Millennials in Insurance
Jenna Prettitore, Environmental Underwriter
Many industries are facing a demographic and talent crisis as the large generation of baby boomers begins to retire. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is no exception. The next generation has entered and will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey. However, based on a recent survey from Hartford, just four percent of millennials are interested in a career in insurance.
Having earned college degrees and possibly graduate level courses, this hyper-connected, tech savvy generation are the most educated yet. As a millennial in the insurance industry, I cannot tell you how much the market has changed since the 1960s or how much more versatile the insurance industry has become from personal experience. However, I can tell you that as a millennial in the workforce, there are certain values I care about when choosing the company and industry I work for. This is true for the majority of Generation Y. Millennials share a common thread; we want our work to make a difference. The work we partake in ultimately reflects and makes up part of our identity.
We value corporate culture and a job that provides a better environment for their employees. In conjunction, we also pursue companies that value the health and happiness of its workers in conjunction with profitability. Millennials in the workplace do not undervalue an employer that is flexible to an ever-changing and busy schedule. Due to the ability to be connected whenever and wherever we are, we strive to achieve a high level of responsiveness. This translates to our high valuation of service for our colleagues and superiors but most importantly, our clients.
In addition to flexibility, we are constantly seeking dynamic opportunities for career development. In working at Great American, I can confidently say that my employer values corporate culture and their employees. For instance, the Great American environmental division has astronomically enhanced my learning capabilities in the work force. Mentors have coached me and further developed my understanding of the environmental insurance industry, whether it be a lesson on appetite, environmental due diligence or risk management protocol. These mentoring programs are also able to cultivate long lasting relationships. Another way to achieve this is through continuing education opportunities. A few options I have benefitted from include: risk management seminars, insurance specific courses and graduate course certificate opportunities.
An environment where we feel supported and valued by colleagues is also a significant factor in our career decisions. As millennials, we have grown up in a digital culture, constantly connected to our peers with an ability to easily share information. This has resulted in a demographic that is increasingly collaborative and team-oriented. The nature of environmental division at Great American is surrounded by this key concept of collaboration. Employees are provided the opportunity to collaborate with the internal workforce to create a finer work product for the benefit of the insured.
Since millennials have joined the workforce, we are seeing these values take root in a larger portion of companies. So, what are we bringing to the table in response? What we millennials lack in experience, we aim to make up in ambition, drive and a willingness to learn. I want to ensure my millennial skill set is used to the benefit of my company. At Great American, this has paid off in dividends by allowing for those mentoring opportunities that increase my productivity while also developing valuable relationships and bringing profitability to the company.
But our value isn’t achieved without those who lead us. We need you.
As much as the industry needs millennials, millennials need the expertise and experience that the previous generations bring. By working together and combining the various skills of a diverse team, we are able to foster innovative thinking, develop new abilities and make a positive contribution to our company and industry. As the nature of leadership evolves, collaborative efforts between these two generations will provide millennials with the knowledge to make well-versed decisions.
The experience and knowledge within not only my company but also the entire industry is overwhelming. If you put in the effort to maintain a high level of productivity, value constructive criticisms and learning experiences given, and take advantage of the opportunities available, you will truly come out as a valuable asset to the environmental insurance industry. This is an opportunity to further the development of Generation Y while simultaneously changing the way the insurance industry operates.
Jenna is an underwriter with Great American’s Environmental Division. Jenna has previously worked at an environmental consulting and due diligence company preparing FCC and OSHA environmental compliance reports for cellular carrier companies. She earned her degree in environmental science from the University of New Hampshire. She is based out of our New York office.