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Market Insights H1: Broking & Underwriting, Professional & Financial Lines

  • Publish Date: Posted 3 months ago
  • Author:by Sanjeev Vegad

I have been supplying the broking and underwriting industry since 2004, actively recruiting into the Professional & Financial Lines underwriting markets. I have explored and shared my insights on the availability of talent across the market for H1, solving future recruitment challenges and developing sustainable careers.

​Availability of talent

We are evidently in a candidate-short market, there’s no secret here. After an inevitable drop-off in April 2020, the insurance market bounced back incredibly well, far quicker than I had expected. We saw a number of companies embrace remote onboarding and this played a huge part in paving the way for others to re-start their recruitment plans. The success of remote onboarding shouldn’t be under-estimated; the London Insurance Market has always had a preference to do things face-to-face and to see this level of commitment from both companies and candidates was refreshing.

A record number of market moves in 2020 and 2021 has meant that talent pools are running dry. This has been compounded by a similar record number of counter-offers. What we’re left with is two sections of the market which are effectively ruled out as attainable candidates. The knock-on effect for the rest of the market has been a sharp upturn in salaries as companies fight to hold on to their talented people. This in turn has priced a number of candidates out of moves. You can see where I’m going with this, the talent pool is shrinking further!

Looking to the future

With the market showing no signs of slowing down, it’s important that Carriers, Brokers and MGAs consider creative ways to solve their recruitment challenges. These should include:

  • Relocation of international internal talent (although this admittedly creates a potential headache elsewhere)

  • Giving consideration to restructuring the team to accommodate more junior hires

  • Considering candidates from alternative (but related) classes of business

  • Looking even further ahead, training staff up on alternative (but related) classes of business to avoid skill and knowledge shortages in the future

The last point around investing in the future capabilities of brokers and underwriters goes under the radar I feel. We’ve seen a number of clients recently make this a part of their strategy; for example, existing FI Underwriters may be skilled in Commercial D&O and vice versa. For the candidate, this adds another string to their bow and also safeguards them against a future drop-off in their chosen class of business.

For candidates, the key is to ensure you are developing your career in a sustainable fashion. I’ve always maintained if you join the right platform the financials will always take care of themselves. This doesn’t mean that you accept being under-rewarded, far from it. You should take steps to ensure you’re plugged into the market (whether that’s speaking to a specialist recruiter or others in your peer group) to understand where market rates are and speak to your employer at the correct juncture; usually, your annual review, to discuss where your package currently tracks against the market.

What candidates must avoid at all costs is trying to correct their financial package by interviewing elsewhere with the sole aim of securing an offer to then take to their current employers. From a candidate perspective, if you’re having to go through that every single time to get your salary corrected, you’re working for the wrong employer. From an employer perspective, most will feel like they’re having a gun held to their head and will be questioning loyalty (and probably thinking about their contingency plans). Candidates also risk alienating hiring managers as well as the recruiter they may have been working with. Employers and recruiters will always begrudgingly accept candidates taking another opportunity. Losing out to a counter offer is a different kettle of fish and always leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. We are part of an incredibly small market so hiring managers will always have that experience at the back of their minds and so when they are looking to recruit in the future, either for their current or future organisation, candidates who have fallen to counter-offers will more often than not be precluded from any initial long lists.

If you’re a client in need of talent solutions or a candidate looking for their next opportunity, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact me at sanjeev.vegad@eamesconsulting.com