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In September  2011, The Insurance Education and Career Summit was held in Atlanta, Georgia.  Over the course of three days, more than 100 industry professionals, academics, students, and representatives from a variety of professional organizations met for two main purposes: to identify the primary barriers to meeting the workforce needs of the insurance industry, and to develop a strategy to overcome these barriers.  Of primary concern was both attracting talented and skilled individuals to begin careers in the insurance industry and also increasing retention rates to ensure an adequate pool of seasoned professionals are available to fill future executive positions as the baby boomers begin to exit the industry.

While many ideas surfaced among the small working groups, participants were able to focus on a few key obstacles: industry reputation, resources, and recruitment.  After additional brain-storming, a clear and defined strategy for moving forward was developed.   This included gathering and conducting research on millennials, developing a unified message, and creating a centralized source for delivery of information.

As a participant, I was impressed with the level of commitment of the attendees and the volume and quality of the ideas generated during the sessions.  Work has already begun on the first step, gathering and conducting research on millennials, and I am confident that progress will be made towards eliminating the talent gap faced by the insurance industry.

Cassandra Cole

Associate Professor and Waters Fellow in Risk Management and Insurance
Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate, and Legal Studies

Florida State University

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