Insurance agents and financial advisors may feel crushing pressure from changes in compensation models and insurance companies' strategy.
Especially in the individual health insurance market, agents have been having a hard time persuading insurers to offer sales commissions, or even to pay the commissions already earned.
In spite of all that turmoil, from the perspective of a company that runs a job notice board for the insurance industry, the overall state of the U.S. insurance industry job market looks terrific.
(Related: 3 Opportunities in the Health Gap Market)
GreatInsuranceJobs.com, the Orlando, Florida-based jobs board company, recently conducted a telephone survey of 72 companies that are active in the insurance industry. Those insurers, distributors and plan administrators employ about 360,000 people, or about 10% of all U.S. workers.
Roger Lear, a recruiter who co-founded GreatInsuranceJobs.com, says the results show that, in spite of all of the upheaval and angst in some parts of the insurance industry, the industry as a whole as "a lot of jobs."
In 2016, "almost all areas of the insurance industry increased their size," Lear writes in a report on the survey findings.
The companies surveyed had 10,874 open jobs in February alone, or about one open job for every 36 employees, Lear says.
Here's a look at four highlights from Lear's report.
(Image: Bram Janssens/Hemera-Thinkstock)
1. The present looks good.
The share of participating employers that said they had current insurance job openings in February stood at 93%. That was up from 91% a year earlier, and it was the highest level GreatInsuranceJobs.com has recorded since 2009, when the firm began conducting the job outlook surveys.
2. The future looks good.
In February, about 37% of the employers surveyed expected 2017 hiring to be better than 2016 hiring, and only 13% said they expected the hiring situation to be worse.
The share of participating companies that said they expected to hire 200 or more people from April through December increased to 16% this year. That was up from 10% in 2016.
3. Companies need sales help.
About 21% of the employers said they are looking for insurance sales professionals, and the sales professional category was the top hiring category.
Agents who see individual health commissions dwindling and annuity issuers moving away from commission-based products may not feel much insurance industry love, but Lear says experienced insurance professionals are still in demand, "everywhere."
Technology might be replacing some sales jobs, but insurers face a death of experienced agents and brokers for the jobs that are still out there, and finding good candidates for life and health agent jobs is a major challenge, Lear says.
4. Insurance industry workers tend to have gray hair.
The average age of industry workers is 59, and one consulting firm predicts that about 25% of the workers in the industry will retire within the next four years, Lear writes.
"A large retirement movement is under way already," Lear writes.
Companies may have to upgrade customer service technology and other types of technology simply to try to make up for difficulties with hiring live humans, Lear says.
--- Read Global Venture Capital Activity Picked Up in First Quarter on ThinkAdvisor.