Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Scot's Blogs Have Moved to CSG Website

Thanks for visiting my blog! I have started contributing content directly to Capstone Search Group’s Blog at http://www.csgrecruiting.com/blogs. Please visit the BLOG to read my posts plus more form other contributors at Capstone Search Group.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Technology Creates Yet Another Challenge For Parents

Okay, so this writing comes from the parental side of my brain.  It most definitely has impact on the insurance community. 

The new smartphone app Pokémon Go begins with a warning screen. It is not a parental warning about violence. It is not a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that kids should limit their gaming to about two hours daily. Pokémon Go wants players to avoid physical trauma.

While mobile games can be dangerously absorbing to begin with, playing them while walking down the street poses significant risks.

If that were not bad enough, criminals have already found a way to exploit the game. Reports of players being attacked, robbed and hospitalized are emerging. Players can send a “beacon” to other users via the game, signifying that a Pokémon might by nearby. It is feared this feature could be hijacked by criminals.

Security experts are warning that hundreds of thousands of people desperate to play the game are downloading unofficial versions which contain malware which reveals to criminals the entire contents of their phone, including their location. 

Risks of Playing the Game:

Robberies or abduction
A group of 11 youngsters were robbed in Missouri after criminals sent a beacon to a secluded area by using the game’s location technology to create a signal at a “Pokéstop” - a location that players can visit to replenish in-game supplies. Fears are now building that the game could be used by pedophiles to lure children into remote areas.

Personal injury
A number of players have reported injuring themselves while using the game. The main concerns here involve children not looking as they cross the road and wandering away from their parents into hazardous locations where they may hurt themselves.

Nasty findings
In the US, trying to catch Pokémon led a teenager to a dead body in a river.

Data theft
Experts are warning that fake versions of the game are designed by criminals who want to steal people’s data. Consumers who download versions containing malware risk the entire contents of their phone being stolen.

Additional reading can be found on this subject on propertycasualty360.com

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

How To Determine an Appropriate Salary Range?



Can you possibly advise a salary range? I worked with another recruiter who advised that I was currently on the low end for salary.


Hi Candidate,

Recruiters need to be careful what they say.  Everything has a context to it and everything is relative.  Companies vary in their base salary structures just as they vary in the non-guaranteed part of the comp.  One cannot simply make a statement as that recruiter made.  What is the reference point?  Salaries vary by the type of the organization.  However even within carriers, salaries are going to vary. A national carrier for example may have a different salary structure than a small carrier writing in three states.  The comparisons go on and on.  So again, to simply make a blanket statement as was made to you is reckless.

A better way to put it would be, there are carriers that may pay more than you are currently making.  There are carriers that may be paying the same as you are making.

You have shy of two years of commercial lines underwriting experience.  So the question is, what would someone expect as a typical base salary in your geographic area with a similar carrier and given two years of commercial lines underwriting experience?  You are presently at $50k on base.  Could you make more elsewhere?  Yes you could. Salaries could be anywhere from $55k to $60k. But they could be less. 

You stated that your salary expectations are $70k. For two years of experience, that is typically going to exceed the majority of carriers’ ranges for that experience.

But the real question regarding our specific situation comes down to internal equity.  The client carrier cannot justify bringing in someone with two years of experience at $70k when they have underwriters on staff with the same or more experience that are not making $70k.

Again, all things are relative and must be considered in the context of the specific scenario being considered.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ever Wonder Why You Don't Get Job Interview Feedback?

What 3 things should the candidate expect from the employer before, during and after an interview?

1.      “Yes, we’d like to continue the conversation” or “No” within five business days after each interview.
2.      An understanding of the pay range for the position before their first in-person interview.
3.      Time allowed in the interview for the job-seeker to ask questions.

