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Insurance Market Overview
A year in review…
2013 showed a softening of rates resulting in lower premium and commission income. This has had a negative effect on growth and the creation of new roles within the broking and underwriting markets.
The claims market slowed due to the relatively benign weather conditions leading to much lower claims volumes then in previous years. This has meant that larger Australian insurers are accepting and underwriting more niche and stand-alone risks, which they had been declining in the claims filled catastrophe driven market of previous years. This has affected business for the smaller specialist agencies who had been catering for that gap in the market by placing through Lloyds.
This has led to an increased demand for highly qualified claims professionals to deal with the more complex claims which arise from such risks.
A challenging time…
Redundancies due to off-shoring and restructures have been a feature of the last 12 months. The focus has been on moving employees internally rather than offering redundancy, which has resulted in people being redeployed to other departments. This in turn has led to a feeling of instability with candidates in the market making them reluctant to change roles.
The industry has also see some key changes come about including the role of a BDM which has seen more and more Insurers preferring to have their Underwriters become more market facing and driving sales growth. Brokers are demanding more from Insurers, especially with their market facing staff. However, finding a good technical underwriter with a development focus can be a very difficult process.
Talent pool vs. demand…
We are still seeing a shortage in the market for specialist roles such as Liability Claims Managers, Loss Adjusters and Senior Underwriters. This shortage is currently being met by employers tapping into their overseas talent pools. However, the demand for specialist claims people is growing as the Australian market takes on more complex risks themselves, rather than looking overseas for cover.
The year ahead…
Demand will remain high for all technical experts across claims and underwriting in particular. As a continuation of what we saw in 2013 we expect to see more candidates moving interstate with candidates from markets such as QLD moving to the larger markets of Melbourne and Sydney in search of better opportunities.
The growth in the recruitment market is coming mainly from specialist, senior or hard to fill roles. The need for creating new products for emerging markets such as China should grow sharply as emerging economies post faster growth than Europe and the US.
Recruitment in 2014…
Demand for specialists in niche areas such as Professional Indemnity is always large and retaining these types of candidates is high up on the agenda for most companies, with 'new blood' often sourced from overseas markets such as the UK. Within Broking and Underwriting it's not only the technical knowledge these candidates possess but more importantly the relationships that they could bring with them. Businesses in the market for these types of candidates can expect to pay a premium.
Employers should expect strong competition when trying to attract and retain talent in 2014, and must consider the benefits on offer and not just the salary. In the current market one will often find that candidates will have more than one opportunity open to them. Managers and business owners shouldn't assume that it's only up to the candidate to shine at interview but that the onus is on them to shine also. Moving quickly before and after the interview process will further increase a hiring manager's chances of securing the best talent.
From a candidate perspective, job seekers must remember to evaluate their online presence as sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are playing an increasing part in the hiring cycle.