the time. What when Joseph was was talk was talking I I don’t disagree that that there are benefits to to to to in person. There are benefits to in person when it when it comes to training when it comes to team building, when it comes to strategic work…the problem is is how often we make people come into the office in the traditional carrier space to do their day job or even worse we make them come into the office to sit in a sit in a two meeting…don’t do that Right That’s that’s so much worse So much worse. I I’m I’m a big fan of the way my my former employer Jacobson did it with me Basically they brought me in for the first two weeks for intensive in bur intensive in burking training and then they said come back once a month. For a day for a week for however long you want, when it whenever it works best for you, I think that works really well The problem with that today and that was pre COVID The problem with that today is there’s nobody in the office. Right So I I think that that maybe bring the whole team once a quarter kind of kind of think I kinda like like twenty one saying, yes there are benefits between person…For things like learning something new not to do the the day job And and, GenZ wants that in person touch, but…not every day And and and the the the the more that that let’s say for example, coming twice a week not too bad unless you’re in a really big city The problem is then the area that you can recurve from got a lot smaller. Right You can recruit nationally if you’re only bringing them in one of the quarters So that’s a huge benefit especially for more specialized role…Margaret did you I have a feeling you have a you have a strong opinion on this. So I think to me what’s exciting is the intentionality you’re seeing across the industry and so on topics like this as well So when we I said I very much echo what everyone said about being having a purpose when you’re going into the office make sure you’re not just sitting there for Zoom But it’s also thinking about those remote employees what experiences are you creating so they can feel linked even they may not be in the office Like you don’t physically have to go into the office Could you do some walking meetings with people Could you do some virtual coffees How are you setting up activity with organizations like NAMIC NAMIC NAMIC, NAMIC APCIA,, APCIA, RISE APCIA, APCIA,,, RISE Spencer,,,,. Like how Spencer,. are you,. creating events that you would have had in person? You don’t have to put all that pressure on the physical structure It’s the tensionality of creating it in a variety of settings So I think there’s some really exciting options and it’s not a one size one way It’s really flexible…And if the employees know you’re thinking about them trying to create an experience whether it’s in person virtual combo, That’s where I think they’re gonna feel that engagement And then Nick if I could I wanna go back to can I jump back to Joseph when he was talking about the knowledge transfer per minute Would that be okay…Joseph I love what you were talking about with the retirements and the knowledge transfer and capturing information. And I think we’re in an exciting place post COVID…it was so fast and so rapid fire and the insurance industry really did a fantastic job of moving very quickly…to a very dynamic intense situation And I feel the talent cliff that we’re at with all these retirements coming. We know it and so this is an underneath for companies like right now to have conversations with organizations like pro navigators and see how are we really capturing that knowledge and what is our plan Like we talk about succession planning a lot like the people, but really having more intentional conversations on that knowledge is so important. And I’m from my experience I think there’s a lot of conversations at like executive level succession planning. there are some companies like our auto club group that are doing a great job with succession planning for managers like more in the middle of the organization, but I think there’s so much more work that needs to be done and this whole knowledge transfer is really just we really need to focus on that And and if we can use technology to really enhance that experience I think that would really be fantastic So I just wanted to call that out more that I think there’s a huge gap. The retirements are gonna happen really fast…We know about it We know we can move fast act fast from COVID, but we need to pro you have that similar focus and pres you know pressure and then innovation in this space So just wanted to add that in Thank you No That’s awesome. We we have exactly two minutes left. And as you get there’s there is a Q and A button Right So for folks that wanna ask questions by by all means, we do have a question from Roger who asked Do you think the traditional insurance companies will ever change their hiring processes…Oops. Sorry. Hiring processes to speed them up as well as get more competitive in salary. Pay equity is a real thing It needs to change a bit…Tony Kanias, that you’re you deal with this like every single day and you’re recruiting…I we we need to make peace with with the fact that that four experienced roles we’re dealing with the national markets. And there are winners in there and there are losers in that the the companies in high cost of living places benefit from from being able to hire people in Iowa etcetera. In companies and and and people in very high cost living places have a disadvantage there. I…I I think that that we need to to…to look at at salaries more often than than we have been. and the the the more that we haven’t fixed this this problem the more that this will be a challenge It’s by filling a remote first world. Also I I love the the not only pay pay equity, but also pay transparency. At least internally…right, which is too often lacking…And you have to be really careful with pay compression. Basically with a with a hot spot market, if it when when you’re bringing in new people to the company would love to experience at higher pay than your existing people with local experience. Right The number one predictor of people being underpaid compared to the market is how long they’ve been with the company. especially if if they started early in their career, it and it used to be they would stay out of loyalty and they would stay out of geography. That’s just not the case anymore. And and believe me even though everybody’s going to an RTO fight nobody’s gonna win it. especially for experienced talent Experience talent will continue to be able to be able to work remotely because they’re in that high demand. so you will lose them if you’re not paying them to market. Yeah we are at the end but I I I’d like to ask Jeff Rice one additional question to just to piggyback on what Tony just said which is Jeff you’re the only one in this panel who…has a salary obligation…for insurance…professionals…like underwriters and actuarial and stuff like that What from what Tony just said can you add how did Wayne co op handle that? we go through sale serially analysis pretty much on a regular basis you know top to bottom from that standpoint. it it’s problematic in the smaller you are the worse it is To be out of truthfully honest with you And sometimes you have to work on employees empathize and so forth like that when I come into this industry, they told you’re never gonna get rich, but you’ll always have a job, and you’ll always like what you do. So for the most part it it just kinda how how you tailor it and even better yet make sure you give a great benefits package. That in and of itself. People will sacrifice a little bit on pay as long as you can give them a great benefits package which is what I’ve been lucky enough to do with crafting with that board of directors. Okay. awesome way to end this particular webinar so Thank you so much to all of you who have attended and our panelist, Jeff Rice, Tony C one Tony C two, Marguerite such a beautiful name, and Joe D’Souza. Thank you Thank you guys so much for participating…fan fantastic insights. On this problem I have a feeling we will be discussing this again. So for everyone that attended thank you…until next time I’m Nick Lamparelli.