Michigan Independent Agency Survey Results 2014/15

Michigan Independent Agency Survey 2015

Michigan Spring and Millennials are in Bloom!

Hiring Trends

Our independent agency clients have entered a new era of staffing. We are seeing a significant increase in hiring of candidates with little to no insurance experience. In 2014, 12.5% of our placements with independent agencies were with candidates who possessed little to no insurance experience. The first quarter of 2015 saw that percentage increase to over 20%. The most common entry points have been production, employee benefit analysts, and reception/administrative roles with an eye toward training them in either personal or commercial lines. We have also seen an increase in career transitions with the appropriate educational background. For example, financial analysts in other industries who can apply their skill set within the employee benefits area.

Compensation 

Salaries are climbing in commercial lines and employee benefits in particular. Below are the averages we are seeing with new hires. When the positions involve very large/complex accounts, self-funding experience, or marketing/client facing skills, we are seeing up to $90k in the commercial lines and employee benefit account manager positions.

Compensation by position – Average
Position 2014
Commercial AM$55-70k
Commercial CSR/Tech$42-50k
Personal AM$35-50k
Emp. Benefits AM$55-70k
Emp. Benefits CSR$45-60k
Analyst
Agency/Operations$70-90k
Manager

Staff

The average headcount has remained relatively stable, with a slight increase over 2013. However, agencies have reported an anticipated retirement rate of 27% of their current staff within the next 10 years. Several agencies have started to train new people so that they have a “bench” in place. Every industry is going to be in an eventual race for talent as we face a high retirement rate and a shortage of qualified employees.

Flex Time / Remote Office

We have not seen an increase in flex time or working remotely. This is an area that Millennials are going to impact. This generation expects more flexibility in their work schedule. When the shortage is great enough, accommodating that is going to be important to attracting and retaining talent. 

Summary 

Michigan independent agencies are financially healthy. There has been steady growth, with most agencies reporting an increase in overall revenue of at least 5%. Staffing levels have remained steady, but hiring to replace retiring employees has increased. This is a trend we see continuing well into the next decade. The new workforce is more educated and has a thirst for technology and team based work philosophies. They are blurring the lines between professional and personal life much more than prior generations, both with scheduling and with overall work relationships. An investment now in updating HR practices and tuning into the Millennials will be time well spent as we move toward 2020 when it is estimated that almost half of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials. That’s only 5 years away!