Producer employment headed for historic threshold

Producer employment headed for historic threshold

Producer employment headed for historic threshold

Despite relatively stable employment trends in the insurance industry for the past 15 years, the producer sector is humming along at a healthy pitch. In fact, recent trends indicate producers will soon hit a historical job growth peak.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ October 2013 report, employment was up 1.2% for insurance agents and brokers, compared to August 2012. That’s 7,600 jobs added since last year, and 2,100 jobs added since July 2013.

Despite fears that the producer role is headed for the career graveyard, analysts note that the independent agent and broker sector is actually heading for a previous employment peak.

“Agent and broker employment, currently 667,900, is heading for the prior peak of 679,300, set in July 2007,” noted Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute.  

Those figures stand in contrast with those of the life insurer sector, which shed 13,100 jobs in the same time period, and the claims adjuster segment, which fell by 3,900 jobs.

Only reinsurers, property/casualty insurers, and health and medical insurers experienced more job growth than producers in the past 14 months. This growth was unusual for the health insurance sector, which has flat-lined since the 2008 recession.

Hartwig believe health insurers, who added 16,000 jobs since July, are responding to anticipated business growth stemming from Obamacare.

“Some of this growth might be in anticipation of a flood of health insurance applications and purchases as the Affordable Care Act takes full effect later this year and early next year,” he said.

Despite the historic numbers of brokers and agents on the market, Hartwig says producers shouldn’t look for any unusual or long-term trends for the sector. Late summer is typically a boom time for producers, he noted.

“This is fairly typical,” Hartwig said. “In the 24 Augusts starting in 1990, for example, agent/broker employment grew 14 times, was flat two times, and fell eight times.”