Nearly 20% of the American insurance agency system’s workforce is expected to retire by 2018. This huge talent gap threatens the growth and stability of the insurance industry, but the Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) has helped bridge that gap by drafting a recently approved bill passed by the Florida Legislature.
The bill authorizes the Florida Department of Financial Services to waive the state exam for a personal lines agent’s license if the applicant receives an associate’s degree that includes nine credit hours of approved insurance instruction.
College interest in insurance specialization programs is surging with passage of the bill, which creates a more meaningful college-to-career pathway for degree-seeking students who pursue insurance careers. Insurance ranks No. 19 on Florida’s list of “Industries Gaining the Most New Jobs,” and both customer service reps (No. 3) and insurance sales agents (No. 33) rank among the top 100 occupations gaining the most new jobs, considered “high skill, high wage occupations.”
“Between replacement needs and economic growth, insurance workers are in huge demand,” says Greg Baker, chairman of FAIA’s Good Works Fund Committee, which provides financial and organizational support to state colleges that offer insurance specialization programs or seek to put programs in place. “Passage of this bill goes a long way to connecting students looking for viable career opportunities with the agencies that are ready to hire them.”
The Good Works Fund provides financial support to Florida State University’s School of Risk Management, as well as St. Johns River State, St. Pete and Santa Fe colleges, with three more colleges planned to establish insurance programs by fall. Baker says the fund anticipates awarding up to $50,000 in scholarship awards in 2015–2016.