New Hires in COVID-19 Times - Industry Resources for the Class of 2020

June 09, 2020| Von Stephen Harrington | P/C General Industry | English

Region: North America

As parents cope with what to do with their children within the limitations of at-home learning coupled with their own full-time remote work, members of the insurance industry are facing a similar challenge on the horizon with respect to new hires. The class of 2020 will be entering the workforce during the era of work-from-home as their first real employers face limited resources and limited experience in onboarding and training from afar.

Good news for some of those graduates: The Wall Street Journal reported in late March that other financial sector leaders in accounting and consulting - such as Ernst & Young, Accenture PLC, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and KPMG LLP - would be honoring job offers for members of the class of 2020.1

Dr. Robert Hartwig, the Director of the Risk and Uncertainty Management Center at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, recently shared that most of his students’ jobs and internships “seem to be intact.” Some, if any, changes have resulted in pushed-back start dates. The main cause for these delays is not lack of necessity to fill these positions but the delay in the onboarding process.

On the other side, students at the Harper College Insurance Apprenticeship Program in Illinois are still business-as usual, somewhat. The program’s curriculum previously included students in classrooms two days a week and working for their employer-sponsor the remaining three days. Both facets of the program have shifted to being conducted online according to program director Dr. Rebecca Lake. On the topic of new hires in these times, Dr. Lake shifted her focus to making sure organizations had internal champions during the onboarding process who could help cultivate a culture of belonging and keep new hires interested and feel part of the organization’s community, culture and vision.

While the COVID-19 hiring environment is very much in flux, large national and regional insurance carriers are still posting new jobs and internships, perhaps fewer than initially planned but still available. Most smaller carriers have not addressed hiring accommodations on their websites, making it hard to know if and how their actual practices have changed. For these carriers, learning about onboarding and training resources may influence their hiring decisions during this time - and likely beyond.

Industry Resources

Carriers and service providers, like newly minted home-schooling parents, are finding new ways to make use of traditional resources to build and train their next generation of employees. In addition to the CPCU designation (25% off the online course till the end of June!) and other associate designation programs, The Institutes can provide a timely solution for insurance organizations hoping to beef up their new hire curriculum. As a non-profit risk and insurance knowledge-building group, The Institutes offers an Insurance Essentials Course, as well as a group of courses, including their New to Insurance Onboarding Program that not only touches on basic insurance courses but also focuses on areas in marketing, contracts, business skills, and client relationship building.

For more job specific training, The Institutes offers guidance and educational offerings for insurance professionals and their organizations in aligning their goals and objectives with their professional development. The educational offerings address roles ranging from customer service and claims professionals to underwriters and even information technology. The Institutes can help plan an insurance education.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) can also help educate, with several “virtual education” options that might be a good fit for new employees.2 Their webinars span claim fundamentals, underwriting trends, reinsurance, and the customer experience. Another area of their member website is tailored to Human Resource professionals.

For an overview education about the insurance industry, the Insurance Information Institute website is a good place to start. They serve consumers, media and professionals seeking insurance information.

The Beatles refrain, “I get by with a little help from my friends,” seems apt for this time in our lives. Organizations across the finance and insurance sector are getting creative about working together while making the most of their current resources to maintain a norm during these times. Keeping new hires engaged and finding ways to include them during these times is not only crucial for retaining these employees but also for future successes in recruiting when we all begin to return to our offices.

Available industry courses offer a virtual augmented Learning and Development department that can help small- and mid-size carriers. In the past it was a particularly important resource for companies that lacked the capital or need to invest in new hire training programs. Now, however, is the ideal time for everyone to discover what resources are available and make use of them. Take a look!

  1. Dill, K., & Thomas, P., “The Class of 2020 Was Headed Into a Hot Job Market. Then Coronavirus Hit,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/29/2020.
  2. Visit the Education area. You can peruse topics without needing a member log in.


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