With approximately half of its workforce nearing retirement age in the next decade, the insurance industry is anticipating at least 500,000 job openings by 2022.
Now, the challenge is to attract millennials into a career field that has been portrayed, unfairly perhaps, as a little dull.
But Jonny Blount, Louisville, a senior risk management and insurance major at Eastern Kentucky University, is among those who would dispute that stereotype. In fact, Blount, who last fall was EKU's Homecoming King, is featured prominently in an article in the March 13 issue of Bloomberg BusinessWeek headed, "Insurers Are Using Rap Videos to Make Being an Actuary Look Hip."
The article (at bloom.bg/1L26NmU) details how recruiters in the risk management and insurance industry and working together to excite young people about careers as agents, underwriters and claim officers. For example, one firm has distributed a four-minute recruitment video showing two business suit-wearing rappers and an auto-tuned diva performing a song conveying tips for interviewing.
"A career in insurance and risk management is way cooler or hipper than people think," said Dr. Burke Christensen, the Robert B. Morgan Chair of Insurance and director of EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program. "Insurance sales is a tough job, and many don't like the idea of that part of the career. But if you want to control your own time and make really good money, it's a cool job for the person with the right skills.
"But most of our jobs are not in sales," Christensen added. "We have one graduating senior who is looking at two job offers with starting salaries north of $52,000. We had three representatives come here recently from Cincinnati Financial who said that the insurance industry has a huge demand for people with a degree in Risk Management and Insurance."
Blount, whose internships with State Farm and Lloyd's of London have helped him pay for college, is ready to make his mark in the profession.
"Yes, it is more 'hip' than some think," Blount said. "However, we need to look at what is considered 'hip.' If aspirants are looking for danger, explosion, fireworks and other 'exciting' things, they may come out empty handed. Furthermore, if they feel that scholarships, good-paying jobs, networking, travel opportunities and much more are 'hip,' then they just might be able to find a good home here with us."
This past summer, Blount received an internship scholarship through CPCU Loman Foundation. He wrote a follow-up article that was published in a CPCU blog. "Ever since, I've been approached for comments," he said.
As the Bloomberg article notes, the insurance industry can offer attractive salaries and work-life balance. That promise, plus scholarships available from the numerous firms that support EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program, is more than enough to entice and excite Blount.
"I haven't paid a dime my senior year," he told Bloomberg. "Insurance has just really opened doors for me."
Scholarship support is a strong component of EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program, with Blount just one of many students who have competed successfully for national scholarships.
EKU's Risk Management and Insurance Program, accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), offers the only undergraduate insurance degrees in Kentucky, preparing students for possible careers as underwriters, claims adjusters, risk analysts, account executives, marketing representatives and financial planners.
For more information about the program, visit insurance.eku.edu or call 859-622-1120.