The Ohio insurance industry needs 26,000 skilled workers by 2020, according to a new workforce study cited by Lt. Governor Mary Taylor during today’s Insuring Ohio Futures announcement at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. Insurance industry executives and key stakeholders from Insuring Ohio Futures, a career awareness program started by 13 Ohio-based insurance companies, joined Taylor for the announcement.
The arena’s empty 18,500 seats each represent a vacant job, with retiring baby boomers responsible for 80 percent of the positions.
“A growing economy and strong demand from Ohio’s insurance industry means 26,000 Ohioans have an opportunity to find a good paying job to support their family” said Taylor, who added that the workers needed to fill the looming job gap would fill Nationwide Arena and still require 7,500 more employees creating a 3-mile-long line stretching from the arena to the campus of The Ohio State University.
“The insurance industry is an economic pillar for our state and meeting this need is critical to its strength moving forward,” added Taylor, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance.
The announcement is based on a workforce study using Bureau of Labor Statistics data conducted by Bill LaFayette, owner of Regionomics, a Columbus-based economic and workforce strategy firm.
“The key message of this study is that we must ensure that enough workers are available for this crucial industry,” said LaFayette. “If the workers are not attracted and trained, the industry will fail to grow to its potential, negatively impacting the overall Ohio economy. The workers themselves may not ever consider this opportunity without being properly introduced to it. That is why Insuring Ohio Futures is so important."
Insuring Ohio Futures, and InsuringOhioFutures.com, seek to educate students, career-changers and military veterans about the career opportunities that exist in the insurance industry. The study identifies the need in each of more than 100 individual occupations, including actuary, claims, IT, marketing, sales and more.
Taylor was joined by David Kaufman, president and CEO of The Motorists Insurance Group and board member of the IIRC, Chancellor John Carey of the Ohio Board of Regents, and Colonel Timothy Gorrell, director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services.
Formed in 2012 after Governor John Kasich challenged the industry to develop a long-term strategy to combat the talent shortage, the IIRC has overseen the building of a public-private coalition consisting of insurance companies, insurance trade associations, institutions of higher learning and public officials all focused on attracting new talent to Ohio’s insurance industry.
“This awareness program has been a critical step toward addressing the talent gap,” said Kaufman. “With a need of 26,000 workers, Insuring Ohio Futures will continue to serve as a catalyst to attract talent to the industry. The website, InsuringOhioFutures.com, is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to learn more and is considering a career in insurance.”
Insurance Industry and Higher Education Partner to Develop Next Generation
The Ohio insurance industry ranks seventh in the nation with more than 95,000 employees and an annual contribution of $17.4 billion to the state’s GDP. However, prior to the launch of the Insuring Ohio Futures program, not a single Ohio college or university offered a risk management and insurance (RMI) degree program.
IIRC member companies have engaged schools around Ohio, helping to craft program curriculum to meet industry needs, offering critical resources such as lecturers with industry experience, and helping raise awareness of the launch of these new RMI degree programs. Currently, Kent State University, Franklin University and the University of Cincinnati offer bachelor’s degree programs related to insurance. New programs are expected to launch this year at Ohio Northern University and Ohio Dominican University, with Bowling Green State University likely to add programming in 2015.
“Preparing students for the workforce is one of the key missions of Governor Kasich and the Board of Regents,” said Chancellor Carey. “In the year since I became Chancellor, we have taken many steps to ensure that students are getting an education that will prepare them not only for a job, but also for a career.
“Collaboration is key to making Ohio a strong player in a global economy, and I am pleased to see the collaboration taking place between our insurance companies and our institutions of higher education. This creative approach to meeting the industry need for jobs is making Ohio the topic of conversation across the country.”
Military Veterans Will Play a Key Role in Filling the 26,000 Jobs
With 26,000 jobs to fill, the insurance industry will need to attract workers from many sources. While students and career-change professionals are prime sources of talent, Ohio insurance leaders agree that military veterans offer skills transferable to the insurance industry. With mission-oriented and value-based training, veterans transition well into the insurance sector.
“The Insuring Ohio Futures program is a great example of how an industry and its partners in higher education and state government can engage veterans and raise awareness of career opportunities,” said Director Gorrell. “The transition to the civilian workforce can be a challenge for veterans as they leave active duty.”
“The unemployment rate among young veterans is almost always higher than the national average, but knowing that there are 26,000 insurance jobs provides an opportunity for our well- trained military veterans to make a difference for Ohio-based companies.”