I have not included post-interview feedback explaining why they didn’t get the job.  The exception to that however is when the candidate is presented by a recruiter.  It is part of the recruiter’s job to serve as a resource and advocate to the candidate.  Part of that service is being able to provide feedback to candidates regarding their interviews.  What I’m referring to is things such as:

1.      The candidate came in unprepared.
2.      The candidate was not properly dressed for the interview.
3.      The candidate gave us the sense that they were not truly interested in the position.
4.      The candidate had no questions for us.
5.      The candidate used profanity.
6.      The candidate was argumentative.

The potential possibilities could go on and on.  But these are types of things that the recruiter can discuss with the candidate to help coach them on their preparation or presentation skills.  Or can tell the recruiter that this is not a candidate they should even be representing depending on the actual feedback.

Not providing specific interview feedback directly to the candidate is not because job applicants can’t handle the truth or would rush to find a lawyer and try to sue every employer who didn’t hire them once they find out the reason.  But instead, truthfully, hiring decisions aren’t typically clear-cut.

You might not appreciate the feedback. You might feel that it was too subjective, but hiring is subjective. It has to be, because knowledge jobs aren’t cut and dried.

It can be very tough to choose between two competent job applicants. Sometimes one person gets the nod because they sent in a thank-you note or because they have glowing references from two vendors the company does business with.

That information is private. The Human Resources Manager can’t tell you, “Two of our vendors spoke highly of the person we hired, and none of our vendors recommended you.” The information that came from those vendors is relevant to a hiring decision.

A job search can be full of disappointments. There’s a lot that employers can do to make the experience more pleasant for job-seekers.

You deserve to know promptly when you’re not getting a job that you’ve interviewed for, but not necessarily the specific details of the hiring decision. Most likely, you didn’t do anything wrong in your interview — it’s just that someone else gave the hiring manager and his or her colleagues a stronger feeling that they understand the role and can step into it and make a difference.

Go over the interview and think about what you said and what they said and what you’d do differently the next time. That doesn’t mean you messed anything up.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fireworks Safety Tips to Prevent Injuries and Property Damage

In the United States alone, each year fireworks cause an estimated 15,600 reported fires, including 1,400 total structure fires, 200 vehicle fires and 14,000 outside and other fires. These fires result in an estimated $21 million in direct property damage.

230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.

Will your home insurance cover fireworks injuries and damage?

Most home insurance policies provide several different types of protection — each with varying payout limits. Also, there are different types of accidents. 

If you're shooting off illegal fireworks and set fire to your house, you may not be covered. Most policies exclude damage resulting from illegal acts or when you purposely caused injury or damage.

If fireworks set fire to leaves in your gutter, a section of your home insurance policy for fire incidents could cover the damage. Fireworks that malfunction and injure a friend on your property could be covered under a section for medical payments to others. Likewise, liability payments could cover your fireworks accidentally shooting into your neighbor’s house and breaking a window.

But if you get into a bottle-rocket war and injure someone, you may not be covered because the incident was intentional.

Safety Tips

·  Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
·  Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
·  A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
·  Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
·  Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
·  Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
·  Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
·  Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
·  Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
·  Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
·  Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
·  Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July Holiday!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Does Every One of Us Have Room For Improvement?

I hated every minute of the training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” 
Muhammad Ali

Self-development starts from your mind, your thoughts, your ideas. Your opinions are what shape you and make you into what you are. This is your battleground. This is where you must focus if you want to change your life. There’s always room for improvement. Some of us may have been given this advice by well-meaning friends or family. Do you need to make changes in your career, your life, your health? Whatever your need, there really is room for improvement for most of us. Take the below quotes for example.

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
Benjamin Franklin
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry.  He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Martin Luther King

“If you want more, you have to require more from yourself.”
Dr Phil

“No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you've come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  

It’s true; every one of us has room for improvement….

How To Bring Out Your Own Talent from Bruce Kasanoff at Forbes

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

10 Areas Where Passion Can Meet Purpose in an Insurance Industry Job

As fulfilling as it is on multiple levels, a career in insurance is not one that most young people intentionally pursue. Ask anyone who has spent more than a few years in the industry and he or she will tell you that they fell into it, but that they truly enjoy it. Why is this the case??  Largely because college students are not exposed to the wide variety of potential career options within the insurance industry.  When I was a senior in college and was conducting on-campus interviews with potential employers, I avoided the insurance companies coming on campus. The reason was….I thought they were looking for sales people.  I had no interest in selling insurance.  What I didn’t know, however, was the vast opportunities the industry actually holds for those coming out of college.

