Monday, December 8, 2008

Money in the bank

So... the “R” word is in all of the papers, but, as far as I can tell business is as usual (although more cautious) with our clients.

While being particularly concentrated in the commercial lines P&C side, I’ve not noticed a marked drop-off on the personal lines side, or the life and health side, either.

A Lloyd’s exec recently stated (10/08) that he sees our industry as being “recession—proof”.

I would add the caveat that according to many recent industry reports, some are ailing (I won’t name names)!

Life goes on... and if you hide your head in the sand, it can pass you by.

There are likely many great buys (some say the best ever) in the stock market.

I say that if you’re good at what you do, there are a number of great career opportunities out there for you as well.

Harvey Dorland

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Money in the Bank

The good news is that the elections are finally over, holidays are quickly approaching and, it looks like the soft market that’s been driving all sides of the commercial insurance sector crazy may finally take a turn early next year.

Reinsurer and carrier underwriting results have dramatically deteriorated over the past year, excess reserves seem to have been depleted, and investment income for many has gone into the loss column.

Under normal circumstances I would see this tightening of the market (rates) to bode well for those of us in this sector, as all sides (retail, wholesale, carrier) start making more money.

But... the economy will have to stabilize before real improvement becomes noticeable.

Harvey Dorland

Monday, October 20, 2008

Money in the bank

Many of you will face the opportunity / dilemma of the possibility of relocating one or more times during your career, or afterward.

My experiences have been that as long as you are “open” to your new community and neighborhood, and that you recognize that there are likely going to be some differences regardless of where you go, everything will be fine.

It’s the openness and genuineness that will make any move end up being generally smooth.

Friends that you had before will continue as friends, as long as you continue to keep the lines of communication on-going.

And... you’ll find a wealth of new ones in your new neighborhood and office.

You’ll have a new invigoration to your life:

· New people

· New places

· New home

The experience can actually be a very positive influence for you... as long as you don’t fight it every step of the way, and can let loose a bit about yesterday in lieu of looking ahead towards tomorrow.

Kind of interesting in that on the retirement side some 420,000 people go out of State each year.

Harvey Dorland

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Money in the bank

Only captains are supposed to go down with their ship!

Kind of interesting to see what has happened recently, with more expected to come.

Some of our largest, and arguably, most prestigious financial conglomerates, have been taken over, or just disintegrated before our eyes.

In many instances the “captains” are gone, and those that have been manning the oars and lifeboats, so to speak, have been left to salvage the remains.

For the loyalists, many of their stocks have plummeted along with the ship, yet they still hang on.


Yes... I’m sure there are as many individual reasons as there are individuals involved in the question, but the bottom line is that there are many financially secure, well managed, and well funded companies out there, who are still looking for talented people up and down their hierarchies.

Some who stay on board will be fine, but if you haven’t yet taken the time to reevaluate your future situation, and see if there are greener and more secure pastures, I would suggest that with the soft market likely to continue for a while, your time may be running short. (Fewer positions).

So... consider giving yourself some peace of mind by at least checking out your options.

Harvey Dorland

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Money in the Bank....

Another example of my “learn something new” suggestion comes to mind with the following:

While clients are generally negative with resumes that show a steady pattern of job movement (good recruiters have been at work!), many are also negative, believe it or not, with those that have never made a job change!

The stated reason is that these candidates have typically only learned one way of doing things (nothing new), and may likely find themselves having a difficult time learning a new culture and embracing the changes that are typical with career movement.

Harvey Dorland

Friday, August 22, 2008

Money in the Bank....

Everyone's goal, regardless of what their position is, should be to learn something new each day.

I've been recruiting for a long time, and I still take delight (almost glee), when I run into something new that I can add to my knowledge base.

Could be something that has to do with business, or it could be something non-business related.

Doesn't matter.

It gives me a new sense of accomplishment in what otherwise might have been just another mundane day!

It's exciting, and it should be for you also.

Everyone should have a little bit, at least, of an inquisitive mind, and be open to new ideas and learning.

It will not only reinvigorate you on a regular basis but it will also do the same for your career.

Time and again I get references on candidates that say they have 10 years of experience times 1.

In other words... while they've been in the industry for 10 years, their knowledge base hasn't progressed past the first year.

More later.

Harvey Dorland

Friday, August 15, 2008

Money in the Bank....

Job applicants are stretching the truth less frequently on their resumes, but more creatively these days.

Some 40% of resumes, according to 3000 hiring managers who were polled, had a lie of some sort on them (down from 57% in 2000).

38% exaggerated their job responsibilities, 10% listed academic degrees they hadn’t earned.

At even 40%, this is a terrible figure.

