Younger agents: burden or bellwether?

By Christina Pellett

Agent's Sales Journal (Summit Business Media)


The other day, a reader called to take one of our recent contributors to task for a piece on the virtues of reaching out to the Gen Y market. The caller’s issue didn’t have as much to do with the suggestion to market and sell products to this set of consumers as it did the idea that agents should hire younger producers to sell to younger prospects and clients.

“I actually went out of my way to hire somebody from Gen Y, thinking they would be able to sell to their own group,” our caller said. “But they just couldn’t figure it out. Maybe if they turned off their TVs…”

Later in the call, this reader conceded that he doesn’t need to agree with everything in our magazine — and I wholeheartedly concur! But his feedback made me wonder whether it’s worth condemning an entire generation of prospective employees based on potentially isolated experiences.

In an article featured in our January print edition, “Where Have All the Agents Gone?” we explore the driving factors behind the paltry number of younger agents entering the insurance industry. It speaks precisely to the caller’s concerns: Why hire these agents when none of them stick around?

It also begs the question, however: Do younger agents have lower retention because they’re part of Gen Y and “watch too much TV,” rather than applying themselves? Or does the industry itself fall short in retaining quality agents and molding them into top producers?

And if it’s the latter, is the industry failing to connect with only younger producers, or with all new recruits?

It’s worth paying attention to the possible factors behind the low retention and low recruitment activity. Are carriers using outdated training methods? Is the industry really giving new producers the tools they need in order to succeed? And are companies properly marketing those tools in order to attract valuable rookies to their ranks?

As you move forward in the new year, ask yourself how innovative you’ve become. Ask yourself if your preconceptions or poor past experiences are holding you back from letting something new into your world.

Ask yourself if you really have what it takes to succeed, or if you’re just too stuck in the past.