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Insurance Talent Trends for 2021

Posted on December 2020 By Taylor Carrasco

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Throughout this unprecedented year, the Selby Jennings Insurance Recruitment Team has continued to help clients across the country to secure top talent for their teams. As organizations look ahead to 2021 and define talent needs for the new year, the Selby Jennings team has outlined some of the top trends to expect in the industry.

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Top Skillsets in Demand in Insurance

​Communication skills– As full-time work from home environments continue, companies have put an increasing focus on finding candidates that are able to interact and collaborate with other teams outside of just actuarial. We have seen hiring managers put a big focus on the demand for candidates’ soft skills, such as leadership, problem solving, interpersonal skills, and adaptability.

Life & Annuity
  • Financial reporting/valuations - Throughout 2020, we have seen a huge spike in the demand for candidates with experience working on US GAAP, STAT, PBR and IFRS17. As these regulatory deadlines near, we anticipate to see this trend continue going into 2021.

  • Data Science Actuarial – Clients are now emphasizing innovation and modernization as they strive to stay ahead of competitors with improving data and predictive analytics. It is no surprise that we continue to see clients creating new teams focused on bridging the gap between actuarial and data science groups. As this trend towards data science continues we expect a huge shift towards this area for 2021 and beyond.

  • Model conversion/modernization – As more companies try to take on a competitive edge with their products, we have seen several companies put an emphasis towards model conversions for both life and annuity projects into either GGY-Axis, Prophet, or Mg-Alfa. These modernization efforts are expected to continue as these actuarial systems continue to increase in popularity across the industry.

  • Risk Adjustment and Medicare- With the way the market has been trending, the most sought-after skillsets within the health insurance industry going into 2021 will be Risk Adjustment and Medicare Advantage.

  • Risk Adjustment - As Covid-19 continues to spread, so have its impacts on both the ACA and MA markets. Covid-19 has impacted the market in ways companies never imagined, making risk mitigation a major focus moving into 2021. Due to this, we have seen a huge uplift in the need for actuaries in the Risk Adjustment space.

  • Medicare Advantage - With the Medicare bid season approaching quickly, and still a lot of uncertainty, insurers need more help than ever preparing their 2021 bids. With this uncertainty on top of new CMS regulations, we don't foresee the spike for Medicare Actuaries slowing down anytime soon.

  • Commercial experience - The top skillset going into 2021 for the P&C insurance space will be candidates with strong commercial experience primarily on the casualty side focusing on workers compensation and liability (all types). With everything that has happened this year, clients are looking to expand on the product and underwriting side within that niche scope.

  • Cyber Insurance experience - Due to the increasing threat of cyber-attacks and increase in regulations around cyber risk, we have seen a huge increase in demand for candidates with cyber insurance experience, across both actuarial and underwriting. Most of these roles are focused on cyber technology and NPL.

3 Ways Candidates Can Differentiate Themselves

Candidates can take classes outside of work to improve their technical skillset outside of just the traditional experience working with Excel and SQL. Candidates with knowledge and experience of advanced coding languages such as R or Python really stand out in the market.

Asking more company-specific questions throughout the interview process will highlight interest in the opportunity and company. We recommend asking questions about any recent events the company has been involved with, or any major announcements they have made. This shows the company that candidates have done their research on their reputation, values, and growth plans, and shows serious consideration to make a move to the company.

Candidates should highlight a diverse skillset within the space – any rotational program experience or various projects outside of their direct LOB. Most companies like to see a candidate from a well-rounded background. Someone who has experience working on a range of different products or functions is able to help out with multiple types of projects and with different teams.

How Companies Can Make Their Business Stand out to Talent

Hiring managers should mention their stability and growth plans over the next few years. With the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, a lot of candidates are nervous about making a move into a new company and then having their new position be eliminated or the company have salary cuts.

Companies should also consider retained searches with a specialist recruiter. All candidates can scroll on LinkedIn and see the number of roles that are out there. By taking a retained approach, it adds an element of exclusivity that candidates will be more intrigued by.

Adapting to the Remote Work Environment & Hiring Processes

We have seen the majority of our clients open positions up to remote work, and many positions can even be worked permanently remote. Clients that will eventually require new hires to go into the office are allowing candidates to work remotely for at least 6 months to a year before they would need to relocate.

There has been a huge demand in remote work from the candidate side as well, with many candidates only expressing interest in positions that can be worked 100% remotely. We have even seen a few cases where candidates have started looking to make a move because their current company has stated that they will require their team to go back into the office full time in the future.

Virtual interview processes have had both positive and negative effects. We have seen that some companies now prefer having a virtual interview process, because of the saved travel costs and the faster timeline. Rather than having to wait two weeks for a candidate to fly onsite, they are able to arrange a virtual interview process sometimes as soon as the next day.

Virtual onboarding has been positive for a lot of our clients as it has shortened the turn around time from when a candidate accepts an offer to when they actually start due to the lack of typical delays like relocating, finding a house, and moving their car and belongings.

However, we have seen that one of the negative effects of virtual onboarding and interview processes has been that there is less of a human element involved. With standard onboarding and social activities such as a candidate’s new boss taking them to lunch on their first day or meeting new colleagues for drinks after work, some candidates have struggled to feel as emotionally connected or welcomed in their new roles.

Summary of Trends for 2021

  • ​The continuation of open roles targeting financial reporting/valuations experience, with specifics towards PBR and IFRS17.

  • Companies will continue becoming more receptive to full-time remote employment at all seniority levels. We expect to see candidates seeking more of a hybrid work set up, meaning working a few days in office and a few days out.

  • We expect to see candidates looking for more diverse opportunities. Inclusive working environments culturally is a common theme from both the candidate and client side.

  • Two general trends or expectations we expect to see in the Health Insurance space going into 2021 are disruptions in the ACA / commercial markets and specific needs for pricing actuaries as a result of Covid-19.

  • CSPA Designation (Predictive Analytics Designation from the CAS) is being pursued by an increased number of candidates in 2021, as this is a designation clients are starting to specifically look for candidates to have.

  • One area that P&C insurance carriers seem to be putting a greater emphasis on in 2021 is their telematics or usage base insurance programs. As insurers look to expand these programs to their customers to assess risk more accurately, they also are increasingly looking for actuaries, product managers, and data scientists who have experience working on UBI products.

Macro-Level Compensation Trends

  • ​Fresh ASA – $100 – 110K

  • Fresh FSA – $115-125K

  • Fresh ACAS - $100-110K

  • Fresh FCAS - $130-140K

We have already started having discussions with some of our clients regarding their hiring plans for next year to get a head start on sourcing talent. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any hiring needs for 2021, or would like to learn more about these market trends.