Five ways to attract and keep top insurance agency talent

September 15, 2023

Building a strong team is a crucial part of running a successful independent insurance agency. This is especially true in times of economic uncertainty. Having the right people in place can help your agency continue to win when things get tough. With recent shifts in the U.S. market, it’s a good time for insurance agency leaders to rethink strategies for employee recruitment and retention.

In a recent study, more than half of the surveyed agency principals said finding and recruiting talent is one of the biggest challenges they face in managing their agency.[1] The survey also asked insurance agency employees about the top things they look for in a job. The answers reveal some key ways agents can attract and retain talent.

No. 1: Focus on stability

Employees across industries want to feel that their job provides stability. With job-seekers facing a tough market in 2023, the stability of the insurance industry could help agencies attract candidates from outside the industry.

Insurance has a lower unemployment rate than other industries and a lower rate of job hopping, which suggests higher job satisfaction. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employees in this industry tend to stay in their roles longer than workers in other industries.[2]

No. 2: Offer parental leave

One in four agency employees (and more than one in two millennial employees) is a parent to young children.[3] So perhaps it’s not surprising that agency employees listed parental leave as one of the top things they want in a job.

Robust family leave policies can help agency owners retain employees and support their career growth through different stages of their lives. The recent Agent for the Future report on the state of women in insurance agencies found that parental leave and options for flexibility can be especially important in retaining women, who make up nearly 60% of agency employees.[4]

No. 3: Create paths for career growth

The insurance industry offers opportunities for growth in a variety of career paths. Offering continuing education and career development opportunities can help agency owners increase employee engagement and satisfaction.

It also can help them attract the next generation of talent. More than half of the millennial and Gen Z agency employees surveyed said they aspire to be a leader in their agency, and 62% listed “inspiring leadership to provide mentorship and career guidance” as the top characteristic they want in a job.[5] Investing in mentorship programs, networking opportunities and ongoing training can help agency owners create a pipeline of qualified leaders by empowering employees to reach their full potential.

No. 4: Provide flexibility

Most agency staff members are satisfied with the flexibility their agency allows. However, agency employees would prefer to work remotely more than they do currently. About half of agency employees reported that they are back in the office full-time, but 62% said they would prefer to work from home at least one day a week.[6]

Agency front-line staff members are more likely than leaders to say they are more productive, happier and have a better work-life balance when they work from home. Offering options for flexibility may help agency owners increase employee satisfaction and attract job candidates.

No. 5: Invest in your community

Insurance agency talent is drawn to companies that are highly involved in their communities. This is good news for independent insurance agencies.

Advertising things like community involvement, parental leave and career development opportunities in job postings could help independent insurance agents attract candidates from inside and outside the industry who share their agency’s values. And, investing in benefits that make employees feel secure and supported will help agencies attract top-tier talent and create resilient teams that are dedicated to seeing the agency succeed.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of PIA Magazine.


[1] Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance surveyed more than 1,100 independent insurance agency leaders and team members for its 2023 Agency Growth Study (bit.ly/45Lczp3).

[2] Business Insurance, 2022 (bit.ly/43KBJSM)

[3] Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance, 2023 Agency Growth Study (bit.ly/45Lczp3)

[4] Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance, 2023 (www.agentforthefuture.com/women2023)

[5] Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance, 2023 Agency Growth Study (bit.ly/45Lczp3)

[6] Ibid.

Carl Canales
Safeco Insurance

Carl Canales is the senior vice president & field executive of the Northeast Region for Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance, which recently released the results of a survey of 600 agents and brokers about the digital capabilities they use and how they impact their businesses (Rise of the Digital Insurance Agency). Carl is responsible for the growth and profitability of Safeco’s personal lines and Liberty Mutual’s business lines within the region He has been in the insurance industry since 2001, most recently as Safeco’s Northeast region general manager. He served prior executive roles in Liberty Mutual commercial lines underwriting, distribution, agency and broker strategy, and marketing.

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