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Insurance Career Gains Appeal Despite Industry Challenges

By Duffett, Claire

An aging, baby-boomer population is making insurance a high-demand, lucrative career, says Milton Hill, recruitment director for Guardian Life Insurance's East Syracuse office.

Insurance-carrier employment is expected to increase 9.5 percent and add 215,000 new jobs by 2015, while broker jobs within agencies arc expected to jump 19.5 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Insurance carriers downsizing their sales staffs as more agents set up their own businesses is causing this shift to more individual practitioners.

However, this trend might reverse because of new industry regulations rnaking it more difficult for small practitioners to do their jobs, says Timothy Dodge, director of research at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York, Inc. Dodge works from the statewide trade organization's, headquarters on Widewaters Parkway in DeWitt.

Recent bid-rigging settlements between the state and major carriers will most directly affect small insurance agencies, because the settlements interrupt contingent commissions, which are these firms' main source of compensation, he explains.

Although the trend has been the reverse in the past several years, Dodge anticipates more industry consolidation going forward, he says.

In the past three years, Guardian Life's Hill has hired five new agents annually, bringing his office's total employment to 25 full-timers.

The surge in hiring is an attempt to accommodate the firm's growing business and meet the demands of the aging baby-boomer population.

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