Insurance professor weighs in on current job market trends

Dr. David Marlett, IIANC Professor of Insurance and Managing Director of Appalachian State University's Brantley Risk & Insurance Center was featured in a recent article from about "what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate."

The featured panelists offered advice on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here's what Dr. Marlett had to say about the coronavirus, potential cities to work in and the impact of technology on the field of insurance.

Will there be an enduring impact of the coronavirus pandemic on graduates?
Unfortunately, there will be an enduring impact on graduates. First, most of the internships last summer were either canceled or shifted to an online format. Most of our students typically have a robust, engaging experience in an office or the field. They missed out on this experience, and possible job offers afterward.

Also, we cannot travel, so they are not attending professional conferences like we usually do. Our international study abroad programs have been canceled as well, so they miss out on that experience. Lastly, the online teaching format is functional, but not as rich an experience as in person. The higher-end and committed students are doing fine, but the rest are struggling. This is a time when it is particularly crucial for students to be motivated and willing to go the extra mile.

Are there any particularly good places in the United States for graduates to find work opportunities in this field after they graduate?
Our graduates are finding jobs throughout the country. Given our geographic footprint and degree, Richmond, Charlotte, and Atlanta are the hot spots.

How do you envision technology impacting this field in the next 5 years?
The impact of technology is going to be massive in insurance like all other professions. Risk identification is going to be more accurate because of the new sources of data and better analytics. Claims will be handled faster using AI, remote working, and drones. Jobs are going to change; skill sets will need to be updated. It will be easier for the current students and recent graduates, in my opinion. We are racing to keep our curriculum current and doing our best to prepare students. They are also just more naturally comfortable with technology and not as upset about moving away from the traditional system.

Read the other experts' advice.