‘I am looking at what we need to do to attract the next generation of talent’

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s newly elected president Julian James says he plans to focus his tenure on encouraging younger generations to consider a career in insurance.

Speaking to Money Marketing in his first interview as CII president, Lockton Companies International chief executive James says he is keen to build on the CII’s work in promoting “the next generation of talent”.

He says: “I am not naive about this, I know the reality is that there are probably not that many teenagers saying, ’I really want to work in the insurance industry’ as it is not exactly the sexy end of financial services.

“But having spent 30 years working in this industry, I know it can offer people an exciting career. It is intellectually challenging and a global industry.”

The CII has been making a push over recent years to speak to university students and those at school about a career in insurance. James aims to build on the professional body’s Discover Risk initiative, which encourages school students to analyse risk through games and interaction.

James says: “As my year unfolds, I will be talking about what we need to be doing as an industry to attract the next generation of talent. There is a role the CII can play in looking beyond the short-term outlook companies have and actually thinking about where the talent is going to come from in the next 30 or 40 years.”

P3 Wealth Management managing director Frank O’Donnell believes the CII should focus its efforts on bringing in new advisers to sell insurance products instead.

He says: “It is all very well bringing in actuaries and underwriters but that is all behind-the-scenes work. There is a real need for people at the front end. It is pointless having all these people in the background without the business coming through from advisers because otherwise those people in the background will be out of a job.”