By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor, Risk & Insurance®
Fancy the thought of an insurance conference being conducted in Spanish, using live video conference feeds, with nary a soul in the physical or virtual audience a hair over the age of 40 and all having earned graduate degrees?
The scenario is closer than you think, according to Peter Leyden, an author and a former editor for Wired magazine.
By 2050, said Leyden, the keynote speaker at this year's Captive Insurance
Companies Association (CICA) conference in Orlando, minorities will make up more than 50 percent of the population, assuming current growth trends. For the first time, non-Hispanic whites will find themselves in the minority.
In fact, the demographic makeup of California is nearing that ratio--if it hasn't already passed it. Those statistics will be confirmed by the 2010 U.S. Census.
Selling to the so-called Millennial Generation, those men and women born between 1979 and 1994, is going to mean some big changes in the way every industry thinks about reaching out to a new generation, said Leyden.
This generation in particular is like none other that the insurance market--or any market--has ever seen before: Born in an Internet age, it is not just the first generation that has grown up with the Internet but on the Internet.
Millennials, he said, have used and understand the networking power of the Internet to a degree that is pushing the generations before it, the Baby Boomer and Generation X, in new directions.
In fact, the Millennials have already spoken, said Leyden. They were a big part in helping to elect President Barack Obama. And if Facebook were a country, noted Leyden, it would be the third-largest nation on Earth after China and India.
Insurance trade groups have reacted to the changing profile of future buyers as they look to reach out to this potential new market. Many education courses offered by a plethora of insurance trade organizations are already offered via the Internet, and the industry is well aware of the efforts it needs to make to attract younger talent.
Speaking at a gathering of program administrators in Arizona last October, for example, William Kronenberg 3rd, president of the Target Markets Program Administrators Association, said young managers today "don't want to get on a plane and go somewhere."
"They want to hold something in the palm of their hand wherever they are in the world and communicate," Kronenberg said.
International Center for Captive Insurance Education (ICCIE) Executive Director Mitch Cantor, one of the captive industry's younger leaders, is aware of the importance of using the Internet to develop a new generation of captive managerial talent.
ICCIE was begun in 2004 to nurture young captive managerial talent. Students can take ICCIE courses online as well as face-to-face. Each online course is instructor-led, but students can do the work for each week or two-week section on their own time.
To honor ICCIE's efforts, CICA awarded the organization its Distinguished Service Award on Monday, as part of CICA's annual conference, which is being held March 7 to 9. It is the first time CICA has bestowed the award on an organization and not an individual, according to CICA President Dennis Harwick.
In addition, CICA also recognized Sheila Small, president of Exchange Indemnity Co. (EIC) and an assistant treasurer, risk management, at Verizon Co., with the Outstanding Captive Award. EIC is Verizon's captive insurance company.
Managed by Marsh, EIC has more than $1 billion assets and underwrites 25 programs across all lines of business, said Small.
March 8, 2010
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