Editor's letter: Sorry insurers, your staff ain’t worth stealing

Boss handing over employees_concept

In the weeks leading up to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association conference, I had a number of ‘state of market’ meetings with brokers

And I have some good news, and some bad news for the insurers reading this.

The good news, given the present tricky recruitment situation, is that said brokers had no interest in headhunting your staff. The bad news is that the brokers actually do not want to employ them either. I will explain.

It used to be a tried and tested career path to go into an insurer on a graduate (or another) training scheme; work for a number of years and then be tempted by the lure of broking and switching sides.

Brokers no longer have a rich seam of insurer talent to fill their vacancies, and their clients are not impressed with the standards being set by the sector as a whole.

Unfortunately, the brokers I recently spoke with repeatedly noted that in their minds the current Class of 2023 insurer employees were simply not up to much and not worth stealing.

The lockdown effect

Indeed it was commented that they appear too happy working at home to learn from peers; and that when it came to underwriting they seemed to have little understanding of – or interest in knowing – what brokers do.

As a result, it might come as little surprise these brokers bemoaned that for all the talk of insurers investing across the piece from onboarding to claims, service has actually got worse and not better since the lockdown. For brokers this causes multiple headaches.

Market needs to up its game

Firstly, they no longer have a rich seam of insurer talent to fill their vacancies; and secondly their clients are not impressed with the standards being set by the sector as a whole.

With regard the first point, the brokers admitted that as a market broking is going to have to up its game in appealing to those employed in other sectors and people starting out in their careers.

On the second, insurers just simply need to take a good hard look at themselves and realise that if they do start losing employees to brokers it is something to celebrate as it likely means they are actually doing something right. 

And that the calibre of staff – and as a consequence service – is on the up again. And that would be good news for everybody.

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Interview: Melissa Collett

Melissa Collett left the CII at the end of May. A champion of professionalism and customer fairness, she has some wise words for an insurance industry on the brink of change.

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