Next In Line: Millennials Weigh In on Gen Z Staffers

Millennials are no longer the youngest generation in the workforce.

Born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s, members of Generation Z are already graduating high school and college—and could be looking for a job at your agency.

As their immediate predecessors in the office, millennial insurance agents are ready to welcome Gen Zs into the fold. But they also have a few concerns about what it will take for this cohort to succeed as employees of the insurance industry.

Here are the top three:

1) Desktop skills. Ben Jones, Jr., partner at Jones Insurance Services in Thibodaux, Louisiana, believes the biggest difference between millennials and Gen Zs is the latter group’s lack of computer literacy.

He’s not talking about digital and mobile skills—for the first generation to grow up with smartphones, those are a given.

“When I’m talking to kids nowadays, they know how to use an iPhone and an iPad and anything with a touchscreen, but they don’t know how to use Excel,” explains Jones, 29. “They don’t know those basic skills that are still 100% used in the workforce.”

2) People skills. Adam Heuer, president of Heuer Insurance Agency in Sparks, Nevada, says his 16-month-old son can’t speak a full sentence—but has no problem unlocking a phone and taking pictures.

“I worry that generation is really disconnecting with people,” says Heuer, 33. “In this industry, you have to be able to talk to anybody at any time about anything, and it’s not through headphones playing a video game. It’s not Snapchatting. It’s an actual conversation.”

3) Storytelling skills. As more InsurTechs threaten to disrupt the industry, Anais Babajanian, principal of ATAB Insurance Services in Houston, believes Gen Z agents will have their work cut out for them when it comes to selling simpler personal lines policies.

At a time when “you can buy renters insurance in five minutes from Lemonade,” Babajanian says Gen Z will have to “really differentiate themselves to sell more products” to their own peer group.

“They’re going to have to elevate their level of knowledge and storytelling to convince people to purchase insurance from an agent directly,” predicts Babajanian, 27. “The digital age is only getting more and more advanced.”

Jacquelyn Connelly is IA senior editor.

Guiding Lights

As Gen Z enters a workforce where baby boomers are still going strong, Veneé Galloway, commercial risk manager at Brock Norton Insurance Agency in Chantilly, Virginia, believes millennials are uniquely positioned to “bridge the gap.”

“That’s where millennials come into play, because we’ve already figured out how to do it,” says Galloway, 33.

“As we step into these leadership roles, we can use those skills to shape how we communicate with each other between generations.” —J.C.