After analyzing a recent Columbus State Community College’s (CSCC) Center for Workforce Development study, which concluded more than 17,000 new jobs in the insurance sector will need to be filled in the next five years, Ohio plans to address the problem with the launch of Insuring Ohio Futures.

With the launch of the Insuring Ohio Futures program and the website, the state of Ohio will begin the process of recruiting the next generation of insurance employees to the industry.

“Closing this talent gap is vital to Ohio’s economy and job creation,” said Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. “I support the efforts of Insuring Ohio Futures to strengthen Ohio’s competitive and growing insurance industry.”

The CSCC study identified career openings at nearly every level of Ohio’s 256 insurance companies. Ohio is the seventh largest insurance state in the nation with more than 100,000 employees and an annual statewide economic impact of nearly $6 billion, according to the Insurance Industry Resource Council, a collaboration of 13 Ohio insurance companies that aligned in 2012 for a statewide career awareness initiative to address the coming industry talent gap.

“While there is not a quick fix to the talent gap, an awareness program is an important first step,” said John Bishop, chairman, president and CEO of The Motorists Insurance Group and co-chair of the Insurance Industry Resource Council (IIRC), the consortium of 13 Ohio insurance companies that have aligned to fund this program. “Insuring Ohio Futures will serve as a catalyst to attract talent to the industry and the website is a fantastic resource for anyone, especially those that have never considered a career in insurance.”

The IIRC identified students, career-change professionals and military veterans as target audiences. While the industry always needs new agents, many of the opportunities identified in the CSCC Center for Workforce Development study include positions such as claims adjuster and investigator, underwriter, actuary, customer service, IT specialist and other infrastructure positions, the IIRC said.

“Baby boomers formed the foundation for our industry’s success,” said Jim Clay, leader of the Westfield Group and co-chair of the IIRC. “Today we need to solidify those gains by giving a new generation the skills needed for this industry to thrive in the future.”

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