A study conducted by Columbus State Community Collegeâ€™s (CSCC) Center for Workforce Development found that more than 17,000 new jobs in the insurance sector will need to be filled in the next five years as baby boomers begin to retire, leaving behind a critical shortage of skilled workers. The study also points to career openings at nearly every level of Ohioâ€™s 256 insurance companies.
â€œThanks to Gov. Kasichâ€™s leadership, insurance industry leaders developed a comprehensive plan to increase awareness, provide more training opportunities, and ensure these high-paid, high-skilled positions are filled by a new generation of trained professionals,â€ said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.
Ohio is the seventh largest insurance state in the nation with more than 100,000 employees and an annual statewide economic impact of nearly $6 billion.
The launch of Insuring Ohio Futures and the InsuringOhioFutures.com website begins the process of recruiting the next generation of insurance employees to the industry and help maintain Ohioâ€™s place as a leader in insurance.
â€œWhile there is no quick fix to the talent gap, an awareness program is an important first step,â€ said Jim Clay, leader of the Westfield Group, and co-chair of the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC), the consortium of 13 Ohio insurance companies that are leading the effort. â€œInsuring Ohio Futures will serve as a catalyst to attract talent to the industry and the website is a fantastic resource for anyone, especially those that have never considered a career in insurance.â€
â€œBaby boomers formed the foundation for our industryâ€™s success,â€ said John Bishop, Chairman and CEO of The Motorists Insurance Group and co-chair of the IIRC. â€œToday we need to solidify those gains by giving a new generation the skills needed for this industry to thrive in the future.â€
Todayâ€™s event at Kent State University is the first of a series of regional events designed to highlight key elements of the Insuring Ohio Futures program, in this case the focus on higher education and outreach to students.
Kent Stateâ€™s Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Todd Diacon said, â€œOhio high school and college graduates represent the best chance for filling the 17,000 insurance job openings expected in Ohio by the end of the decade. Thousands of graduates enter the workforce each year, and those with insurance-related degrees have a near 100 percent placement rate.â€
The insurance sector is a good fit for todayâ€™s younger generation, a talent segment searching for stable, well-paying careers and an opportunity to make a difference. These characteristics are reflected in many of the openings in the insurance sector, but research shows that few students know about the opportunities the industry has to offer.
â€œColleges and universities have a critical role in closing the insurance sectorâ€™s talent gap,â€ said Carol Blaine, who helped launch the insurance program at Kent State. Blaine, who took her current position after a career at Nationwide Insurance, believes the industry cannot thrive without a highly trained workforce. â€œThe industry is working closely with higher education to develop the next generation of insurance professionals and ensure that graduates meet the needs of the insurance companies around Ohio
The IIRC has identified three key target audiences that will have a lasting impact on the insurance talent gap. Students, career-change professionals and military veterans each bring a unique ability to address the industryâ€™s talent shortage. That audience now has easy access to information about the wide array of insurance positions and opportunities that are available.
InsuringOhioFutures.com is live and stands ready as a vital and inclusive resource for those interested in exploring career opportunities in the insurance industry. The website clears up misconceptions about the industry (namely, that there is more to insurance than sales positions) and offers the following information and tools:
For more information about Kent Stateâ€™s degree in insurance studies, please visit www.col.kent.edu/insurance or call 1-877-KENT-EDU.