Property Casualty Insurance Careers: Does Your Grade Point Average Really Matter?

The debate on whether one’s grade point average (GPA) can impact his or her career has been a popular topic for years. Many career experts feel that it plays a major role in an employer’s decision to hire someone, while others believe that hiring managers don’t consider it a true indicator of one’s professional abilities. Though there are arguments for both sides of the matter, it is important to know that if you’re considering a career in Property Casualty insurance; your GPA matters.shutterstock_172077230-web

When pursuing a job in insurance, especially with the larger carriers, insurance recruiting experts would advise that the most successful path starts by entering a company’s professional associate program, also known as a trainee or development program. What many young professionals don’t realize is that having a 3.0 overall GPA (or higher) gives them a much greater chance of being accepted into these programs right out of college. The following major carriers list a preferred GPA of 3.0 or higher as a requirement for almost all of their internship, training, development or early immersion programs:

If a graduate doesn’t complete college with a competitive GPA, they will more likely have to enter the insurance industry at a standard entry-level position where they then must work their way up the ladder. These two routes can have very different salary ranges, and those entering into entry level positions as opposed to getting into a trainee program may never truly catch up in terms of earnings.

Some may feel that they would be able explain the reasons for their lower GPA during the interview process and would then be considered for a position, but they may never get the chance. A lower GPA can affect their chances of even being called in for an interview. An article by Collegiate Gateway reported, “According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2013 survey, the percentage of employers who screen candidates by GPA reached an all-time high this past year: 78.3% of the survey’s 200 respondents. Of these same respondents, 63.5 percent of respondents reported a “cut-off” (or minimum GPA required for consideration) of exactly 3.0, with just over 20 percent using a GPA cutoff greater than 3.0.”

Overall, it is evident that a graduate’s GPA can play major part in their professional success, especially in insurance. This industry is growing at a rapid rate and attracting more young talent than ever before. Recent grads must do everything they can to stand out from their peers to land a great Property Casualty insurance job.

Key Steps to Consider When Reevaluating Your Human Resource Costs

shutterstock_226614253_webReevaluating and improving human resource efficiency is vital to the success of any Property Casualty insurance company, especially when employee turnover can be so costly. An article by Insurance Business America stated, “…a November 2012 study from the Center for American Progress found that for positions earning less than $75,000—including most insurance producers—the cost of firing and hiring a new employee was roughly 20% of that position’s salary.” This means that a bigger emphasis is being placed on getting the hiring process right, making it even more important for every human resource department to take a closer look at their company’s candidate recruitment strategies and expenses.

When reevaluating human resource costs:

1. Determine if your organization has a ‘spend’ or ‘invest’ mindset. When asking human capital questions to hiring leaders, pay close attention to their responses. If the overwhelming responses to your questions are “how much is it going to cost?”, then you are likely part of a ‘spend’ culture. Conversely, if you are consistently asked “what is the expected return if we do this?”, then you are probably working in an ‘invest’ culture. These are two very different environments and understanding how to best deliver services to support the organization can drive everything including culture, attracting, hiring and retention strategies, metrics and recognition programs.   

2. Continually assess your hiring strategies, processes and budget. If you are spending or investing most of your time and money on recruiting and hiring whether internally or via third party, is it paying off? Make sure you are evaluating and measuring the right human resource strategies to really know if they are functioning in the most efficient way for your company. Items like reducing recruitment expenses or improving your investment return are key items to take into consideration. Should you insource or outsource recruitment efforts? If you decide to insource, you must develop processes that ensure your internal recruiters are solely working on recruiting needs. If you outsource, selecting the right recruitment firm for your company must be a priority to ensure human resource efficiency.

3. Find the most qualified insurance recruitment firm/recruiter for your company’s needs. When outsourcing your hiring efforts, your company must decide if hiring a recruitment firm or a specific recruiter will work best for your hiring needs. There is a big difference. When you hire a recruitment firm, you aren’t guaranteed to get the same recruiter every time. If you hire a specific recruiter, this means you are intentionally hiring a specific person to be the only one to conduct your searches. In either scenario, your company must seek out firms and recruiters that have a proven track record, impeccable referrals, large networks and are experts in all aspects of your industry. These are a few key qualities that will produce a qualified candidate in a timely manner; saving your human resource department time and money.

