The insurance industry in Ohio will need to fill tens of thousands of new positions by 2020, due to the retirement of the baby boomers and continued industry growth. Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Jim Clay, Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC) co-chair, Col. Timothy Gorrell, director of Ohio Department of Veteran Services and Matthew Downing of Progressive Insurance, held a media opportunity in Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, in front of 38,000 seats to demonstrate the depth of the talent gap in the Ohio insurance industry.
“When you look around Progressive Field, the seats are representative of the tens of thousands of available jobs in the insurance industry that need to be filled by 2020,” said Lt. Gov. Taylor, who is also the director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. "These open positions present tremendous career opportunities for military veterans who have served our country and are now transitioning to the private sector.”
A 2013 study conducted by the IIRC and Regionomics, LLC identified the talent gap as 26,000 new workers needed by 2020. The study focused on the property and casualty (P&C) segment of the industry. Insight offered by the Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP) and from The Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies (AOLIC) indicates similar talent needs also exist in those sectors of the insurance industry.
Insurance is considered an economic pillar for Ohio, employing more than 100,000 Ohioans and generating almost $18 billion of the state’s GDP.
“The insurance industry offers stable, well-paying jobs in all 88 Ohio counties, with the primary pockets of employment existing in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati,” said Clay who is Group Leader and CEO of Westfield Insurance. “The Insuring Ohio Futures program aims to educate prospective employees on the wide range of careers and on the benefits of working in insurance. To fill tens of thousands of jobs in the next five years we need to recruit several sources of talent. Students and career-change professionals are two important sources for talent, but military veterans are a great match for careers in the insurance industry, and we believe their skills can fill the need for a wide variety of positions.”
Matthew Downing, Corporate HR Controller for Progressive Insurance was a 1st Lt. in the U.S. Army. He was attracted to Progressive, which currently has more than 1,200 veterans employed in a company of 26,000, partly because of its veteran’s career outreach.
“One of the more intimidating parts of leaving the military is figuring out what’s next in your career,” said Downing. “During my job search, I learned my skills and habits that formed during my tour of duty helped me to be more effective and confident in my professional life. Most of my post-military career has been in the financial services sector, where employers value the integrity and professionalism many service members exhibit. Progressive offers several programs to support its military employees and help them network internally as they transition into civilian life, and the insurance industry as a whole offers an array of job opportunities for veterans to consider.”
Currently, there are more than 900,000 military veterans living in Ohio, and approximately 35,000 of them are seeking employment. Every month approximately 1,000 military veterans leave the U.S. Armed Forces and return to Ohio. This trend is increasing as the military streamlines operations and reduces forces.
“Ohio’s veterans have world-class skills and we want our veterans to bring their expertise to work in Ohio,” said Col. Gorrell “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.”
“The transition to the civilian workforce can be a challenge for veterans as they leave active duty, Gorrell added. “The unemployment rate among young veterans is almost always higher than the national average, but knowing that there are tens of thousands of insurance jobs provides an opportunity for veterans to make a difference for Ohio-based companies.”
The IIRC formed in 2012 after Gov. John Kasich challenged the industry to develop a long-term strategy to combat the talent shortage. It 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.
Insuring Ohio Futures, and InsuringOhioFutures.com, seek to educate military veterans, as well as students and career-change professionals, about career opportunities in the insurance industry. The Regionomics LLC study identifies a need in each of more than 100 individual occupations, including actuaries, claims, IT, marketing, sales and more.