As boomers retire, young tech-savvy staff can fill the gap
BY JENNIFER TURNER
Brokers who look to grow and plan for their future often seek new employees. Learning the health insurance business takes time and finding the right person can be a challenge. In this market it can be difficult to find candidates that want to work in our industry.
While the need is huge, the competition is tough to find qualified people to hire to work in the insurance industry. Over 70% of health insurance professionals are baby boomers and within just a few years these individuals will be in their mid-70s. Over the next ten years insurance professionals will be looking to transition out of the business via a sale to employees, a merger with a colleague or a large firm, or just selling to an outside broker. In many cases adding young tech savvy new employees can be a solution. Planning takes time and to have options one needs to select a planning strategy and implement a process to reach the goals needed as most plans take two or more years to bear fruit.
With the option to grow by adding new employees to the business, health benefits broker David Ethington of Integrity Advisors pursued a plan to grow through adding youthful employees. “My agency was looking to grow,” said David, “and our needs were to find someone who was tech savvy and able to effectively communicate with clients.” Integrity Advisors, like many growing agencies, has a successful system to add new clients so the greatest need was to find help to manage the client service and support role which is critical to retention and annual open enrollment.
David did his research and asked me to develop and build a program to solve the concerns about growth through recruiting young candidates and then training them so they would be ready for a customer service role in a reasonable period. “We tried new graduates and found that many were open to the idea of a training program that led to a license and a full-time position in customer service,” reports David. “Another source we discovered was the many college students who need to complete an academic internship prior to graduation. We chose those students who were ready by the end of the semester to look for work.” Using the guidelines outlined by David, I was able to develop a process to recruit both recent college graduates and soon to graduate students looking for internships. We selected students with tech and strong communication skills. The training modules we developed focused on teaching business communication and health insurance service skills. Mastering the online carrier tools and agency management systems is built into the curriculum and ideally suited for the tech savvy recent graduates. The program is industry specific and provides the development of a high level of online competency our industry now requires to be successful in the health insurance field. “We have six trainees that graduated through the program and all passed the life and health exam,” David exclaimed. The graduates who showed interest in Medicare are now AHIP certified and ready to work on our open enrollment processes. “The progress each employee shows presents a natural progression from the customer service role is to a move into sales support to a sales position,” David said.
When it comes to improving the value of the agency to clients and possible buyers at some point, it is clear how new employees add value, especially with a crew of talented younger brokers. “Overall, the health insurance industry lacks new, younger brokers,” explained David. “There is a significant need to find more brokers to adapt to the new technology in our industry and provide agents and agencies help with the impact of the coming transition of retiring brokers.”
JENNIFER TURNER joined Integrity Advisors in 2020 — a natural move as she became a healthcare advocate after 23 years as a high school teacher with a master’s degree in education. She applied her expertise to develop a training program for aspiring health brokers. The program covers Jill health industry terminology and introduces students to the industry and related insurance product lines including Group, IFP and Medicare. Trainees have had a 100% pass rate on both the Calif. State license and AHIP certification exams. Jennifer loves her work and values trustworthy relationships with all of her trainees. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org