How insurers can engage the people behind the profession

In the court of public opinion, insurance firms are commonly painted with the same brush: marred by red tape, paperwork heavy, interested in turning a tidy profit.  

The UK insurance industry has also faced challenges from within, with the FCA previously identifying evidence of conduct risk and non-financial misconduct. This has likely discouraged some emerging professionals from pursuing careers in this space. 

Therein lies an urgent communications challenge. 

We have previously covered the macro factors impacting the insurance industry, and the increasing search and media interest around it. However, insurers must also look inwards, acknowledge the persistent perception gap between firms and the stakeholders that support their talent pipelines, and reassess whether their current communications strategies are helping them bridge that gap. 

Tackling the insurance industry’s perception problem

We are faced with growing and fast-evolving risks on multiple fronts, including tighter financing conditions, cyber threats and growing ESG mandates, so consumers and businesses need tailored protection. With this comes clear opportunities to create new, specialist service lines, which will need a ready workforce. 

Some recruitment firms, such as Burton Recruitment, go so far as to say talent acquisition and retention within the insurance sector is at a ‘crisis point’. It’s the result of prolonged talent scarcity for insurers, with workplace attrition reaching 18% for some leading UK insurance firms in 2023, while in 2022 industry vacancies increased by 74% compared to the year prior. 

Encouraging prospective talent to consider and act upon these job opportunities should first involve raising awareness of the positive industry change and opportunities afoot. Existing PR messaging may prioritise communicating to industry and direct to consumer audiences, but with the right tailoring and evidence base these can resonate for employer branding too. 

Communicating to the people behind the profession

For insurers and intermediaries that have been making concerted efforts to respond to dynamic market conditions, create more positive workplace cultures and refine organisational processes, this internal housekeeping is only half the battle. The more effective and proactive communications strategies include considerations around how to engage key audiences, such as top talent, where they are.  

As an example, research conducted through GWI reveals that Gen Zs with university degrees and Millennial working professionals over-index compared to the overall UK population when it comes to discovering brands through earned media, over an organisation’s owned media channels. Interestingly, while these two demographics also over index on consuming news from the national business press, there are also pockets of regional and consumer media publications that they turn to, to read up on general news. 

It’s a simple but sometimes overlooked consideration that professionals are general consumers as well.  

Let’s not forget that insurers and their intermediaries manage claims that ultimately have a real impact on people. As such, the insurance industry is better placed that most to go beyond corporate announcements in the business pages. Sharing compelling human-interest stories that resonate with readers who could be future employees, business partners and customers could prove a valuable strand of any insurers’ corporate positioning. 

Creating spaces for open engagement

Positioning your brand as a driver of new and exciting specialist workstreams can exist outside of media engagement as well. Insurance is a people-centric industry, so creating spaces to connect on a more personal level can encourage openness to sharing industry insights and best practice can add a more creative flair to existing strategic communications. 

Panel discussions, events, industry and university initiatives and actively engaging with partners in key emerging specialist sectors can all offer routes to engaging hearts and minds about the possibilities within the sector.  

Couple this with a media approach spanning national, business, insurance industry and vertical press, and insurance providers can better strengthen more widespread awareness of the good work being done. 

A tipping point?

Ultimately, the insurance industry finds itself at a critical junction. A busy claims year and the rise of specialist insurance demand, means the industry can no longer ignore persistent, negative narratives. It’s high time that the insurance sphere starts thinking outside the box to engage the right people it so urgently needs to take the industry forward.  

Get in touch with our strategic communications specialists at The PHA Group to discuss how we can support your organisation with engaging core stakeholders. 

Get in touch with the team