The insurance industry actually allows you to discover where your passion meets purpose.

What are you passionate about? The insurance industry can provide you with the foundation for a successful and rewarding professional career that helps you find purpose each and every day. Take a look at the below 10 example of where you might find your passion.

Love numbers? Hone your skills and gain the experience you need to start a career in one of the top ranked jobs in America.

Like helping people? Experience a broad range of opportunities across all personal and commercial lines of business.

Enterprise Risk
Are you logical, analytical, cautious? Develop a broad range of risk management skills as you progress in your career.

So is it all about the dollars and cents for you? Gain skills and knowledge to empower business partners and stakeholders with valuable insights.

Human Resources
Are you a people person? Learn what human resource professionals do and see where a career in this field could take you.

Investment Management
Enjoy complexity? Develop analytical skills and expertise in securities, markets, economics, and portfolio risk analysis.

Interested in engaging in assignments that focus on developing your marketing and advertising capabilities, broadening your knowledge of the company, brand, and business lines and products?

Operations & Technology
Are you an organizer? Gain operational management skills that support organizational strategy. Are you into technology? Grow your technical skills and stay at the leading edge of your field.

Product Management
Do you love solving complex problems? Does a competitive environment energize you? Start a rewarding career in product management.

Are you analytical? Jump-start your future in underwriting by building a solid foundation that could lead to a long-term career path within the industry.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Networking to Get a Job

Networking in everyday life is not necessarily an obvious concept. Networking as a term is most prominently found in popular business literature.

Traditional networking contains these elements: 
  • One connects to other people.
  • Making a good impression.
  • It takes place at events.
  • It is goal-oriented.

Consider this universal truth of networking: Before you can get what you want, you have to know what you want, and make a game plan to get it. Networking in everyday life shares a number of features with the tradition networking you typically see in business: it involves connections with a set of individuals, there are contexts for action, and there are undoubtedly benefits from the interactions.

Humans are pro-social, interested in making contact with each other and sharing information and support. Obviously, not every person wants to support, share or exchange with all other people, but virtually all humans want to share with someone.

Personal situation...When we are looking for a painter to do some work around our house we often turn to networking for recommendations from others. Same holds true when we need work done on our auto.  Seeking a contractor for other home related projects.  Or perhaps we are looking for a good Italian restaurant.  Networking is embedded into our daily lives as social beings...

Recently I was networking with insurance professionals I know seeking out ideas and recommendations for an opportunity I am working on for a client company.  I engaged with a professional I had previously assisted when they were looking for a new job.  I was quite surprised when this individual responded to me that they thought me reaching out to network with them was unprofessional. Yet I ask the question, "Wasn’t this very person networking with me for opportunities when they contacted me about their own job search previously?"

Everyone wants to meet someone. Networking is a way to access otherwise inaccessible people.

Networking is the number one way to get a job. 60-80% of jobs are found through some element of networking. A personal connection to a hiring manager is the best way to get your resume on the top of the pile. Think about 10 of your employed friends, how many of them got their job through a form of networking??

Networking keeps you sharp, current, and in touch with your industry. Your career should never be stagnant. Even if you plan on staying in a given job indefinitely – why not make your business the best and the busiest? Before making a leap into another career, what better way than to talk to people who know?

When you’re talking to a friend of a friend, it’s unlikely that the friend’s friend is going to lead you on or tell you half-truths. You can more or less expect to get the full story. If you’re talking about a job opportunity – you’ll hear about the hours, the boss, coworkers, etc.

