Insurance university society broadens reach in digital era

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The looming insurance talent gap -- hundreds of thousands of jobs are likely to turn over by the end of the decade -- is top-of-mind for many carrier executives. While filling existing positions is going to be a challenge on its own, insurers also are looking to increase their adoption of digital technologies to meet changing customer and employee demands.

It's in this environment that Gamma Iota Sigma (Gamma), an insurance-focused college fraternity with chapters at 70 schools, is ramping up its focus on a wider range of majors. Noelle Codispoti, who was hired as the organization's first CEO in 2011 -- it previously had subsisted solely on volunteer work -- says that an infusion of awareness has benefited Gamma immensely and is helping it meet its member companies' needs.

"Previously, we were focused on converting students to risk-management majors," she explains. "Not every student around the country was seeing the complete picture of the industry. It provides a unique opportunity to expose a new segment of the workforce that innovation is happening -- to showcase from a fun perspective what great careers are available in insurance."

Gamma launched several digitally focused initiatives this year, including a virtual job fair event that showcased a wide range of jobs and was attended by 700 students, and a scholarship in which 10 students are given paid accomodations to the InsureTech Connect conference in Las Vegas. Codispoti says that next up is the "Boots on the Ground" program, where Gamma reaches out to alumni and encourages them to go to a local school and speak about how the insurance vertical offers opportunities for their horizontal major. The organization provides templates to help professionals prepare their presentations.

"If you think about it, there's lots of opportunity -- someone who insures a lot of antiques could go speak to an art history class," she says. Gamma also encourages chapters to form alliances with other student groups and find ways to get in with their students with information about insurance opportunites.

"For example, bring in a chief communications officer from an insurance company and inviting students in the local [American Marketing Association] college chapter to hear what someone who has a passion for marketing has done in insurance," Codispoti explains, noting that insurance companies don't have as large an amount of entry-level positions in tech, marketing and other digital realms as other industries: "If we’re not going to get them at entry level, we can make a name for ourelves so when they do have job experience, making a switch to insurance as an industry won’t be a big leap."

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