How MGAs and PAs can win the battle for talent

The talent crunch, the great resignation, the quiet quitting movement, the battle for talent, or however you choose to describe the phenomenon, has industries around the globe struggling with a serious labor shortage.

As part of our Carrier Practice strategy, we work with managing general agents (MGAs), program administrators (PAs), carriers, and service providers that focus on insurance products targeted to a niche market or class, generally representing a book of similar risks placed with one carrier. The MGA and PA markets will certainly be impacted by talent gap issues affecting the industry over the next few years, and it will become more important than ever to find new strategies for accessing and retaining claims experts.

Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to managing employee recruitment and retention is crucial to the survival of MGAs and PAs. To help with this, we’ve put together five top strategies that can be employed to ensure you are attracting, motivating, and retaining the right people for the job.

  1. Offering flexibility in the workplace

A desire for the elusive work–life balance is a growing driver for many employees, as many now seek a workplace that can fit around their lives. While offices are focused on driving teams back to buildings, many workforces would prefer to stay remote or maintain partly remote working conditions. This tension can increase the risk of losing talent. Competition in the MGA and PA markets is fierce, and employees won’t hesitate to join a competitor offering flexible working arrangements that are better suited to their needs.

Flexible and remote working arrangements are now important factors in becoming the employer of choice. Investing in the right systems that enable remote working, alongside accessible support resources and virtual collaboration, will heavily improve your desirability as an employer.

Work–life balance policies can provide MGAs and PAs with a variety of options to embrace changing attitudes toward work. Some effective yet simple examples include greater work-from-home entitlements, flexible working hours, and a condensed biweekly schedule. Other opportunities include options for contract, freelance, or job sharing to accommodate changing lifestyles, such as parents with young children, employees caring for their elders, or maturing employees transitioning into retirement.

  1. Understanding generational differences to attract talent

Attracting the next generation of talent to the industry has, up to this point, proven a challenge that many MGAs and PAs are trying to solve.

There are generational differences between Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z and as a leader, it is important to recognize the various value contributions and skill sets typically instilled in each of these groups. Understanding the work habits and traits of different generations can help you design relevant strategies for recruitment, personnel management, and retention planning.

As Gen Z has entered the workforce, it is important to recognize that they offer different values than their predecessors. These young professionals value clear direction, transparency, and mentorship from leaders and gravitate toward progressive workplaces that offer diversity, flexibility, and social responsibility (source: 5 Generations in the Workplace: Their Values and Differences |

Establishing systems that support emerging technologies and innovation, as well as creating a culture with a progressive attitude, will help leverage your workplace against the competition and make it one where people want to thrive and be valued. As talent exiting the insurance industry is going to be at a record high in the next few years, it will be more important than ever to focus on attracting and developing younger employees.

  1. Expanding your talent pool while recruiting

Due to increased competition for top talent, there is a critical skills gap in the MGA and PA industry for experts who live and breathe underwriting and claims specialization.

One strategy to overcome this gap is to emphasize a recruitment approach that matches candidates with career opportunities that suit their skill set (technical skills, ability to analyze data, comfort with emerging technology, customer service mindset, etc.) and offer an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

When you broaden your talent pool beyond the traditional confines of those in the carrier industry, you can find professionals with the right mindset to complement the workforce. This will be successful only if accompanied by an effective onboarding program, through which new employees with no direct experience are equipped with the right tools for ensuring a successful career.

  1. Bolstering retention through a job well done

The C-suite, executives, managers, and frontline supervisors all need to be aware that it is common for current staff to be actively seeking external opportunities. And even if they aren’t, it is wise to undertake the concept of re-recruiting. This idea aligns with leaders being engaged, empathetic, and interested in the development of their employees’ careers. Leaders should act as if staff are looking elsewhere and provide them with a vision that encourages them to stay, pursue internal job promotions, and cross-share knowledge.

Creating a stronger connection with your employees by offering them vision, direction, and guidance will show them that they matter. Studies demonstrate that while monetary earnings are critical, so too are job satisfaction, engagement, and creating internal motivation through nonmonetary rewards that incentivize team members to take action and succeed. This internal motivation helps your colleagues feel valued and act accordingly. Studies show that 9 out of 10 employees are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning and satisfaction at work, which is more than just a paycheck. They also desire respect, recognition, responsibility, and meaning in their work to stay motivated. (source: How the Power of Psychic Income Motivates Agents to Succeed).

In addition, recognition of a job well done using rewards such as bonuses, an extra day off, public kudos on the company website, and other benefits can improve job satisfaction, engagement, and support. It is important to recognize that benefits may not be one-size-fits-all, so you will need to ensure your approach is rewarding and meaningful to the employees.

  1. Engaging a TPA to support great talent retention and recruitment

If you are struggling to solve the various issues surrounding recruitment and retention, partnering with a TPA can help. Gallagher Bassett is well versed and experienced across the start-up marketplace, the mid-market space, and the established program model. Not all MGAs and PAs have been in the business for extended periods, so a strategic partner can help with brand recognition and reputation in a particular niche. Our best practice approach to combating the talent crunch enables our partners to tap into a larger pool of experts when needed.

Download our FREE eBook to access more smart strategies and help position your business as a leader in the industry. Contact us today to see how partnering with GB can help alleviate your resourcing pressures by allowing our team to become an extension of your own.


Amy O'Brien

VP - Carrier Practice Sales

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