US Underwriter Talent Flow During the Pandemic

Paul O'Brien our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 19 January 2021
The U.S Property and Casualty industry (like many industries in 2020) had to make a number of adjustments to its workforce, ensuring employee wellbeing, support and remote management. Some of those changes were/are temporary, other will become more permanent. Based on research conducted by Hanover, it would be safe to say that 2020 was a mixed bag for staff attrition rates across the insurance industry, with some carriers performing exceptionally well, while others experiencing a “rush for the door”. Was this directly attributable to the pandemic? Or are there other drivers influencing staff turnover during 2020? 

An example of talent flow during 2020 can be captured by looking at P&C Commercial/Specialty Underwriters (excluding reinsurance) across 24 industry recognized carriers (figures are approximates).

  • Total new commercial/specialty underwriting hires in 2020 (Nth America) was 2046. With 2576 departures from the same sample group
  • The highest number of new hires with one carrier was 212 (nationally), with the lowest being 11. 
  • Underwriter attrition rates with carriers varied from an impressive low of 4% up to a high of 28%. Of the 24 carriers analyzed, 58% experienced underwriter attrition rates in the range 5-6%
  • 14 (of 24) carriers finished 2020 with less underwriters in their ranks than when they started the year. 10 carriers experienced a positive net increase in underwriter headcount during the pandemic


In summary, an interesting 12 months which saw some carriers attract more than their fair share of experienced underwriters in the market, whilst others experience above average “churn” with very limited work flexibility (remote) in the future, increased workloads or limited internal career options mentioned multiple times. A sizable number of P&C Underwriters moved in 2020 to MGU’s, Insurtech/startup’s or genuine specialty carriers who are carving out a slice of the market with innovative products, coverage and distribution. 

2021 still presents ongoing challenges in a hardening market but the flow of underwriting talent is set to continue. Hanover as a Talent Solutions Provider has vast experience sourcing the best insurance talent across the region. We have an excellent track record building strong relationships with our clients. We understand what it takes to find, attract and retain top talent and we support our clients at every stage of the process. If you would like to get in touch, please contact us today and take a further look at our insights page for related articles.

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