It’s all very simple…
  • A good network is a two-way street of helpful relationships.
  • In every social situation you’re in, make sure people leave knowing who you are, what service/skills you provide, and how to get a hold of you.
  • Karmic payoff.  You help others, others will help you. Everyone likes people who are helpful – so good things will likely come to those people. Reciprocity is the golden rule and focuses on how to translate relationships into personal success.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

U.S. News and World Report's List of Top Insurance Colleges

#1 University of Pennsylvania - PHILADELPHIA, PA
Founded by Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is a private institution in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Students can study in one of four schools that grant undergraduate degrees: Arts and Sciences, Nursing, Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Wharton.

#2 University of Georgia - ATHENS, GA
University of Georgia is a public institution that was founded in 1785. The school has 38.8 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students, and the student-faculty ratio at University of Georgia is 18:1.

#3 St. Joseph's University PHILADELPHIA, PA
St. Joseph's University was established in 1851 as a private institution. St. Joseph's University follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered selective.

A public institution, University of Wisconsin--Madison was founded in 1848. University of Wisconsin--Madison offers a Greek system, where 8 percent of the student body is involved in a sorority and 9 percent is involved in a fraternity.

#5 Temple University - PHILADELPHIA, PA
Temple University is an urban college in Philadelphia that offers around 300 student organizations. Center City, a hub of shopping and city life, is about two miles from campus.

#6 Georgia State University - ATLANTA, GA
Georgia State University, located in downtown Atlanta, is one of the largest universities in Georgia. To help ease the college transition, first-year students can opt into the Freshman Learning Communities program, which groups students based on shared interests.

#7 Florida State University - TALLAHASSEE, FL
At Florida State University, a public school in Tallahassee, students have more than 550 organizations to consider joining. The Florida State Seminoles sports teams compete in the NCAA Division I and are especially known for baseball and football.

#8 New York University - NEW YORK, NY
New York University was established in 1831 as a private institution. New York University follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

A public institution, University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign was founded in 1867. University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign offers a Greek system, where 23 percent of the student body is involved in a sorority and 23 percent is involved in a fraternity.

#10 University of Texas--Austin - AUSTIN, TX
University of Texas--Austin has a total undergraduate enrollment of 39,523, with a gender distribution of 48.2 percent male students and 51.8 percent female students. At this school, 19 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 81 percent of students live off campus.

#11 University of South Carolina - COLUMBIA, SC
At the University of South Carolina, freshmen students are eased into college life through University 101, a transition program pioneered at the school. The Columbia campus is the flagship location for the University of South Carolina system.

#12: Tie: Illinois State University - NORMAL, IL
Located about 130 miles southwest of Chicago, the Illinois State University campus is in the town of Normal. First-year students at ISU can take the Learning in Communities seminar, allowing them to attend one of their first college courses in small groups with their peers and learn about each other and the university.

#12: Tie: Pennsylvania State University--University Park - UNIVERSITY PARK, PA
Pennsylvania State University--University Park was established in 1855 as a public institution. Pennsylvania State University--University Park follows a semester-based academic calendar and its admissions are considered more selective.

4 Reasons College Graduates Should Consider an Insurance Career

College graduates may not think of insurance as the most glamorous industry in America, but the insurance industry does offer stability, challenge and growth to those who choose the profession. I realize not a lot of college students today are saying, “I can’t wait to work in insurance.” However, to the college graduates, there are a lot of benefits and advantages in insurance that you don’t have in other industries! Take the following four as examples:

The talent in the insurance industry is graying. It is estimated that nearly 60% of the insurance industry’s current employees are older than the age of 45 and that by the year 2020, there will be more than 400,000 job opportunities. Those are some substantial numbers and these numbers are on many insurance employers’ mind. The industry is hungry for young, driven talent to fill the pipelines before their current staff disappears.

Job Security
The insurance industry provides a considerable amount of job security. There will always be a need for insurance. Insurance is fairly recession-proof because insurance companies tend to be fiscally conservative and Americans need insurance whether the economy is up or down. And since insurance firms are often mutual companies they can launch sophisticated and aggressive information technology strategies, routinely support safety education and tend to have close ties to their local communities.

