In recognition of Insurance Careers Month, we sat down with Alyssa Bouchard, director of education & programming for Gamma Iota Sigma, the premier collegiate talent pipeline for the insurance industry, to talk about the state of insurance talent and its future.
Alyssa Bouchard, CPCU, ASLI, ARM
Director, Education & Programming, Gamma Iota Sigma
- There’s been a lot of discussion around the looming talent gap in insurance. What are risk management programs, or the industry more broadly, doing to attract talent to insurance careers?
The industry is rallying to preempt the talent gap and strengthen the insurance brand through initiatives like the Insurance Careers Movement and Gamma Iota Sigma’s One Campus at a Time, an initiative conceived to expand and diversify the insurance industry’s talent pipeline and funded by Lead Partners Chubb and the Spencer Educational Foundation. Core programs are Boots on the Ground Month, a call to action for professionals to go “back to school” and share their career stories with students each October and the Security in Risk Tour in partnership with Insurance Information Institute, in which we visit non-GIS, non-RMI/ActSci schools to raise awareness of insurance careers. Both allow us to showcase the industry’s vibrance, its career paths and opportunities, and its potential for the future to students from a variety of majors who might never have thought about insurance as a career before. The talent conversation is not just one for HR. Every insurance professional, from every functional area of the industry, is equipped to shape the industry’s pipeline and future.
- How has insurance changed in the past five or six years in ways that are impacting what today’s risk management students are now learning in the classroom?
Risk management and insurance curriculum is evolving with the industry. Cassandra Cole, adviser for Florida State University’s Gamma Iota Sigma chapter and Gary Sullivan, adviser for the GIS chapter at Mercyhurst University, recently addressed collegiate insurance curriculum changes in a Property Casualty 360 article; data analytics and cybersecurity are just some of the new focus areas. Zachary Finn, GIS adviser at Butler University, is making the connection between the classroom and real-world experiences by providing hands-on opportunities for students to design a captive and work through real-life scenarios.
- We are told technology has opened up new career opportunities for tomorrow’s insurance professionals. What are some of the newer roles today’s risk management students aspire to within the insurance industry following graduation?
The data science field is taking off as insurance companies work to analyze a wealth of growing data and use it to make better business decisions. We’re seeing new technologies like drones, blockchain, and telematics impact roles across the industry in risk management, underwriting, claims, and more. A good example of this is claims adjusters who fly drones to survey damages. It is important for students to understand how technology is impacting insurance career paths and opportunities.
- Can you offer examples of how the insurance industry is responding to millennial and Gen Z workplace styles and sensibilities?
I imagine when some people think of Gen Zs and millennials running the workplace, they envision either foosball tables and free snacks or a 100% virtual workplace. But Gamma Iota Sigma’s Annual Recruiting Survey results show workplace perks and work-from-home capabilities take a back seat to factors like future growth, compensation, culture, training, and development when it comes to influencers in student’s employment decisions. Millennial and Gen Z generations want much the same thing as older generations: a fulfilling, growth-oriented, and stable career. The insurance industry offers all those things, and through collaborative initiatives, training programs, mentorship and more, is working to showcase its breadth of opportunity.
- Would you share some insights on career opportunities within insurance for those coming from different industries? In other words, are their specific skills or adjacent industries (i.e., accounting) that lend themselves to those seeking to transition into the insurance profession?
The insurance industry is for everyone. Any background. Any major. Seriously! I have a friend who majored in Art History and Museum Studies. She is now a fine art underwriter. The industry is hiring for roles across all functional areas – Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Actuarial, Brokerage, etc. Our GammaSAID Council equips GIS members to be inclusive and intentional in their outreach to engage students of all majors for Gamma Iota Sigma. In fact, the fastest growing segment among our membership of 5,000+ students is about 27% who report their major as something other than Risk Management & Insurance or Actuarial Science. Our message of insurance careers is resonating with a diverse pool of talent.
- Can you share any statistics or numbers that help to quantify career opportunities in the field of insurance that tomorrow’s professionals should consider when deciding on a career path?
There are many shocking statistics out there about our industry’s need for talent – namely that 41% of students and recent grads change their path due to some form of exposure, whether faculty, industry speaker, peer, or some form of GIS programming. This flings open the doors of opportunity! The bottom line is, insurance career prospects are abundant, and we have tremendous variety in career paths and specialties. It is a great time to pursue a career in insurance.
Alyssa is Director of Education & Programming for Gamma Iota Sigma, the premier collegiate talent pipeline for the insurance industry, where she collaborates with industry, association, and university partners to engage and equip the next generation of insurance leaders. Alyssa is an alumnus of the Rho Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma and holds her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Risk Management and Insurance from Appalachian State University.