Ensuring the future of insurance

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Insurance companies are doing their best to appear exciting and dynamic order to attract recruits. A better idea might be to raise their starting salaries.

In a speech earlier this month, Stephen Reid, managing director of Marsh's Risk Management Practice, bemoaned the fact that young people nowadays have little knowledge of the insurance sector.

According to Reid, insurance is not even "on the radar" of the so-called i-Pod generation, and the industry is in danger of losing out as a result.

Very true, says Robert Charles, a director of recruitment firm Joslin Rowe's insurance division. "Insurers don't do enough to publicise themselves," he says. "No one has heard of huge firms like Marsh or Aon, so they miss out on the cream of the graduate crop."

However, starting salaries appear to be a significant sticking point. Charles says insurers offer good long-term remuneration and career paths. But he says insurers' graduate salaries of 20,000 to 25,000 just don't compete with those in the more glamorous industries (aka investment banking which pays university-leavers 40k plus).

David Gittings, Group Head of Risk at Wellington Underwriting plc, says the insurance industry is already trying to raise its sexiness quotient.

Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA), for example, is launching a new Technical Academy, created to strengthen 'technical mastery' in underwriting, claims and actuarial areas.

Gittings points to a Chartered Insurance Institute initiative designed to address misconceptions about insurance so its recruiters can come out of the shadows and start flaunting their wares.

Higher starting salaries might give them more to exhibit.

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