Agent hiring pushing on despite global pandemic

by Leo Almazora20 May 2020

As people’s demand for life and health insurance products has increased, agency-building companies aren’t letting the COVID-19 pandemic hamper their recruitment efforts, according to a new poll from LIMRA.

The poll, which covers both U.S. and Canadian companies, included questions regarding agency recruitment efforts during the COVID-19 crisis, the challenges they’ve encountered, and the strategies they’ve adopted.

According to Margaret Honan, assistant research director at LIMRA, companies on both sides of the border submitted nearly identical responses to all questions.

“Both countries said that they’re recruiting as they’ve always done except in recent weeks it’s being done virtually,” Honan told Life and Health Professional.

Most companies are engaging with candidates through virtual platforms such as Zoom in light of social-distancing guidelines. Training and sourcing of candidates, the poll revealed, is happening through both traditional methods, such as Zip Recruiter and LinkedIn, as well as new means including virtual conferencing, telephone interviews, and virtual classrooms.

Frequent check-ins, virtual meetings, and phone calls have become part of an established process to keep candidates involved in lieu of face-to-face meetings, according to the poll. Many companies are also eyeing increased use of digital signatures for submissions of business.

And while some states have allowed for temporary licenses, the closure of testing centers for new recruits is a challenge. “Because of licensing centres being closed, [companies are] getting candidates to study for their exams so they’ll be ready once centres open up,” Honan said. To sidestep the hurdle of licensing, she said some companies are focusing more on advisors from other firms rather than “fresh-peas” inexperienced ones.

But in spite of difficulties in getting newer agents licensed, nearly two thirds of companies (65%) said they are choosing not to focus their efforts on acquiring more experienced agents. Companies have also seen an increase in interested candidates as unemployment has gone up, Honan said.

Hiring new, inexperienced advisors has some benefits, she added. Greenhorns are easier to orient with respect to a company’s ‘culture’ and ways of doing business, compared to veterans who may already have set ways to do things.

“New hires require more hand-holding, sometimes joint work, mentoring, but if the selection process is good, firms will find the right candidate for their system,” Honan said.