Job Variety
Insurance is everywhere! You won’t be limited to a particular list of major cities. The insurance industry is a major U.S. employer, providing some 2.5 million jobs that encompass a wide variety of careers, from human resource administrators to public relations managers to financial analysts. Some jobs, such as claims adjusters, actuaries and insurance underwriters, are unique to the insurance industry. Whatever your passion is, you can pursue it in the insurance field. Many sales and underwriting professionals in the industry pursue their interest specializing in advising for not-for-profit organizations, tech companies, medical professionals, breweries, etc. Being able to relate and understand how a business works is the essential feature of what makes an insurance professional great.

The insurance industry serves to protect people’s financial situation. Insurance is all about managing risk and providing financial compensation in the event of a loss. You will find insurance organizations are commonly committed to serving the communities where they do business. Insurance companies rebuild lives and lifestyles after disasters, improve and support education in communities, and dedicate themselves to a culture of active communal engagement and volunteerism throughout the country.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

How Much Work is Too Much Work?

A new study tracking employees’ work habits discovered that employees who took short breaks of around 15 minutes every hour were much more productive than those who tried to power through without stopping.  So how much work is too much work?? Do workers reach a point when an excessive amount of work so fatigues them mentally and physically that their productivity takes a hit and their health declines?

Here is an article from Hire-Intelligence outlining just how much work is too much work...
When Does Work Become Unproductive and Unhealthy?

Friday, May 20, 2016

1099 vs W2: The Employer Perspective

From an employer's perspective, it's often preferable to hire contractors instead of employees. For one thing, they won't have to pay for all the benefits they would offer employees, such as health insurance and perhaps life insurance, not to mention bonuses, stock options, 401(k) plan contributions, and so on. It can also be much easier to terminate a relationship with a contractor than with an employee.

The issue has increasingly been in the news, as many companies are increasing their proportion of contractors in order to spend less on staffing. Employers generally make these choices well within the law, but some have been accused of classifying workers who should be considered employees as contractors instead.

The IRS has issued guidelines on the matter, saying, "If you have the right to control or direct not only what is to be done, but also how it is to be done, then your workers are most likely employees." Meanwhile, "If you can direct or control only the result of the work done -- and not the means and methods of accomplishing the result -- then your workers are probably independent contractors." The distinction is important because there are penalties for misclassification.

But there is an answer. 

As an employer, you can avoid penalties for misclassification. Capstone Contract Solutions is a unique contract firm for insurance professionals - we provide insurance professionals on demand.  We help our clients fill interim needs in specialized disciplines while employing the same quality recruiting techniques utilized in our permanent search process. You avoid the hassles of misclassification as well as other related things such as payroll, etc. 

Contract insurance professionals can be a cost effective solution to your business’ critical staffing needs.  Faced with the necessity of project-specific labor services, many companies are finding contract services an effective means of alleviating short and long term staffing needs. We can help.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What You Need to Know About Overtime Rules

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed changes to the overtime rules is expected to be released as early as this month – under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The proposed rules bump the salary threshold for overtime-exempt employees from $23,600/year to $50,440/year. If the final rules stay the same as the proposed rules, employees currently working in overtime-exempt positions who make less than $50,440 will now be entitled to overtime pay.

It’s possible the final rules could include a lower threshold – $47,000/year instead of $50,440 – but even if that’s the case, it will still mean a big jump. Employers will have to decide whether to increase workers’ salaries to make them exempt from overtime or reclassify them as non-exempt.

And since many employers have different benefit structures for hourly and salaried workers, if some employees need to be reclassified as non-exempt they could see their benefits affected.

So what do you need to know about overtime rules?

This proposal represents a 113% immediate increase plus an annual increase. The proposed overtime rule would initially raise the salary threshold defining which employees must be paid overtime by 113%, from $23,600 to $50,440. In addition, the DOL has proposed increasing this minimum salary on an annual basis.

