By Cyril Tuohy
Penn Mutual has announced the appointment of Jessica Choi as assistant vice president of talent acquisition and diversity, responsible for creating a strategy around the company’s field talent acquisition for Career Agency Distribution.
Choi, a former executive with the pharmaceutical distributor AmerisoureBergen, will be responsible for helping the 167-year-old insurance carrier diversify its career agency force, the company said in a news release.
Choi also served in diversity and inclusion, human resources, operations, sales and other corporate functions at the food, facilities management and uniform services giant Aramark. She already has been involved in college recruiting efforts and in supporting The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship.
Bill Stevens, vice president, Career Agency System, said Choi would work to “enhance and diversify” the Penn Mutual workforce.
The company reported consolidated net income for 2014 was $177.7 million, an increase from $162.9 million in 2013. Operating income, which includes the company’s insurance and broker/dealer activities, rose 20 percent to $192.1 million compared with 2013.
Life insurance sales sank $9.4 million last year to $129.7 million from 2013, the company reported, and new annuity sales were $617 million last year, a drop from $686.8 million in 2013.
Penn Mutual is one of the few insurance carriers headed by a woman, president and CEO Eileen C. McDonnell. The company works with about 700 to 1,000 career agents. Many financial advisors — both men and women — say it’s important for insurance distribution to reflect the markets they serve.
Overall, 16 percent of the company’s new and experienced full-time agents in the career agency channel are women.
In a November interview with InsuranceNewsNet, the company said it planned to meet diversity hiring targets and expand its footprint in the coming months.
Penn Mutual retains a dual-track distribution system of as many as 1,000 career agents and 5,000 independent producers. Two tracks give producers more flexibility to switch back and forth between channels as their needs change.
On the career agency channel side, since 2012, the average age of a producer signed onto Penn Mutual’s Career Builder contract used for hires that are new to the life insurance business is about 33 years old, the company said.
Of the producers hired through the Career Builder contract over that past two years, 24 percent were women, the company also said.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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