Insurance Market Overview 2016
Compared to previous years, the Irish Insurance market has received added media and public attention throughout 2016 for several reasons, both positive and negative.
The subject of increased insurance premiums has been at the forefront of media and government attention this year. We have seen protests nationally against soaring insurance premiums, along with several television and radio programmes investigating the factors behind the significant increases. The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, ordered a review of the industry in January 2016. The objective of this was to recommend measures to improve the function and regulation of this sector.
Post-Brexit, there has been an air of positivity about a potential migration of Insurance companies from the UK to Ireland. Ireland, as the only English-language speaking country in the EU, has already proved a massive draw with several UK-based insurance organisations already starting the formal process of establishing subsidiaries here, while many others are in the process of preparing to join the 200 insurers regulated in Ireland.
The expected growth in the insurance industry in the coming year brings with it a number of challenges. The insurance industry at large has faced a shortage of general insurance professionals and has been required on occasion to “import” these qualified professionals to fill gaps for the roles. The industry as a whole recognises the key challenge on addressing these talent shortages, as it poses perhaps the biggest barrier to entry for potential insurers looking to moving here.
2016 saw the innovative launch of Ireland’s first Insurance degree apprenticeship programme. Insurance companies across the country hired 100 professional apprentices who will work towards a BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice degree while earning a salary. The programme helps to solve the issues that companies are facing with skill gaps and talent shortages while it also provides people with a structured pathway into the profession.
As with 2015, 2016 witnessed an increased demand for experienced and industry qualified insurance professionals across a range of areas.
While several key organisation streamlined their claims operations recently, 2016 has seen an increased demand for experienced claims professionals, particularly those with EL and Pl experience, and skilled in dealing with claims at both pre-litigation and litigation levels. We also face a shortage of skilled and knowledgeable claims professionals who can operate at the highest level servicing high worth claims.
Brokering has continued on an upward trajectory as witnessed during 2015. There is more competition than ever amongst traditional insurance brokers and their online counterparts. The general public is more knowledgeable than ever about their insurance needs across the general, life, pensions and investments space, this has increased the demand for good brokers as a result. Many brokers have hired throughout 2016 and are expected to continue hiring throughout 2017.
It is widely accepted that the insurance industry faces a shortage of general insurances actuaries. Companies regularly “import” talent to counter the shortage of actuaries. The industry recognises the challenge and has implemented several initiatives to fill the gap locally.
The Reinsurance space is one we should watch with great interest post-Brexit. Historically, it has always been a strong performing area. With UK-based companies planning to relocate to Dublin in the near future, we can expect this area to strengthen further and also an increased requirement for skilled reinsurance professionals.
Niche insurance positions, such as Underwriters, Risk Analysts and Business Development Executives, have been in constant demand throughout 2016. These are the areas that are paramount in driving businesses forward for insurance organisations, hence the demand. The shortage of experienced candidates in these spaces has resulted in an increase in salaries on offer, as companies search for talent from a sparser talent pool.
Compliance is an area that has experienced a demand for knowledgeable professionals throughout 2016. This section of the Insurance market has always been short of candidates and we expect this to get progressively more pronounced as the candidate pool starts to tighten.
Salary increases are expected across a number of sectors of the insurance industry in 2017, predominantly in areas where experienced talent is in short supply, such as Compliance, Actuarial and niche positions, with such specialist underwriters as companies competing for the best talent on the market. There remains an oversupply of talent at mid-level claims, personal lines and underwriting sectors. This oversupply has dictated that salaries have majority remained the same for the majority throughout 2016. It is only when this talent dries up that we can expect to see salary increases. The senior end of the market is still feeling the effects of a salary legacy issue. Salaries have reduced somewhat but this is off the back of historically high salaries.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Salaries projected to increase as talent dries up, so employers should be focusing on a salary bill increase somewhere within the 5-10% range for top performing candidates.[/pullquote]
For breakdown of salaries in this sector please click here
From our findings, we are pleased that the Irish insurance market appears ready for continued growth at a manageable pace in 2017, as many of the major insurers return to profitability and more insurers look to establish themselves in Ireland post-Brexit. The number of new business opening across Ireland will also bring an inherent need for insurance across the board.
On the back of these macro developments, expectations should be set with corporate salaries projected to increase as talent dries up, so employers should be focusing on a salary bill increase somewhere within the 5-10% range for top performing candidates showing technical skill sets. These professionals with full qualifications, proven track records, internal growth and loyalty will be the difference between good and great results for insurers this year.
Generally speaking, Insurance candidates in the market are relatively happy with their severance packages. According to our survey response, 62% are happy with their levels of compensation. This year, we would expect employers to offer a better package in order to entice high-calibre talent to their firms. Bonuses, whilst very much discretionary, are coming back into play across the board and employers have recognised that to retain staff they need to, at a minimum, keep in line with the market.
To summarise, the Irish Insurance market, from a recruitment perspective, is on an upward trajectory. Whilst this market has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, the growth we have seen in 2015 coupled with the positive sentiment around the market suggests we will see the market presenting ample opportunities for experienced Insurance professionals and valuable long-term career opportunities for people looking to enter the market. That said, it will be a competitive year for companies in sourcing for and retaining top talent. For candidates, however, it should be a great year to explore the significant opportunities therein.
If you would like more market information and would like to look at your options for a career move, for a confidential discussion please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01 661 0444.
To view the full survey results please click here.
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