The proposal will impact millions of workers and cost billions to businesses. According to the DOL, the rule will affect over 10 million workers – workers who may see their workplace flexibility diminished or a loss in other benefits they rely on, says the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO). The National Retail Federation estimates retail and restaurant businesses will see an increase of more than $8.4 billion per year in costs.

The implementation window is very short. As proposed, the implementation timeline for this rule is only 60 days, which will place a massive burden on HR departments and organizations scrambling to comply, according to the PPWO.

Many employees will need to be demoted. This change could force employers to reclassify professional employees from salaried to hourly – including many managers and those with advanced degrees – resulting in a loss in benefits, bonuses, and flexibility, and a reduction in professional opportunities.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Social Media Being Used For Insurance Investigations

Insurance investigators are making more use of the cyber world to expose scammers. There are so many people using social media now that the sites are routinely monitored for evidence of fraud.

Social media is an amazing tool. In fact, it's become standard practice for insurance fraud investigators to use powerful data mining software to comb through hundreds of social media sites.

From Facebook, to dating sites, to Twitter, officials are looking for evidence of fraud.


  • An Arizona woman pleaded guilty after a Facebook photo showed her wearing wedding rings she claimed she had lost while swimming in the ocean.
  • An Ohio man collected $30,000 in benefits after claiming he was too badly injured to work. Photos on Facebook led investigators to his gym, where undercover cameras caught him bench pressing five hundred pounds.

People cannot resist the impulse to share the details of their lives with millions of strangers on social media sites. As to whether this represents a privacy issue, at this time the courts routinely allow investigators to mine social media sites. The position seems to be that when you're posting your exploits in front of tens of millions of people to freely see, that's not privacy anymore.

Always be careful of what you post to your social media profiles!  These days, more than ever, insurers and law enforcement officials are increasingly monitoring social media posts to check for insurance fraud. The use of social media monitoring has exploded in the insurance industry.  Insurance claims adjusters view social media as a gold mine for their investigations.

Not only do insurance claims adjusters look for proof that your claim isn’t fraudulent, they also might look to see pictures of what your car looked like before the accident.  If you were injured during the accident, adjusters might look at your pictures and status updates to see how the accident has affected your life.  They could also search social media for potential witnesses to the accident.

Whatever situation you’re in, if you find yourself filing an insurance claim after a car accident, it is a best practice to avoid posting about it on social media.  It’s even smarter to avoid accepting “friend requests” from strangers. The extra boost in your friend count is not worth it!

If you are involved in an auto accident, or plan on making any type of insurance claim, for that matter, make sure you comb through your social media profiles with a fine-toothed comb.  You never know who could be watching!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Benefits of Surveillance, Social Media in Workers’ Comp Claims Investigations

Social media is deeply integrated into our society.  Individuals and businesses alike are using these applications to connect. From following celebrities to scoring deals from your favorite stores, the use of social media extends far and wide, all from the touch of your smart phone or click of the mouse. Despite the ever-growing applications for social media, one thing remains constant: people are using various websites and applications to share their lives online. In fact, many people use multiple social media applications simultaneously to share posts and photographs, and the “#” symbol has taken on a whole new meaning with the ability to “hash tag” reference any word or phrase. While the information available through these applications can seem overwhelming, such content can be an extremely important resource when handling and defending against personal injury claims and lawsuits.

In addition, social media can also be used along with surveillance in the investigation of suspicious work comp claims. Though using surveillance in claims handling can be an expensive, it is still an invaluable tool.

Social media can add value in an investigation by offering a photo of the injured person so the subject can be correctly identified prior to surveillance. In addition, investigators can use social media sites to documents activities in which the injured may be involved. If there is a question as to the residence of an individual, social media may reveal a photo taken in front of a house. Through online research, the address can be determined and verified.

Good read on this topic can be found HERE from Claims Journal.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Toxic Coworkers

Most of us understand how toxic it can be to interact with negative people. Their dreary outlook on life can drag us down. And, their pessimistic attitudes can, too often, discourage us from giving our best or taking the necessary steps to improve our future success. Toxic people can disrupt our lives and create negative thoughts within ourselves, even side tracking our own success.