Be forewarned... that these untruths , if uncovered after you have been hired, can (and often will) result in being fired.

I had a insurance defense attorney candidate some years back who almost lost their new job when it was discovered they had understated (not overstated) their prior salary, in fear that what they had been making was more than the new employer would want to pay!

Harvey Dorland

Friday, August 8, 2008

Money in the Bank....

I get requests from new candidates (on a regular basis) to find them a position where they can telecommute.

Wouldn’t almost everyone love to do that?!

But... while it is much more a reality today than it was just a year ago, still only 18% of employers allow it.

While I don’t have the statistics to support it, my consensus is that for those that are in this 18% category, the majority are either allowing it for long-term employees that have proven that they can work independently and be trusted, and that the only newly hired ones given the privilege are for positions that are typically not “in-office” jobs in the first place.

For those of you that don’t fall into either of the above categories, all is not lost.

The trend-line is moving up dramatically in your favor, and in a few short years to come my consensus may be outdated.

Harvey Dorland

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Money in the Bank....

Before we sign off (at least for now) on the retirement prep issue, most everything I read says that:

· A bear market during your first 5 years of retirement can doom your chances of your money lasting until you no longer need it.

· A few extra years of work and 401(k) contributions, plus delaying social security benefits, can boost the purchasing power of a 62 year old by as much as 30%.

That’s a pretty substantial amount for someone, in my opinion, that will still be in their prime years!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Money in the Bank....

Over the next 20 years a record of $17 Trillion will move from pension and 401(k) accounts into the hands of new retirees.

The problem is that most recipients are not prepared for the change in landscape from accumulating and saving to spending.

Be careful: Many denizens of the deep out there are salivating at the idea of helping you determine how to spend it.

Probably the first thing that you will need to determine may be among the simplest, but the most daunting if you make the wrong choice, is to determine whether to take a lump sum distribution or payments over time.

Yours truly isn’t going to give you the answer, as everyone’s go-forward situation is different, but finding and cherishing a trusted CPA would be a good step in the right direction (and not one who also doubles as an investment advisor or money manager) – too tangled a web they have!

More later.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What are the top skills needed by the 30 largest Insurance Companies?

IBM and a company called skill proof analyzed all the job postings on the top insurance and financial company websites to see what skill sets are in high demand. The data will be used by colleges to help stir students interested in these industries to get the right education to get the jobs. The results of the survey show the following jobs are in high demand:

1. Actuaries
2. Accountants
3. Financial Analysts
4. Financial Brokers
5. IT

As an insurance recruiter, all of our clients are always looking for these types of backgrounds. If you are drawn to these types of positions, you will have a great career in the insurance industry.

You can view the article here:

Data Reveals Top Skills Employers Seek On Job Posts

Post by Roger Lear of Lear &

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Money in the bank

If you’re approaching, or are already in your 60’s, times and attitudes are changing.

Your highest income years are likely to still be ahead of you.

The Republican Party is asking us to hire a 72 year old CEO (President); Warren Buffet (77), Kirk Kerkorian (91), and Rupert Murdock (77), are the ones that Americans are listening to these days (they’ve been through many of these tough economic cycles before).

So have you!

As baby boomers age, so has the mystique of age also changed.

Forty years ago, the mantra was “don’t trust anyone over 30”...

Soon it may be “don’t trust anyone under 60”!

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Money in the bank

Instead of limiting your spending so you can save what is left, it’s suggested that you decide first what you’ll save, and then learn to live on the rest.

Here are some tips on how to live on the rest.

1. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses.

2. Pay cash. Shopping with plastic profoundly affects your spending by as much as 50% by some estimates.

3. Trading an SUV for a hybrid can save you as much as $2,400 /year.

4. Stock up / buy in bulk when there are sales.

5. Eat more frequently at home.

6. Raise the deductibles on your insurance policies.

7. Save up to $800 / year by checking your tires inflation every month and by maintaining steadier and a little slower speeds.

Harvey Dorland

Monday, June 23, 2008

Money in the bank…

Your credit score can lower or raise your monthly payments on virtually every loan / debt / insurance obligation that you have.

Have you checked it lately? (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax are the 3 major credit reporting agencies, and federal law allows you to get a free report from them once a year).

Potential employers often will consider your score when reviewing your credentials for a new position.

Most consider 850 as a perfect score.

Depending on the type of loan / debt / job that you have (or are seeking), a credit score in the 700’s will typically either save you money or help you procure that position you are seeking.

More later on how to raise your score.

Harvey Dorland

Friday, June 13, 2008

Is it better to be a specialist or a generalist?

From an economic standpoint, the specialist is typically remunerated 20% or more more then the generalist.

