Insurance Recruitment Market Update – April 2020

April 21

The Covid-19 crisis has already left its mark on just about every industry – though Insurance is one that hasn’t prompted quite as much concern. “Everybody needs insurance” is a phrase that rings true in relation to the jobs market for Insurance. While this attitude is not incorrect, like other any financial services entity, there are still challenges as well as opportunities for any Insurance firm hiring for the remainder of the year.

Are candidates still looking for jobs?

Yes, but within reason. Naturally, no one wants to put themselves in a vulnerable position. As a recruiter, the majority of candidates I am speaking to who are currently employed, are very aware of the economic uncertainty at the moment. While they may be happy (or not necessarily unhappy) in their current company, keeping an ear to the ground for opportunities “just in case” seems to be the game-plan that many candidates are going with.

Not exclusive to the Insurance industry, but the increase of Irish people returning home from abroad, has included fresh job seekers with experience and/or qualifications in Insurance. As well as this, there has unfortunately already been some lay-offs and redundancies adding further new talent to the active candidate pool – again, many of these with highly relevant experience and qualifications, and who may not have previously been looking for work.

Are companies still hiring?

Yes, but within reason. There’s a couple of factors to look at (especially if you’re a candidate wondering why your application hasn’t been responded to yet). From speaking to both those working and hiring within the Insurance space, the common theme is that:

  • The majority of Insurance professionals at the moment are kept busier than ever. For example, consider the additional claims, add-on policies required, additional reinsurance needs that Covid-19 would have brought
  • Work from home was not the industry norm – A lot of additional time and resources have been required to make the lock-down work

“Business critical” is a term that’s being used a lot – roles that are of absolute importance will need to be hired regardless. While that attitude hasn’t necessarily changed, priorities have to adjust. The fact that recruitment processes are now moving slower, or maybe stopped completely, should not necessarily be viewed as a cause for concern once the customers are still there.

Advice to companies hiring

If you have determined a vacancy to be “business critical”, make recruitment one of your priorities. If you have come across a candidate that fits, or very closely fits, what you are looking for – don’t waste time and speak to them.

Any hiring manager, fellow recruiter or even jobseeker will be able to attest to the specialised and siloed nature of working in Insurance. If you have the time and/or resources available to train someone in, think about going down that route as opposed to waiting around for a unicorn candidate.

Graduate recruitment in particular is at an interesting time as college students of certain courses are graduating with a clear path into Insurance. This includes University of Limerick (UL) with their BBS degree in Risk Management and Insurance, where students graduate with four of six exemptions towards the CIP qualification, and an eight month work placement (which many opt to stay within the Insurance industry) under their belt. There is also I.T. Sligo’s Insurance Apprenticeship programme which gives students three years of work experience, their full CIP qualification as well as their Bachelor’s degree.

Remote interviewing, hiring and on-boarding is not the ideal scenario. However there are candidates available at the moment who may not have been available otherwise. View it as an opportunity.

Advice to candidates job searching

If you are unaccustomed to changing jobs within Insurance, understand that it is difficult to move into an area where you might not have specific experience in. While this might sound obvious, a lot of employers will be upfront about needing someone who can hit the ground running – especially now that most Insurance firms are in a busy spell.

Should you find yourself out of work, take some time to look into upskilling. Many Insurance jobs, particularly market-facing jobs, require qualification. Many employers look for qualification even when it is not essential because it shows that the candidate has a genuine interest in their field, and understands at a deeper level the industry. This will make it easier to “cross sell” yourself into areas of Insurance where you may not have direct experience in.

CIP (Certified Insurance Practitioner) is the industry-recognised qualification within General Insurance. QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor) is the industry-recognised qualification within the Life & Pensions industry, as well as Banking. Don’t become disheartened by processes moving slowly – keep in touch with your recruiter or point of contact regularly so as to understand where you stand. “Will this company hire remotely?” needs to be your number one question.

What happens next?

It is likely too soon to speculate on which jobs will prosper and which will suffer as a result – there are too many “ifs” in a world that is changing every day. While customers may not be purchasing Travel Insurance right now, there’ll likely be a backlog of claims to get through in relation to existing policies. On the opposite side, there’s likely to be a lot less claims arising from motor accidents or injuries in the workplace – that does not mean I will stop insuring my car, or that my employer won’t need to renew his liability cover. “Everybody needs insurance” does ring true and in turn, everybody needs insurance workers. Where exactly they are needed, will depend on which customers are still in the market to buy insurance when all this is at an end.

About the Author

Donal Whelan

Director – Compliance, Risk & Financial Services 1 661 0444

Donal is a recruitment professional with over 6 years experience across the Compliance, Risk and Finance markets. Donal currently manages the Compliance and Risk disciplines at Lincoln Recruitment Specialists. He has an in-depth understanding of the compliance and risk recruitment market with a strong network of contacts. He has successfully worked with many national and multi-national companies in Ireland, who were either establishing new compliance and risk departments or expanding their in-house teams.

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