Perhaps one of the most useful things you can do is to define your space and how much you are going to allow others to influence you. Often, negative people find it easy to encroach on other people by joining in on conversations--whether in person or even through social media--that are never welcome. The most effective way to eliminate as much pessimism as possible is by simply setting limits within the parts of your life to which negative people have access. Keep your sanity and create boundaries to protect yourself.

While it's important, and human, to spend some of your time helping others with their problems, it's impossible to help them win every battle. Choose whether it's more important to help your friend figure out why they are so dissatisfied with their current job, or help him get through his latest breakup. You'll exhaust yourself trying to fix all of your friend's problems or daily issues. And, it is possible that placing the negative complaints on pause for a few hours--or a couple days--can bring about a resolution without your involvement at all.

Surround yourself with people that make you happy. People who infuse your life with positivity--make these positive friends a much bigger part of your life than your negative friends. Being bombarded by a constant stream of negativity can take a toll on even the most easygoing person, so protect yourself from that potential burnout by adding quality time with those who uplift your spirits and encourage you to do great things.

Most negative people don't even realize how they are coming across. Create a positive spin on things for your negative friend. Sharing something positive can help your negative friend open their eyes to their own negativity and, hopefully, help them focus more on the positives in their lives.

Finally, what appears to be the most successful tactic of all is finding positivity within yourself. As hard as it may be, don't let the negative words or actions of others get to you. Maintain positive energy regardless of what happens--smile in the face of adversity--by replacing negative thoughts with positive.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Filling Seats in Your Company's C-Suite

Looking to fill a seat in your company’s C-suite isn’t your average hiring process. The next “chief” of any of your departments will be making decisions that shape the current company culture and the future of your business. The repercussions of a bad C-level hire will spill over into every level below and can even turn off loyal clients and potential customers.

Take the time to look for the right candidate, consider more than the resume, be clear in your job description about what you want and need.  Here are a few tips for hiring c-level executives so you'll be happy with your new CFO or COO:

LOOK INTERNALLY FIRST: With someone who's going to be managing as much as a C-level executive, it's often best to source internally. Your final choice would already have a strong grasp of the company, its needs, and its culture, which is what you need from your hire. This person would also best be able to take the company in the direction that it needs to be in. Sourcing internally also boost morale, as it means that several people within your company will get a promotion.

FOCUS ON THE COMPANY'S VISION: If you do decide to search externally for your new executive, make sure to find someone who shares in the company’s vision. This is true for a startup as well as a larger enterprise, as the new hire won't be a good fit if he/she doesn't fully believe in what the business is trying to accomplish. This can include traits in the executive that fit with company culture and mission.

INVOLVE OTHERS IN THE FINAL DECISION: Since this new c-level executive will be the boss of a lot of people, and probably people who have been with the company a while, make sure that they play a role in deciding their new boss. If your company has a board of directors, make sure to involve them, too. By leaving the decision to just one person, it might not be a good one if the new hire can't earn the respect or trust of those under his management, or has trouble fitting his/her leadership style into the department or company.

PREPARE FOR THE TRANSITION: This is one of the best practices for hiring just about anybody, but it's especially important for c-level hires. If the person is new to the company, or even new to such a management role, you need to give the hire, and everyone else, some preparation and time to adjust. Make sure everyone understands that there will be a change, and make sure current employees give the new hire a chance to do their job and to lead the team.

Monday, April 4, 2016

College Recruiting Strategy

The number of insurance-related job openings between 2016 – 2024, as estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, will be roughly 584,000.

Our industry is currently 2.5 million strong and growing steadily—but there is simply not enough incoming new talent in the pipeline to meet this demand. As much as 25% of the industry could be ready to retire by 2018, and there are not enough graduates to replace retiring employees.

Unfortunately the message highlighting the benefits of working within our industry has not yet reached young talent. This provides us with a challenge requiring industry representatives to begin raising awareness of insurance careers.

