The New Pandemic Problem: Hot Product Demand Outstrips Labor Supply
“The theme in 2022 is really about talent,” Levenson said before the conference. “It's about the Great Resignation. It's been tougher to hire people. It's been tougher to retain people. … That also has culture implications, how companies act and behave.”
The industry has had a longstanding anxiety around the aging out of the sales force, which had also lacked diversity. But then the Great Resignation set in.
“It's not something limited to the distribution side of the business,” Levenson said. “I would say, like with many industries, it's across the board. There are certain functional areas that are in very high demand right now, data scientists and people in the IT space. And that has driven up wage inflation in those areas and it is made retention a little bit more difficult for companies that employ those individuals.”
The initiative aims to provide research and insights addressing talent challenges by examining what companies need to do to build or retain their individual work cultures post-pandemic, according to LIMRA. The organization plans to explore how recruiting and retention practices in the home office and in the field need to shift to attract and retain talent, what kinds of skills and expertise are needed to better serve customers, such data analytic and automation, and best practices to upskill current workers.
They have already had a few webinars on the subject. The first one was with three chief human resource officers from three Fortune 500 insurance companies focusing on culture, hybrid work and attracting talent and retaining talent. Besides webinars, the association plans to build surveys around the issue.
On the distribution side, Levenson said the pandemic raised awareness of the value of the industry itself and not just its products. More people saw what the industry can do for individuals and signed up. And although that was welcome with the spike in demand, that influx has not been enough.
“Even though we're seeing the supply on a short-term basis jump up, I don't I don't think it's necessarily keeping up with demand,” Levenson said.
Levenson also said he doesn’t expect to see demand drop any time soon.
“We've been able to help more consumers in the last couple of years,” Levenson said.
“Certainly things like claims are up, but that's what our industry exists for. There's more interest in our products today than there's been in a long time. And I think the pandemic is making people really think through how they would protect their loved ones, if anything were to happen to them.”
Steven A. Morelli is a contributing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. He has more than 25 years of experience as a reporter and editor for newspapers and magazines. He was also vice president of communications for an insurance agents’ association. Steve can be reached at [email protected].
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