Amanda Peltier is the VP of Education and Workforce Development at the Ohio Insurance Institute, a member-driven trade organization of leading domestic, regional and national property and casualty insurance companies and related organizations throughout the state of Ohio. Amanda was interviewed by Michael Fiedel, a Managing Director at InsurTech Ohio and Co-Founder at PolicyFly, Inc.
Amanda, how should insurance companies go about marketing job opportunities to folks with no prior experience in the industry?
“The key is that insurance careers are for everyone. There’s a misconception that working in the industry only means selling insurance but there are a variety of career paths that can lead to a rewarding future in insurance. No matter your interests, your level of education or your skillset, there's a place for you in our industry. In most cases, technical skills for the roles can be taught. Careers in the insurance industry afford the opportunity to help people and, a lot of times, be there for them on what might be one of their worst days. There's a grassroots initiative called the Insurance Careers Movement, and it seeks to inspire people to choose insurance as a career and share what makes the industry a great place to work. One of the themes that has originated from that movement is the insurance trifecta, which is that careers in the industry are stable, rewarding, and limitless.
Those are some key points that are important to share when talking about job opportunities in the industry. February 2023 marks the eighth annual Insurance Careers Month, which originated from the Insurance Careers Movement. During the month of February, individuals and organizations are encouraged to engage in robust conversations on social media and host different events promoting the industry and the opportunities it provides. So, I would encourage anyone interested in learning more about the industry and the exciting things happening in it, to pay special attention to social media in February.”
What role do we need educators to play in promoting careers and insurance?
“Educators are our direct connection to the next generation of talent, and I believe they can play several important roles in supporting and promoting the industry. The first would be to educate students on the basics of insurance. Students need to understand how insurance works as they are entering adulthood, and it’s important to help support teachers in this effort. For many years, the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) has offered different curriculum resources for educators to use in their classrooms. We also have a speakers network made up of industry volunteers who go into classrooms statewide and present on various insurance topics, and we're always looking for additional volunteers. It's a great way to help support our educators and share important information with students about insurance.
In addition, the Ohio General Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 1, which requires high school students to complete one half-unit of financial literacy instruction. We see this as an additional opportunity to promote the resources we provide and also stress the importance of insurance education at the high school level. Another important role that educators – more specifically guidance counselors – can play, is to have an understanding and be able to speak to the wide variety of careers in the industry so they can advise students on the wide variety of available opportunities. The OII created a website over a decade ago, insurancecareers.org, that serves as a great career education resource. You can find information on over 30 different careers in the industry, as well as many short videos of industry professionals talking about their careers.”
How is Ohio standing out as an employer overall within the insurance industry?
“Many people may not realize how large the insurance industry in Ohio is and what a significant contributor it is to our economy. Over 275 insurance companies are operating in the state, and Ohio employs over 111,000 people in the industry, all over the state in the larger cities and the smaller towns. All this competition is great because it means Ohio consumers have a lot of choices and some of the lowest rates in the country. For instance, Ohio currently has the seventh lowest homeowners premium and the 11th lowest auto insurance premium in the nation.
Another important thing making Ohio a standout is that the industry has achieved consistent job growth over four decades. Ohio ranks seventh in the industry in total insurance employment, and second in the nation for property and casualty insurance employment. But that’s not all. Not only are industry jobs plentiful and stable, but they also pay well. The average annual salary for an Ohioan working in the insurance industry in 2021 was about $86,000. That's about 50% higher than Ohio's average private sector annual salary.”
What makes you particularly optimistic about the future of insurance and its ability as an industry to attract new talent?
“The insurance industry in Ohio has been working together for over a decade to address our workforce needs. When John Kasich was elected governor, he brought together the insurance company CEOs and asked them what they were going to do to address their talent needs. From that meeting was born the Insuring Ohio Futures initiative. This is a partnership between the insurance industry, higher education and state government to promote opportunities in the industry.
In 2011, when the initiative was born, there were no Ohio colleges or universities with insurance and risk management degree programs. Today, there are nine that offer some type of insurance education in risk management and insurance. I think that that can be attributed to those early efforts of the Insuring Ohio Futures initiative. Today, Insuring Ohio Futures is supporting those schools with risk management and insurance programs, dispelling negative perceptions of the industry and promoting the exciting opportunities it's providing to the next generation.
What I think is really cool is that many years ago, industry leadership decided that while their organizations are competitors, they can have a much larger impact working together to attract people to the industry. To our knowledge, Ohio is the only state in the US whose insurance industry has an effort like this. And I think that's pretty awesome.”