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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 27, 2018 4 months ago

Insurance firm uses interns to help build future talent pool

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Sarasota-based FCCI Insurance is facing challenges from a general shortage of insurance industry workers.
by: Grier Ferguson Staff Writer

Lakewood Ranch-based commercial property and casualty insurance company FCCI has experienced hiring challenges similar to other industries, from nursing to construction. 

“The insurance industry in general is facing a talent shortage,” says Lisa Krouse, executive vice president and chief human resources and corporate communications officer. She thinks the insurance industry has done a poor job representing itself to young professionals as an industry they might want to build a career in. “We’re working on that,” she adds.

The company, with a presence in 18 states in addition to its local headquarters, does its part with the youth challenge working with University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota to introduce degrees in insurance to help build a pool of potential talent nearby. The company also utilizes colleges and universities as a prime source of interns. Last summer, for example, FCCI hired 24 interns.

“We have a rigorous hiring process for the interns,” Krouse says. The company looks for people with an inclination to make the Sarasota-Manatee area their home. It also vets for behaviors the company looks for in employees. “Not only are we hiring interns,” she says, “We’re hiring future teammates.”

Within the company, FCCI seeks to build up the expertise and skill base of current employees. “As we look at our future, we have built a very robust leadership development curriculum,” Krouse says. The program is offered to employees at the emerging leader level and the executive level. “We are developing leadership capabilities and making sure we have a pipeline of talent to feed needs," she says. 

While an employment gap with some retiring baby boomers looms for FCCI and the insurance industry, Krouse says the ones who remain create a learning opportunity for the company. “We see a blended workforce,” Krouse says. “We’re looking for a collaborative approach. The maturing workforce is staying in the workforce longer. We’re embracing what they bring and leveraging that to bring along our younger professionals.” 

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