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Life Health > Life Insurance

Addressing the talent gap: Way to go, Ohio

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While Chrissie Hynde’s 1980s Pretenders song “My City Was Gone” laments how she viewed rampant development and pollution as having destroyed the “pretty countryside” of her Ohio-spent youth, this blog’s title borrows a line from the chorus to give the Buckeye state a legitimate pat on the back for a new insurance jobs initiative.

On March 13, Ohio, with the help of Ohio Lt. Gov. (and director of the Ohio Department of Insurance) Mary Taylor, launched Insuring Ohio Futures, which focuses on figures from a recent study predicting 17,000 jobs in the state will be coming available through 2018 in the insurance industry due to retiring workers. In an unprecedented collaboration, 13 major insurance companies formed an alliance to address this major talent gap that could impact the state’s economy.

Hey, like many others, I’ve been harping about the industry’s looming talent gap for years. I’m happy to see Ohio doing something about it, and I hope other states with heavy concentrations of life insurance jobs will follow suit.

For the Insuring Ohio Futures initiative, a variety of regional events will be set up around the state over the next two months to focus on spreading the word to students, veterans and career-changers regarding careers in insurance. There’s also a website at

Taylor says that, with the help of Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, insurance industry leaders banded together to develop a comprehensive plan to “increase awareness, provide more training opportunities, and ensure these high-paid, high-skilled positions are filled by a new generation of trained professionals.”

Ohio is the seventh largest insurance state in the nation, with more than 100,000 employees and an annual statewide economic impact of nearly $6 billion. The launch of the Insuring Ohio Futures program and its website is intended to begin the process of recruiting the next generation of insurance employees to the industry and help maintain Ohio’s place as a leader in insurance.

“Closing this talent gap is vital to Ohio’s economy and job creation,” Taylor says. “I support the efforts of Insuring Ohio Futures to strengthen Ohio’s competitive and growing insurance industry.”

Once again, way to go Ohio.

This seems an appropriate spot to give out some additional kudos to some life insurance companies that are on hiring binges.

  • New York Life announced on March 12 that the company intends to hire more than 3,700 financial professionals in 2013, after a successful recruiting effort in 2012, when nearly 3,600 new agents were hired. Since 2007, the company has recorded 11 percent growth of its agent force. Notably, New York Life expects that more than half of the agents hired will be women or individuals who represent cultural markets.
  • In mid-January, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America announced its goal to hire 875 new financial representatives in 2013. Guardian hired a total of 930 financial representatives throughout the United States in 2012, making it the most successful recruiting year in the company’s 152-year history.
  • Northwestern Mutual announced in early January a goal to recruit 5,500 financial professionals in 2013, its highest-ever recruiting goal. The announcement comes after a strong recruiting year in 2012, when the mutual company surpassed its goal of recruiting 5,000 financial professionals, the second consecutive year Northwestern Mutual has announced all-time highs for recruiting. More than half of the new recruits are expected to be “career changers” — professionals who are exasperated with their current positions and are looking for growth opportunities.

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