It’s common knowledge in the insurance world that there is a serous demographic issue among producers. The average age of an agent or broker, according to industry statistics, is pushing 60 years old. A recent LIMRA survey pegged the average life & health producer at 56 years old, while a white paper from McKinsey & Co. puts the average of insurance agents at 59 years old.
What’s more, this demographic problem is only growing worse. At the present rate by which the distribution system is aging, and given how many producers are likely to retire or otherwise leave the industry over the next 10 years, the industry needs to bring in 60,000 new agents and brokers every single year just to maintain the current size of the distribution system. Given that industry recruiting is nowhere near those numbers, and given the extraordinarily high washout rate of new producers (as low as 10% make it through their first five years, regardless of age), it does not take an advanced degree in statistics to see that the insurance business is facing a significant change in manpower in the not-too-distant future unless things change drastically, and immediately.
But how bad is the situation, really, compared to other lines of work? It is hard to say, especially since every industry seems to have its own methods for determining the average age of its constituents. One source, however, is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which uses data from the Current Population Survey to determine, among other things, the median age of people within any given occupation. This data is not entirely accurate – it pegs the median age of insurance agents at only 45.6 years – a cool 12 years below what the industry knows to be true. (And, coincidentally, the exact same median age given for first-line supervisors of firefighting and other prevention workers.) Other counts are accurate, and still others actually overestimate the median age for a given occupation. But this still provides a good ballpark overview of which occupations appear to have more acute aging problems than insurance agents and brokers. And there are a lot of them.
To prove the point, we offer a baker’s dozen of some of the more interesting ones, starting with…