Exclusive: Captive industry worries over future talent shortages
A majority of executives are concerned that the captive insurance industry will face a shortage of adequately trained staff in the future, according to an exclusive online poll conducted by the website Captive International.
Of those polled, 72 percent said that there was a shortage of talent in the industry, as opposed to 28 percent who said that there was not. “We are failing to mentor the next generation,” bewailed one poll respondent.
Asked to explain their comments, one said that there are too few experienced captive regulators, whilst another claimed that not enough insurance company people understand the world of captives.
Some respondents said that visible proof of a shortage could already be seen. “I'm not seeing younger players at conferences or in the media. Perhaps they are existent but showing elsewhere, in different ways. If not, we need more of them, quickly,” one said.
Another said that they had seen the talent shortage play out in two main areas: captive management and captive strategy consulting.
“On the management side, it takes a while to develop someone who truly understands the risk, finance, and accounting needs [which] are key to managing a captive. Regarding strategy, the industry should focus on developing individuals that sufficiently understand strategic risk and how to utilise a captive strategy as a mitigation tool. The talent shortage has led to an inability to use captives to their full potential,” one respondent said.
Looking at what might be done to alleviate this, one respondent said that not many young people were being put into positions that would allow them to learn and grow – and that as a result they were leaving the industry soon to find something more challenging.
Moreover, it was also alleged that the shortage extends to law firms that deal with captive insurance.
One respondent spelled out exactly why this is the case, pointing out that captive insurance, at least for lawyers, is not a separate area of law and that students are not trained in captives.
“Rather, professionals pieced together their expertise over the years from various bodies of law. This is not something that can be easily taught. Since captive insurance is a product, much of the information available is slanted towards the sale of insurance, rather than unbiased education. The American Bar Association recently created a committee on captive insurance. Hopefully this will continue to grow and educate professionals (both lawyers and non-lawyers) in an unbiased fashion,” they said.
However, there were also those who claimed that there is not a shortage of either actual or prospective talent. One simply said that there is sufficient talent, whilst another refuted the point made by others about not seeing young people at conference: “I have met several 20-30-40 year olds in the business at various conferences.”
Another respondent said that: “Just because older people retire does not mean there is not a talent pool behind them. I think there is - and retirements will give the opportunity for them to emerge.”
And finally one respondent gave a highly regional answer, telling Captive International that in their view it “wasn’t an issue due to available persons with insurance knowledge in Switzerland.”