Guiding the Generations

Guiding the Generations
How to bridge the gaps in insurance and underwriting.
By: Mike McDonough
In insurance and underwriting, continuing education is critical for employees at every stage of their career.  It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about someone who’s just starting out or a person who has been in the business for 20+ years, there’s always something to learn to make the process more accurate and efficient.
When you perform an underwriting talent search, you’ll likely be seeing candidates from three generations: The Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers and the Millennials. Each group brings with it unique challenges and opportunities when it comes to building a productive team.
So how do you harness the strengths and weaknesses of each generation for underwriting jobs? Well, first you have to know exactly what you’re dealing with.
Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
Loyal and hardworking, these individuals should be ambassadors for your organization. They don’t mind buckling down when work needs to be done. They also feel the strongest amount of loyalty to the company they work for – loyalty that the younger generations may not see the value of.
Whether it’s client needs, company objectives or just general business knowledge, these professionals have the industry experience to act as mentors to newer employees and can pass on invaluable lessons to your team.
Training Opportunities
Tech. Whether it’s internal technology to help your processes run smoother, or simply taking advantage of the latest innovations in the industry, Boomers can fight the movement to modern tools.
Gen X (1960-1980)
In both work and life, Gen Xers see things the way they are. They are able to tackle tasks with a very “matter-of-fact” point of view and that can boost bottom lines and outcomes for your team.
This generation wants to climb the corporate ladder. They see the value of loyalty, but also want to take advantage of every opportunity presented to them. So when it comes to underwriting, these people will show ambition, but are looking to put their talents to use in their current companies.
Training Opportunities:
The classroom. Gen Xers see the value of experience, more than advanced degrees. While this generation may be properly educated for the lower-level insurance and underwriting jobs, once they work their way up the ladder, they may lack the advanced degrees that employees are looking for in management.
Millennials (1981-1999)
No one is as familiar with technology as the millennials. And this native know-how of modern tools may not just benefit them, but can take your company to the next level.
They are willing to learn take on challenges that may be outside the scope of their job description.  Millenials want to be involved in the big picture projects, so just give them a task with some meaning and see what they can do with the opportunity.
Training Opportunities:
Teamwork. While Millennials are constantly striving for individual success, they lack the bigger picture thinking and collaboration skills that can make them loyal to an internal team or company. Because they’re online natives, it can be a challenge for them to work face-to-face with clients or colleagues.
Learning from each other
Getting the best work from a diverse workforce can be a constant challenge. How do you utilize each group’s strengths while also addressing their weaknesses? By letting them learn from each other. Right now, a big trend in underwriting is forming collaborative teams of multigenerational talent. With this system, the Baby Boomers pass on their experience and business savvy to the younger generations, while the Millennials can assimilate your veteran employees to new technologies and digital strategies.
So when you’re doing an executive talent search or just looking for underwriting or insurance talent, collaborative skills are more important than ever. Find the people who are not only willing to learn, but also to teach. The right people working together can help your entire team bridge gaps in their skill sets and help all of them excel in a constantly evolving industry.

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