Considering the number of redundancies within key life insurance companies in the UK over the past 18 months, it seems strange to be painting it as a particular area of growth. However, life companies are tipped to bolster headcount more than any other sector in insurance. So, where are they hiring?
While most areas of insurance are looking to grow, within life insurance a net 80% of respondents to the latest PwC/CBI financial services survey said that they’re intending to add to their headcount in the next three months.
The sector hasn’t exactly been showing signs of buoyancy recently, however. Aegon cut 600 staff in the UK last year, Friends Provident is still making redundancies as it retreats back to Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai and Aviva continues to pare back headcount.
Nonetheless, recruiters suggest that hiring in the sector is steady across the board, but heating up in particular areas. These are the top five.
1. Sales and distribution positions as a result of RDR
We’ve mentioned previously that the retail distribution review has prompted many life insurers to bolster their headcount for strategic positions on the impact of the regulation. However, there’s also a push to shake-up their sales and distribution models, says Mark Dainty, managing director of insurance-focused recruiters High Finance Group.
“The sales functions are being brought back in-house, which is leading to a lot of recruitment in this area, while a push to more direct distribution is driving recruitment in this area,” he says.
2. Actuaries for business as usual positions
The Solvency II actuary recruitment bubble is fast-becoming a distant memory, and the potential extension of the deadline for implementation is only going to reduce the urgency to get people on board for those companies who have yet to get their models in line. Increasingly, however, actuaries are now being recruited for business as usual positions, suggests Jonathan Evans, insurance consultant at Hanover Search.
“The inflated salaries that were offered to actuaries over the last 24 months as life insurers grappled with Solvency II has now abated. Instead, demand has remained stable for actuaries coming in for permanent positions focusing on more immediate business concerns,” he says.
3. Finance change positions
Much of the focus of Solvency II preparation has been on the Pillar 1 and 2 elements of the regulation, which has resulted in the increased demand for actuaries. Now, however, insurers are have to turn their attention to Pillar 3, which focuses on producing reports for the public and the regulators in an attempt to increase transparency.
“We’re seeing a big push among life insurance firms to increase their accountancy headcount, particularly those who can think strategically about the implications of Solvency II and can develop their reporting requirements accordingly,” says Dainty.
4. Pensions consultancy positions
The implications of auto-enrolment into pension schemes in the UK is likely to lead to increase in demand for life assurance products in the “immediate future”, suggests Andy Dallas, director of Robert Half Financial Services’ insurance practice.
“Many companies are hiring technical consultants for the front office, sales side, as experienced, qualified individuals are required to explain the intricacies of the new offerings,” he says.
5. Technology integration positions
“A lot of the larger life insurance firms have creaking legacy systems across multiple countries and that have undergone numerous mergers or acquisitions,” says Dainty. “There’s an ongoing need to bring in technology professionals to integrate and scale down these platforms.”