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“It makes conversations less intimidating”

“It makes conversations less intimidating” | Insurance Business America

What could provide a massive boost to your insurance career?

Insurance News


The insurance industry is aging with more and more older practitioners opting to retire early, leaving behind swathes of vacancies. According to research from Burton Recruitment, the number of insurance sector vacancies in 2022 soared by 74% year-on-year, pushing firms towards historically neglected talent pools.

One way of championing your own home grown talent is through mentorship programs. Research from Forbes found that mentees are promoted five times more often than those without mentors, with 70% of businesses reporting an increase in productivity due to mentoring.

“Mentoring opportunities provide networking opportunities to young professionals – which is crucial for their advancement in our industry,” said Tiara Morris (pictured), underwriting consulting director at CNA Insurance. “I believe they gain more confidence [through] interactions with industry executives and professionals – it makes the conversations less intimidating. They’re also able to better navigate their career path through exposure based on their personality and interest.”

Speaking to IB, Morris highlighted the reciprocal nature of mentorship, wherein mentors also learn from their mentees, particularly from the tech-savvy Gen Z cohort.

“As both a mentor and mentee myself, Gen Z has influenced me a lot,” she explained. “They’re always finding a quicker and simpler way to accomplish tasks. I’ve learned things about Word and Excel that I didn’t know – and I’m surprised I didn’t know it – but I’ve learned so many basic things.”

Mentors and mentees

This mutually beneficial partnership has also been proven to increase morale and decrease turnover – something that firms are valuing more and more with the current economic uncertainty. Research from Moving Ahead found that 87% of mentors and mentees feel empowered by their partnership, leading to an increase in mutual confidence.

For Morris, her belief in mentorship also extends to being an advocate for diversity and inclusion. As the chair of the NAAIA DFW Foundation – an extension of the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the National African American Insurance Association (NAAIA) – Morris has seen firsthand the transformative power of championing diversity in the sector. According to research form RSM, Black or African American individuals represent just 11.8% of insurance sales agents, up from nine per cent in 2010.

With a legacy spanning over a decade, the NAAIA DFW foundation has been instrumental in empowering minority students through scholarship programs and community outreach initiatives.

“We have financial goals that we want to achieve,” added Morris. “And then we also want to expand our philanthropic efforts beyond scholarships to support minority nonprofits and various causes, and contribute to disaster recovery relief within our local community.”

Annually, the foundation hosts a scholarship luncheon with the express intention of attracting high school students into the industry. And while insurance historically might not have been seen as a super popular choice for the younger generations, Morris is certainly seeing a lot more interest of late.

“Each year we give out scholarship awards and the proceeds from the scholarship luncheon go to additional scholarship awards for the following year and our endowment fund,” said Morris. “Our goal is to continue to raise money for endowment funds so we can award more scholarships, so we can do even more work in the community.

“All of this is done through volunteers. With the recent establishment of the board of directors, it gave us more of a strategic focus on fundraising for the endowment and increasing our efforts in the community.”

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