4. Ensure you are utilizing your internal/external recruitment strategies efficiently. If you decide to keep recruitment efforts as an internal responsibility through an in-house recruiter, make sure processes are in place to minimize distractions so that recruiting efforts are their sole focus. Often times, internal recruiters can get pulled into the other realms of human resources for various reasons. If your company decides to outsource through recruitment firms, be sure you are comfortable with their recruiting process, expertise and the type of search being conducted. Consider initially hiring only one or two firms or recruiters if you are conducting a contingent search to source potential candidates. Some companies think that using more recruiters to find employees will result in a larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from. This is not always true. In most cases, firms use many of the same methodologies to identify candidates; therefore you essentially end up with multiple companies contacting the same candidates.  This creates marketplace confusion and sometimes lessens a candidate’s desire to pursue your opportunity. Keep in mind, candidate identification is only part of the process, the best recruiters are also able to access and influence candidates based on their deep relationships, industry knowledge and personal experience.  

5. Implement the most effective type of search. When using a recruitment firm, you should be able to match your position and budget with one of the firm’s search options.  For example, if a company is looking to attract exceptional executive level leaders while learning about passive executive talent across the nation, a retained search may be the best option.  If a company is looking to hire key individual contributors and/or maximize their candidate pool, perhaps a contingent search should be utilized.  Or, if hiring high quality, management level candidates is necessary, consider using a customized blend of retained and contingent search features.

Finding Success by Considering an Insurance Career in a Specialized Market

Whether you’re just beginning your insurance career or you’ve already built a strong background in the industry and are considering a change, there are many avenues within the Property Casualty insurance industry to consider and pursue. There are several specialized markets that offer incredible professional opportunities and can provide career longevity due to their specific nature.shutterstock_115905412_web









Below are examples of three fast-growing, niche markets of the Property Casualty insurance industry you may want to consider entering:

  • Agribusiness Insurance covers the insurance and risk management needs of agriculture and farm operations and is not limited to areas of dairy operations, ranch and equine operations and much more.  Whether you have a background in the agriculture industry through a prior career in farming or education concentration or you have a genuine interest in the industry, it is definitely a specialized insurance sector to consider because agribusiness is and always will be a crucial part of our economy.
  • Boiler and Machinery Breakdown Insurance covers the costly physical and financial damage that can result from an equipment breakdown (definition source: Hartford Steam Boiler). This market may be appealing to those insurance professionals with a naval or engineering background as they may already have a proficiency in this area. This sector is growing at a rapid rate and is often now referred to as equipment breakdown insurance as it covers more items such as computers, electric motors and generators adding an even greater need for qualified insurance professionals.
  • Ocean Marine Insurance covers the transportation of goods and/or merchandise by vessels crossing both foreign and domestic waters including any inland or aviation transit associated with the shipment. This type of marine insurance also encompasses coverage for damage to the vessels involved in shipments and any legal liability arising in the course of shipment (definition source: International Risk Management Institute).  In an article about ocean marine coverage by Property Casualty 360°, Travelers’ Ocean Marine President Bill Queens says, “Most of the people in this industry come from a maritime background, and they have a language that’s unique to that environment.”  He then goes on to stress how important it is for Ocean Marine insurance agents to educate themselves on the specific language of the maritime industry. If you have prior naval or mariner career experience or are knowledgeable on nautical terminology, this may be an insurance sector to consider for your career.

Many people also may not initially consider careers in these ultra-specialized areas of insurance because they feel they may not be qualified due to the specific knowledge or training that is required, but this is a misconception. Property Casualty insurance companies are often willing to assist employees with the specific training or certifications necessary to fulfill the position if they feel the person is or can be an asset to their company. If you do already have specified skills or a background that pertains to a certain sector like agribusiness or ocean marine, that can also give you an edge over other candidates.

If you are interested in moving into one of these specific insurance markets and feel you are already qualified, contact Coleman Search Group today. If you are interested in learning more about these niche markets, we encourage you to research them by visiting sources like Property Casualty 360° and Insurance Journal for more information on specialized Property Casualty insurance jobs.