For most people in the insurance industry, the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) is synonymous with the professional development of people that have already begun their career in the sector.
But since 2008 ANZIIF has also been involved in an outreach programme aimed at lifting awareness of insurance among young people – promoting the sector as a worthwhile contributor to society – and planting the seeds of an idea of working in the sector in order to be able to make a difference.
Careers in Insurance
We caught up with ANZIIF general manager – industry engagement Mark Silveira to get more details of the Careers in Insurance programme.
“The whole Careers in Insurance programme started in 2008,” said Mr Silveira. “Around that time there was a view that, given the insurance community generally is an ageing population and given its ability to attract staff was challenging, we decided we would do something about it.”
At the core of the programme is a dedicated web resource.
“We’ve been able to devote time, effort, money and resources into developing our Careers in Insurance website (anziif.com/careers-in-insurance),” said Mr Silveira. “It aims to educate people around the types of careers that sit within the insurance industry globally. It’s a difficult thing to do because most people see insurance as being a grudge purchase and there’s been an inherent distrust of people from the insurance industry, primarily because of the way that we’re perceived to have handled claims and the view that we exist to not pay claims.”
A more positive image needed to be projected.
“We decided to do something about it and create this platform to promote insurance as a consideration for people who are leaving school or who are already in universities,” said Mr Silveira. “It doesn’t matter what type of qualification you’ve got, there is a spot for you in the insurance landscape that people may not necessarily be aware exists.”
Appealing to all ages
The programme is aimed at distinct groups of potential future employees.
“There’s three core categories,” said Mr Silveira. “There are those who are currently in school. There are people who are in university; and then there are people that may be looking for a change in career.
“They’re our target markets. In terms of number, the one in schools is the largest. However, it’s one of the most difficult because most people who are currently in high school may not necessarily know what their career is going to be. University students are a much smaller cohort, but they’re probably more attuned to looking at career options,” he said.
Getting the message right
The practical steps taken to make school-age kids understand what insurance is about have been documented by ANZIIF.
“We’ve created a presentation that speaks directly to high school students and we encourage anyone interested in accessing the presentation to give us a call,” said Mr Silveira. “We’ve had many parents – from brokers and insurance companies - who have then gone to their children’s school and made the presentation in relation to what insurance is and how it works.”
Much of the interaction with school-age kids is undertaken through ‘ambassadors’ who are generally already working in the sector rather than ANZIIF itself.
“We’ve got a small cohort of employees within our business, so we rely heavily on the industry to help support us,” said Mr Silveira.
How to spread the word geographically across Australia evenly does not appear to be much of an issue because of the central role of online communication.
“What we’re finding is that most of the younger generation have little interest in hearing from you face-to-face,” said Mr Silveira. “This is why we spend a lot of time and effort in developing our online content. We’re always looking for partnerships. We’re always looking for people who want to get involved with us and unite and we are more than willing to share our information and content. We do need people to help us push that barrow to get to as wide an audience as we possibly can.”
The full picture
The information disseminated in the Careers in Insurance programme is aimed at covering the entire spectrum, from life to non-life to reinsurance to broking.
“We touch on many parts of the insurance cycle,” said Mr Silveira. “We try not to just focus on one aspect. It’s more a broad-brush approach around what an insurance career in insurance could look like.”
The same content – and the same methodology – could be used anywhere in the world and is not unique to the Antipodes.
“The content is not specifically just Australian New Zealand. It’s global,” said Mr Silveira. “Right now, there’s a talent shortage and a retention issue globally. To aid understanding, one of the things that we are looking at is how do we communicate with the younger generation?
“We know that the younger person joining any business will probably have six to seven careers in their lifetime. It’s a changing dynamic and so we are constantly evolving the call to action for that younger demographic as we understand more and more what their drivers are,” he said. A