Does “10,000 hour Rule” apply to careers in Insurance industry?


Does “10,000 hour Rule” apply to careers in Insurance industry?

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.”  The question the arises does this 10,000 hour rule apply to all industries?

Specifically does the “10,000 hour Rule” apply to careers in Insurance industry?

 

 

The Math

His data seems to support the case that it takes time and patience to become an expert in your chosen field.   10,000 hours for a normal insurance professional at 40 hour work week is 250 weeks or around 5 years (assuming 2 weeks vacation per year).  Some young employees spend more time and work harder to try and advance their career progression in the insurance industry.  But we will use 5 years on the average for our math and argument.

 

The Question

Is 5 years enough experience in the insurance industry to achieve greatness?

 

Data

Insurance Cycles

Most industries are cyclical to some extent. The property/casualty (P/C) insurance industry cycle is characterized by periods of soft market conditions, in which premium rates are stable or falling and insurance is readily available, and by periods of hard market conditions, where rates rise, coverage may be more difficult to find and insurers’ profits increase.

The Insurance cycle can last 5-7 years between shifts from hard to soft insurance cycle or peak to trough.  Depending on when you start and where in the industry, your first 5 years could be in one cycle of the insurance business.

Does “10,000 hour Rule” apply to careers in Insurance industry?

Relationships

The insurance industry is a business that requires trust and strong relationships.  Two It takes time to build meaningful relationships in the insurance business.   According to the Harvard Business Review, business relationships require certain foundations for success.   Simple feelings like Mutual admiration and respect take time.  The amount of time is difficult to quantify but it’s not days or weeks, most industry veterans report years of working with a business counter-party or colleague as the benchmark as the measurement of their relationship.

 

Loss development 

Similar to insurance cycles, loss development takes time to determine how actual compares to expected results.  Therefore adverse loss development on long tail lines of business (i.e. Workers Compensation) can take longer than 5 years to determine.  If insurance professionals are knowledge based workers, the assumption they gain knowledge overtime correlates to the fact that loss development helps inform decisions.

 

Thoughts

I recommend reading the book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell, however, I don’t think the “10,000 hour Rule” applies to greatness regarding careers in the Insurance industry, it may require more time….however, by 15- 20,000 hours or 7.5-10 years – every insurance professional should be prepared for greatness.   This is enough time to have enough meaningful experiences to understand relationships, industry results, development, hard/soft market cycle, failure, etc.  Therefore, greatness has the potential to be achieved but those young professionals racing to 10,000 hours might be better served by realizing it is a marathon not a sprint.

The expectations of young insurance industry employees and prospects must be set correctly by mentors, managers, and senior leadership.  For the young industry insider planning their career in insurance,  I would recommend the following personality traits:

  • Patience
  • Enthusiasm
  • Optimism

There are plenty of opportunities to grow to greatness in the insurance industry within 5 years.  Read the top industry books, obtain advanced degrees, insurance designations, consistently work hard, & produce continued success – will all help advance your career and prepare you for greatness.  This post is not supposed to be demoralizing, more that CEO’s and leaders should work to help young industry professionals manage their expectations.

 

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