I just returned from the annual conference of the Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators held in Bonita Springs, Florida this year. This is an organization which supports the professional development of people who teach and train the workers of the insurance industry. This was my first encounter with this group and I was highly impressed with my fellow educators and trainers, as well as the organization. I wanted to take this blogging opportunity to reflect on a few of the revelations from the conference.
One of the sessions that I attended was the inimitable Bill Wilson’s (director of IIABA’s Virtual University) presentation on “Insurance Coverages and Claims Training.” Bill has a gift for teaching the intricacies of insurance policy language interpretation and he is a treasure trove of real-world examples that illustrate the consequential nuances of the language in an insurance contract. Although this isn’t a “revelation” (to me), some may find it surprising that insurance is most certainly not a commodity product. There are very important differences in the insurance contracts that many consumers purchase, and certainly there are different service levels from different insurance companies and agencies. Far too often, personal lines (i.e., auto, homeowners) insurance is purchased by consumers who are simply looking for the lowest premium as they operate on the mistaken assumption that an auto policy from company X is no different from the auto policy offered by company Y. Big mistake. Fortunately, consequential losses are relatively rare, but that yields the unfortunate reality that many insurance consumers fail to realize the disadvantage of inferior coverage terms often associated with the “cheapest” policy until it’s too late – after a loss has occurred.
Another revelation from the SITE conference was the validation of some of my previous postings and general industry concerns for the future staffing of the insurance industry. The trainers and educators at this conference are already experiencing the “brain drain” from the insurance industry as aging baby boomers are retiring. My fellow attendees are in the trenches as young, upcoming professionals step into new roles and companies adjust to the exit of many talented, smart, and experienced insurance professionals. Trainers and educators are feeling the pressure to help develop the talent needed to replace these retirees. If you’re not already working in the insurance and risk management industry, there are significant opportunities available and that trend should continue for some time.
Finally, a commercial pitch for SITE… If your role and/or interests involves training and educating insurance professionals in any way, I encourage you to get involved with SITE.