Some insurance industry employers say they are getting out to college campuses to recruit, forming relationships with the college risk management programs, and expanding their summer internship and early career development programs.
Aon, ACE and Travelers are among the industry players that offer internships and have formal career development training programs for new hires.
Aon, for instance, has an early career development program that has been in place since 2001. It has grown by leaps and bounds since. The program began with just four new hires. Next year, the company plans to bring in 90.
"We're going to have a huge gap, and so we need to bring the younger folks up more quickly, get them into more leadership roles very quickly, and this is just a way to facilitate that," says Beth Pelling, director of early career development at Aon.
ACE has also expanded its career development program. It brought in about 120 trainees in each of the last two years. About four to five years ago, the program brought in only about 40 to 50 trainees.
Travelers has an internship program as well as a career development training program. Its leadership development program is a three-year rotation that gives students an opportunity in information technology, HR, and finance.
"We are truly committed to the development of interns, one because they are serving to be feeders to our full-time positions, but also those who we hire in the entry level in our leadership development programs are being positioned and groomed for mid-management positions after their three years," says Carlos Figueroa, director of university relations at Travelers..
While an insurance and risk management degree is a big plus, industry employers will hire on people with other degrees, even for underwriting positions.
Some companies say they can assimilate students with other degrees because of their rigorous career development programs.
"Over the long term, the company can take someone with a humanities, mathematics, statistics, or marketing and communications degree and make them successful as well, based on our own internal training," says Shawn Tubman, director of university relations at Liberty Mutual.
Aon has the same perspective. "For us, because we have formalized early career development training, we can really take anyone with strong academic background and teach them," says Pelling.
PATRICIA VOWINKEL lives in New Jersey.
May 1, 2008
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