By specialist, examples would be a D&O underwriter or broker versus a package one.

Or an HPR engineer versus a middle-market all-lines one.

Or a pension sales person versus a life, health and disability one.

Or a large group person versus a small group or individual person.

But… there are downsides!

The more versatile a candidate is - the more positions there are available.

Some employers have begun, in the past, to bundle… for example… D&O into all professional lines, or, inland marine into fire and general liability, or, workers’ compensation with general liability and auto.

If you don’t know the other lines, your compensation / worth is lessened.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Several years ago I was the guest speaker at a luncheon for thirty or so risk managers.

One of the things we talked about was networking.

This, of course, was not during a period of possible recession, but the same principles apply now as they did then.

Everything I read indicates, other than through yours truly (of course!), that more positions are filled from referrals / people that you know, than any other source.

So…. If you have a network, strengthen it.

If you don’t, start creating one.

The time to do this is while you’re employed, not waiting until it’s too late to get it done effectively.

Monday, June 2, 2008

More on Teammanship:

· The ability to be coached and to coach.

Discuss & negotiate issues in an open and fair manner, and change your position when it’s good for the team. Deal with differences in a constructive manner, being sensitive to the needs of others.

· The ability to influence superiors and be influenced by subordinates.

More next week.

Harvey Dorland

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Money in the Bank

Teammanship is one of the most important traits that your current employer, or new one, are looking for regardless of what position you occupy on the organization chart.

Team skills that include cooperating with others, collaborating on projects, influencing others (but not always having to win), and working on cross-functional teams, can typically represent up to 75% of your workday.

Those that do it well in their current job are rewarded in terms of influence, promotions, and better reviews.

Some tips on doing it well later!

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More recession-proofing ideas:

5. If your boss gets laid off, the higher-ups may not know you well enough to keep you from being vulnerable, also: Stay visible at company events, introduce yourself to execs that you don’t know, and copy them on any laudatory emails from customers / 3rd parties that come your way.

6. Consider a bonus instead of a raise: It makes the bottom-line look better and won’t raise your employers outlay for things that are tied to your salary.

7. Mentor more: You’re more valuable if you can teach others how to fish than just catch the big ones yourself.

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I cringe when I hear a candidate will be interviewed by five or six people at once and that the hiring decision will be made as a group and not solely by the person who will be his/her manager. Why?

1. It is best to be sure that everyone in the interview group have the same vision of the job, duties, the role the position plays in the organization, and the experience and personality traits required to perform in the position. It is my experience this is never the case.

2. Team members may have hidden agendas that influence their decision on a particular candidate. One candidate walked into a team interview to meet a person on the team he declined a promotion for, earlier in their careers. Guess who didn’t get the job.

3. It’s not easy to make a good first impression on five or six people at once. One or more is bound to feel “less noticed” (less important, snubbed?) than the others.

4. Team interviews seldom follow a specific question set that will identify strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, motivational factors, management style and cultural fit. When a group conversation starts going one direction it is difficult to turn it back to interview mode.

5. If you interview a candidate long enough and with many different people, sooner or later you can find a reason not to hire that person.

A hiring manager should have candidates meet with other staff one on one, take all interviewers comments into consideration and trust his own judgment to make the correct hiring decision.

This blog posting was submitted by NIRA member Jim Peterman of JR Peterman Associates, Inc.

Let’s take a look at the recession that we may be in or heading towards.

Here are some strategies that should help you deflect any pink slip that could be heading your way: (i.e., keeping money in the bank).

1. First lay-offs are usually given to those that occupy positions that cost money, rather than those that create income. Try to figure ways to create new revenue and bounce the ideas off your boss. Even if not implemented, you’ll be thought of as a part of the solution, not the problem.

2. Make cost-cutting suggestions.

3. Maintain visibility. It’s harder to lay-off people that you see every day versus those you only occasionally see.

4. Make sure your boss knows what you’re doing and how well you’re doing it.

More later.

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 in the bank

The nuggets can come in the form of competitor intelligence, internal intelligence, or perhaps – who is newly entering the marketplace in your general area.

All of these insights are potentially profitable pieces of information for enhancing your career where you are, or, perhaps new opportunities elsewhere.

We can’t and don’t place everyone we speak with in new positions (or we would probably all be retired!), but if we give you a nugget of information that is of assistance, you often return the favor some other time.

That often leads to money in our bank!

More later.

Harvey Dorland

Friday, April 25, 2008

NIRA Convention Update from Phoenix!

The National Insurance Recruiting Association is meeting this week in Phoenix, Arizona. “Once a year, the top insurance recruiters in the land get together to discuss the industry and how we can better serve our clients and candidates” , Jay Cohen, NIRA president said. “ NIRA recruiters have some of the best jobs in the country that can’t be found anywhere else!”

