This article originally appeared on InsNerds.com
The average age of an insurance professional in the US is around 60 years old. Different estimates place the giant wave of retirements coming our way at around 50% by 2020. The US Department of Labor estimates that between retirements and growth we’ll need to hire 400,000 people in the next decade. That’s a lot of people we will need to replace!
Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) programs at colleges and universities have become more popular over the last few years, but they still only exist at less than 100 out of the 3,000+ institutions in the US. RMI programs produce amazing graduates but they only feed 15% of our hiring needs each year! So 85% of our new hires come without any sort of insurance background or education. Then, each company has to take the full expense of training these new insurance pros who know nothing about insurance, and retention is lower because those people are coming in without having been committed to a career in insurance; they might still be testing the waters.
At the same time, college has gotten more and more expensive, and total student loan debt stands at around $1.3 Trillion dollars! That debt is very scary to potential college students, and many are choosing to forego going to college to avoid going into debt. This is bad for their future employment, but it’s also a waste for us; we could use their talents if we just played our cards the right away.
This is where today’s crazy idea comes in at. We should come together as an industry and ally ourselves with an online education provider such as Coursera. Coursera offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) from world class university in video format, with intra-video quizzing, group projects, automated grading of multiple choice tests and student peer grading of papers. You can take almost any Coursera class for free, or you can pay a small fee to get a certificate proving you passed the class. They even have really cool technology to verify you’re doing your classwork yourself instead of paying someone else to take tests for you.
Currently, there is not a single insurance and risk management class on Coursera. The only classes that come up in a search have to do with health insurance exchanges or with product and portfolio financial risks.
We should come together as an industry and [tweet_dis excerpt=”Let’s sponsor a free #RMI #Insurance program #MOOC on sponsor a free (or almost free) Risk Management and Insurance Program on Coursera, available to ANY student that is interested. We would work with the school to make sure the curriculum teaches them the things employers in the industry need them to know, and we could even split it into an “Associate” type program meant to train CSRs for agencies and a more in-depth “Bachelor” type program meant to train future underwriters, agents, claims and other industry professionals.
This could be a cost effective way to make big strides towards solving our talent crisis, and it would help us improve our image overall.