Three Reasons Why Insurance Account Managers are Burning Out

Since the beginning of this year, I have been hearing a drumbeat of unhappiness from the insurance account managers that we interact with on a daily basis in our executive search and coaching practice. 

My top three reasons:

  1. Private Equity:  Private equity (we all know the players) are busily gobbling up as many DMV insurance agencies as they can get their hands on.  And once they do?  Oh boy. 

Following any acquisition there follows the usual reorganization and staff cutbacks.  This is done to drive EBITDA (bottom line earnings).  Hey, it’s what private equity does, right?  Their #1 goal is not employee satisfaction.  It is making money. 

What happens next is predictable…they leave sales alone, but immediately cut the support staff.  They reduce a department by several account managers and expect the remaining folks to pick up the slack.  People generally follow orders so their workload just increased by 20% or more. 

I know this because the first question I always ask a candidate during the initial interview is, “Why are you unhappy in your current position…?” 

Per my records, in 83% of the time, the answer is along the lines of, “We were acquired and now I am being asked to do much more for the same compensation…I routinely work at night and on weekends now…no help in sight.” 

This is precisely why your top talent walks out the door when a recruiter calls.

Solution?  Communicate with your account management staff on a regular basis to proactively understand their workload.  An unhappy account manager leads to an unhappy client leads to lost revenue.  It’s your bottom line.

  • Remote Work Environment:  We all know that there will be slackers taking advantage of the remote work environment, but the fact is all recent studies indicate that workers actually work more hours when working remotely. 

The issue for remote workers is that there is no beginning or end to their work day.  If the job is not done, your top talent will keep working.  It’s what top talent does.  It’s who they are. 

Solution?  Use software to keep track of the hours your remote workers are putting in.  They will experience burnout after consistently working 55+ hours per week.  These are not highly motivated business owners willingly working day and night to create wealth.  These are people with families.

  • Employee Benefits is getting more complex:  The past three candidates I interviewed told me the same thing:  EB is getting increasingly complicated AND complex.  They cited regulations, compliance, increased paperwork, and the increasing complexity of self-funding and related new product offerings. 

On top of points #1 and #2 above, EB account managers are telling us that there simply is not enough time in the day to manage a book of business and provide timely solutions to their clients.  This leads to burnout and frustration because most account managers are very service-oriented and want to satisfy their clients.

Solution?  Consider having your EB subject matter expert in the department take on some coaching/mentoring responsibilities (with a slight bump in pay) to make sure the lesser-experienced staff understands the increasing complexity of employee benefits.  Also encourage and incentivize staff to engage in continuing education and obtain work-specific certifications.  Pay them to do this.

I always welcome your valuable input, ideas, and thoughts.

Rob Houghton

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