Insurance industry can engage millennials say top executives

Published: March 22, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Millennials can find a good career within the insurance industry, according to one leading executive. Speaking to Insurance Business, Swiss Re’s Keith Wolfe, president for regional and national property and casualty in the US and Monica Ningen, head of property underwriting for the US & Canada, discussed how there are opportunities in insurance for young professionals.

Asked how the industry can overcome a millennial workforce that is not committed to one job or career, Wolfe said insurance companies must understand what a new generation of people wants. He says millennials value companies that are not just profit oriented, while the changing insurance industry may provide some young professionals with a sense of challenge:

“They want a job with purpose.  Insurance is about protecting lives and livelihoods, providing the means to carry on following adversity.  That’s an important mission and a very compelling reason for millennials to find the industry rewarding.

We need to appeal to those who relish a challenge, and insurance really fits the bill. There’s something for everyone, because it’s always evolving, dynamic and challenging.”

However, there is certainly a difference between an aging insurance industry that is heading to a slew of retirements, and a young workforce which has more choice. To address this, Ningen that each company will need to deal with the challenges in their own way.

“At Swiss Re, we’re seeing situations where the nature of the work is changing so we are replacing those who have retired with professionals of different skill sets. Ours is a dynamic business—more so than people realize—so replacing talent is never a like-for-like proposition.”

Speaking about the way technology is helping and disrupting insurance markets, Wolfe offers the following benefits of innovation:

  • Innovation brings technology to bear on insurance. Some companies are processing claims faster than ever, aided by Artificial intelligence, for example. At Swiss Re, R&D is more important to us than ever, aided by the new Swiss Re Institute.
  • Innovation helps us better understand emerging risks. A generation that grew up with games consoles like Xbox and PlayStation should have little trouble grasping the boundless possibilities of cyber risk and Big Data.
  • Innovation helps us evolve our distribution models. This is the generation that grew up in a mobile society — where access to everything is direct and easy. All of our frustrated attempts at understanding how to reach and sell to these consumers will be moot because soon this generation will be calling the shots.