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Zurich NA expands apprenticeship program amid industry talent crunch

Zurich logo New York.jpg

Zurich North America has expanded its apprenticeship program, which will more than double in size across US cities in 2022.

CEO Kristof Terryn announced the expansion plans at a virtual Chicago Apprentice Network event.

He said Zurich will hire approximately 70 apprentices in at least nine cities where the carrier has offices, including Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Overland Park (Kansas), Philadelphia, San Francisco and Schaumburg (Illinois), as well as in certain agricultural areas where Zurich's crop insurance business operates.

Zurich introduced its US apprenticeship program in 2016 and has typically hired 24-30 apprentices in each cohort. It has added focus areas for apprentices over the years.

After opportunities are posted in the first quarter of 2022, apprentices will be hired to work in at least 14 of Zurich's businesses and functions, including claims, underwriting, sales, IT, crop insurance, cyber and other areas.

Apprentices will begin the program in August 2022, the insurer said.

Commenting on the initiative, Terryn said: "It's no secret there's fierce competition for talent right now, but that's not the reason we're expanding.

"We're growing the Zurich apprenticeship program because apprentices have brought value to our business from the very beginning.

“This is a talent source that has proven its value and versatility through many different market conditions, including at the height of the pandemic, when we expanded our program from our suburban Schaumburg headquarters to New York City."

Employment turnover was a hot topic during Q3 2021 conference calls, as broking and carrier CEOs noted that the market for talent has become increasingly competitive.

Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg was among the first to comment on the difficulties with recruiting, telling investment analysts that retention levels at the carrier were down, as he called the recruiting market “difficult” and attributed the turnover in part to the pandemic.

Brown & Brown’s CEO fielded questions on staffing and expense levels, acknowledging the market for talent had become competitive but noting that its retention rates were near all-time highs.

Marsh McLennan CEO Dan Glaser said his company added 5,000 new colleagues in the past year. There have also been anecdotal reports of an uptick in underwriting staff moving in teams.

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