To read the full PIACT article click here.
The independent insurance agency system and the insurance industry in general is facing a huge dilemma. The current workforce is aging and there is not enough young talent entering the industry. As President of the Professional Insurance Agents Association of CT (PIACT) from 2013 – 2014, I made a conscious effort to help find a solution. Early in my term, I had a chance meeting at a networking event with Mark Scheinberg, President of Goodwin College in East Hartford, CT. I explained the problem our Association members are having and he introduced me to Assistant VP of Strategy and Business Development Clifford E. Thermer, Ed.D. (pictured above.)
Cliff immediately saw the tremendous opportunity for Goodwin and PIA to share resources and collaborate in developing a career pathway into insurance for their students, particularly those in their Business Program. I and several Executive Committee members of PIA met with Goodwin administrators and professors to map out the skills PIA association members are looking for when hiring potential candidates. These skills include basic insurance knowledge and P&C licensing, working knowledge of insurance specific database management systems like AMS and Applied, customer service skills and sales skills (depending on the career track the student desires), entrepreneurship, social media capabilities and marketing. Cliff and his staff then developed an insurance curriculum to offer their students. The new curriculum was launched in late 2014.
I and other PIA members are now visiting classrooms at Goodwin to inform students of the great career opportunity in insurance, particularly in the independent insurance agency system, that await them. PIA will work with its association members statewide in creating paid internships for qualified students in the Goodwin program. These internships will be the gateway into the industry in dire need of new blood.