About 70 recruiters are basking in the sun and fun of the dessert. The schedule includes meetings, dinners, golf, sightseeing and most importantly networking and education. “We talk about the trends in insurance recruiting and how each one of us can find the best jobs and locate the best candidates” mentioned Gail Audibert. “We have the opportunity to really make a difference by having so many experienced insurance recruiting professionals share their experiences. It is only going to help our candidates get the best insurance jobs.”

The conference concludes Sunday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Money in the Bank...Part 3

How much money is your time worth?

The answer for most of our candidates ($60-$200k or so salary) is $30 to $100/hr.
Money magazine says the typical worker wastes 2 hours in an 8 hour day, and even more when they’re not working.

So… putting this in a job seeking and recruiting prospective, what is it costing you in personal or office productivity when you use the major, or other generalist type job boards to seek out your next advancement opportunity?
Most of my candidates (admittedly, not all) tell me that it often takes weeks of on and off work to discover:

· No response from those major job boards
· Wasted interview times to discover the position was not as described or the compensation was too low
· Realization that their resume was now in cyberspace
· Etc.

More later

posted by Harvey Dorland

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Money in the Bank- Part 2

Clients that don’t know us, and haven’t used our services before, suspect us of not being able to deliver what we tell them we can.

The candidate who hasn’t used us before finds it hard to believe that we really do have the job, client, industry access, that we say we have.

So… we’re in the middle.

We know we’re in the middle and there is a learning curve for us to prove our worth (and – we climb that hill every day). “Our success is measured one placement at a time”.
Kind of the “what have you done for me lately” scenario! Money comes with the climbs (for you, the client, and us). Even though it is currently suggested that compensation is only the number 3 reason for job changes, I’ve only seen one case in 30 years where there hasn’t been a compensation increase with a job change!

More later.

posted by Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"Money in the Bank"

What is a recruiter and what do they mean to you as you advance in your career?

We’ve been called headhunters, flesh-peddlers, and king / career-makers.

In truth, we’re somewhere in between. We’ll call you at 11:PM with a position that you “can’t refuse to look at”…

We’ll call Hank G. or Joe P. at the twilight hours of the morning / evening if they need to know about you.

But… to many, we are suspect to both clients and candidates.

More, soon on the money part.

posted by Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

National Insurance Recruiting Association Launches New Blog

The National Insurance Recruiting Association (NIRA) has a new blog that will be focused on topics relating to recruiting top talent in the insurance industry. “We are just starting, but some of our members who will be contributing to our blog bring over 40 years of insurance recruiting experience to share with our candidate community. If you are looking for a job in insurance or changing jobs, we hope our blog and all or our resources will help you get to your career goals” stated NIRA President Jay Cohen.

NIRA is a group of over 70 recruiting firms dedicated to recruiting in the insurance industry. Board Member Jeff Saeger pointed out, “We are the only employment website on the internet that NO companies have access to the resume database. Therefore, you can confidentially post your resume and it will only be viewed by NIRA certified recruiters.”

If you ever have any questions, please let us know and we will get them answered for you. NIRA’s new blog is dedicated to help you in many areas like interviewing, salary negotiating, relocating, benefits, career moves and anything that involves your insurance career. You can contact us at by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Should You Consider a Video Resume?

With the evolution of video on the internet, sites like YouTube and Yahoo video make it very easy to upload a video. In the employment world, we are seeing video resumes gaining a little traction. Here are a couple of examples:

Video Resume 1
Video Resume 2
Video Resume 3

So what do you think? Can you see yourself starring in your own video resume? Maybe if your a claims adjuster, you can put together a montage of your day visiting claimants so employers can get an idea of your work style. It certainly is intriguing, but before you jump in front of that camera you may want to make sure you consider the following:

1. Will you be able to make a professional video resume that will enhance your background?

2. Do you think an employer may look at your video and decide not to interview you because of something you said in the video? In other words, videos are one way. You do not have the opportunity to answer specific questions as you would in an interview.

3. Will the employer think you are acting? In the examples above, each one has a different “feel”.

4. Will employers even look at a video resume since they have hundreds of applications already? It would take forever if everyone had a video resume.

5. Can you make changes to your video resume to better “fit” the company you are applying to?

Video resumes have been around for years. They are getting some traction now just because it easier than ever to upload video to the internet. While I think we will all have our own online personal career site with resume, video and letters of recommendations, I think employers are still over whelmed with the data they already receive from candidates. A well written resume with CLEAR objectives will always get the attention of an employer. It will be up to you if you want to throw in a video resume as well before the face to face interview.

Contributed by Roger Lear