In part, if you want to attract recent college graduates to your company, new data shows that the message isn’t about selling them so much on the job itself, but where that job can take them.
Research shows that young talent want their first job to be a stepping-stone in their career, not just something that pays the bills.

College students and recent college graduates care a great deal more about how the job would advance their career and the development opportunities it offers than compensation.

Compensation was cited by 61% of students and recent college graduates as a key factor to taking a job, but that was 6% lower than those already in the work force for a period of time.

Meanwhile, students and recent graduates cited career path 11% more often and development 9% more often as a key factor to taking a new job, when compared to those same currently employed professionals.

Generally, the lowest-paid position a person will have in their career is their first one out of college. What’s more valuable in the long run to them is learning skills in that first job that will lead to a higher-paying, higher-prestige position.

Of course people will always care about what they are paid, their work-life balance, and the culture of your organization, but if you don’t want to compete on salary (and you shouldn’t), a winning recruiting strategy is to show off the skills a young hire can learn at your organization.  You don’t want your main selling point in recruiting to be compensation. Instead, you want to sell the job itself, with the compensation being an additional bonus.

To execute that strategy you need to understand what the person is looking for. In the case of recent college graduates, it’s really a position that will advance their career.

So when you are building your college recruiting strategy be sure there’s a clear story around how your company will help them in the years down the line.

Source of data and statistics: Bureau of Labor Statistics and LinkedIn Survey

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Underwriting Staffing Challenge

Our firm, Capstone Search Group, has taken over the underwriting recruiting for Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance’s Human Resources department. On their behalf we are seeking Commercial Multi-line Underwriters in NJ, PA, CA, IL and VA. This is an example of one Client Company looking for alternative ways to resolve their talent shortage.

The insurance industry has been impacted in many ways by the last few years of record unemployment rates, company downsizings and lay-offs.  The industry now faces a new challenge: an emerging talent crisis.

Starting around 2008 companies slowly stopped hiring new talent which no longer placed new blood into the training pipeline. Developing the next generation of underwriting talent was absent. Fast forward to 2015/2016 and we are now experiencing the trend everyone has been talking about, the baby boomer brain drain. 

This phenomenon has created the most competitive recruiting environment the industry has ever faced. Nowhere is this lack of talent felt more than within the underwriting function.

Developing the next generation of underwriting talent has become a priority for many insurance carriers. In addition to help soften the impact of the shortage of talent, companies are looking to alternatives such as implementing interim staffing strategies to meet immediate needs.

The demand for underwriting talent has skyrocketed in recent years as insurers look to improve profitability. Based on a 2013 study by Deloitte, a growth rate for insurance underwriters of nearly 6 percent through 2020 and add in a replacement rate of 32.6 percent (well above the national average for job openings resulting from retiring workers or other permanent vacancies) and it is clear that the underwriting function faces a dire need for talent. Unfortunately, the supply of insurance underwriters fails to keep pace with the increased industry demand.

Underwriting ranks in the top three functions where companies are most likely to increase staff. As the demand continues to grow, the recruitment difficulties facing organizations will only intensify.

Today’s young professionals are drawn to careers in industries that have been more aggressive in their recruitment efforts and are often perceived as more attractive or glamorous. In order to combat this, insurers must focus on proactively engaging and educating students on the opportunities they may have within the underwriting industry. Social media sites and other forums that young professionals frequent must be used to help this education process. On campus career fairs must appeal to the young professionals coming out of college. Through initiatives such as these insurers will be able to successfully combat the skills shortage and attract young, fresh talent to the underwriting field.

Beyond the development of the next generation of underwriting talent, many organizations have immediate needs to address. The key lies in rethinking current workforce strategies. Contract Underwriting Professionals can help ease the work load.  There are many Underwriting professionals available ready to meet the growing demand. Traditionally these professionals have been relied upon to fill unexpected vacancies or to assist with short term projects. However, they present a unique solution to the growing skills gap, with insurers turning to these professionals as trainers or as a complement or even supplement to their traditional permanent employees.