Do you have a need for recruiting and hiring great talent?  Do you have a succession plan in place if workers leave or retire?

Agents and insurance companies share this common need: attracting and hiring qualified employees.  Thanks to new legislation signed by Governor Scott on June 16th, the process is going to be much easier.

The centerpiece of House Bill 1133 is workforce development.  It aims to create a college-to-career pathway for students.  Simply put, by taking qualifying coursework and obtaining an associate’s degree that includes nine credit hours of approved insurance instruction, the DFS will waive the personal lines agent license state exam.

This legislation didn’t magically appear from fairy dust.  The Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) was instrumental in creating and getting the legislation on the governor’s desk.  The FAIA Good Works Fund was created in 2009 as a way to align Florida pre-licensing and college coursework to attract students to the insurance industry.

Thompson Baker Agency (St. Augustine) knows all about this program.  They partnered with St. Johns River State College in 2008.  Greg Baker received the FAIA 2015 Chairman’s Award for his work on establishing insurance specialization courses.  Scarborough Company Insurance (Gainesville) and Tower Hill President Joel Curran (CPCU Society) were key to getting a similar program off the ground at Santa Fe College.

As the instructor for the insurance curriculum in Santa Fe’s risk management specialization, I can tell you firsthand the values of this program.  Students receive instruction in three areas: overview of the insurance industry (all lines), personal lines insurance, and commercial insurance.  Just think of a candidate applying for your opening that already has this experience right out of college!

With the new legislation, hopefully more colleges and universities in Florida will offer these programs.  According to Property Casualty 360, the average age among insurance agents is 59, and one-fourth of the insurance industry’s workforce will retire by 2018.  By investing in the education of young talent in our communities, we can ensure the industry has a steady influx of new talent to drive us into the future.