Insurance job growth continues six months into the pandemic

The overall economy and the insurance industry experienced declining unemployment rates and continued job growth in August 2020, said The Jacobson Group. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The insurance industry continues to see decreasing unemployment rates and growing job opportunities six months after the COVID-19 global health crisis.

According to the September edition of PULSE from The Jacobson Group, the insurance industry is down 1,900 jobs compared to pre-pandemic numbers in February 2020 and employs 13,300 more individuals in August 2020 than in August 2019.

A month earlier, in July 2020, the industry employed 17,000 more individuals year-over-year (YOY).

Employment highlights

Jacobson’s monthly report shows a healthy insurance job market in July.

  • Employment in the property and casualty sector increased YOY by 1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 4.6%.
  • Employment of agents and brokers increased YOY by 0.7%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 4.9%.
  • Employment in TPAs decreased YOY by 2.1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 6.5%.
  • Employment in reinsurance decreased YOY by 7%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 17.4%.
  • Employment in claims decreased YOY by 5.1%, and weekly wages increased YOY by 2.9%.

Despite strengthening job numbers across areas of the business, the unemployment rate for insurance carriers and related businesses continues to rise. The first jump in unemployment this year was between March and April when the rate increase from 1% to 3.9%. The rate increased again in June to 4.6% and rose 0.2 percentage points in July.

On a positive note, property & casualty industry wages are up across the board, possibly due to fewer retirements and a decrease in positions with lower salaries, Jacobson noted.

Labor market  outlook

The Jacobson Group and Aon partner semi-annually to conduct an insurance outlook study. Their findings in the third quarter of 2020 reveal companies’ commitment to growing their workforces. Forty-eight percent of insurance companies plan to increase staff during the next 12 months compared to 17% of companies planning to decrease the number of employees — up from 8% in January 2020, said the study.

The study also found that companies seek to hire in understaffed areas of the business in anticipation of increased business volume within the next year.

“The insurance industry has proven relatively stable in comparison to the overall economy and insurers continue to compete for top talent,” said Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of Jacobson, in the study report. “Recruiting difficulty has not eased during the pandemic and has even increased slightly for most insurance functions. Though employment will continue to grow in the next 12 months, it will be at a significantly slower pace.”

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