Monday, December 28, 2009

Money in the bank

Perhaps not surprising, no insurance organization in the U.S. was named in the top 25 for being the best at developing leadership talent.

The U.S. would need to add 11 million jobs to bring the unemployment rate back to where it was before the recession, and it could be a decade before it goes under 5%.

But... a lot of hiring has been going on (from 7/08 to 7/09, 51.3 million Americans were hired).

The problem is, 56.6 million quit or were fired.

Forbes believes the biggest areas for growth in the long run will be services – financial, legal, healthcare, leisure.

Hope that means insurance, also! J

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

Monday, December 7, 2009

Money in the bank

Business Week says that within 6 years the number of managers in the right age bracket for leadership roles will drop by 30% and the average corporation will be left with half the critical talent it needs by 2015.

On top of all of this, areas like Asia, whose gross domestic product will be the largest in the world next year are also seeking out this same talent.

So... if you are in management but are stagnating, ready for management but not being recognized, or an undergraduate with management aspirations, your time is coming if it is not already here.

Be prepared to think not just of Texas or the U.S... Be prepared to think globally.

Harvey Dorland

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Money in the bank

The industry lost another 6900 jobs in August and other than health insurers every other segment is down in employment numbers for the past 12 months (-2.9%).

Wages, however, have been up the past 12 months in every category except TPA’s.

Watson Wyatt says that more than half the companies they surveyed that had previously froze salaries now plan within 6 months to unfreeze them.

High performing workers are more at risk of walking out the door during recessions. (Forward-looking companies are always ready to upgrade their business by hiring them).

By 2015 there will be more people working electronically from home full time than taking mass-transit.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Friday, November 13, 2009


If someone gave you $10,000 – 43% of people say they would pay down debt, 25% save it, 25% invest it, 7% spend it.

Noticed a list of the best / top jobs recently (Systems Engineer #1).

Criteria was multi-faceted including decent pay, good demand, enjoyable, and not a lot of pressure.

Was surprised insurance recruiter wasn’t in the top 50! (No insurance positions were).

The Mortgage Bankers Association predicts fixed rate mortgages of 5.9% by the end of 2010, and 6.3% at the end of 2011. (So, with rates at or under 5% now, be watchful if you have a loan coming due).

Don’t expect workers loyalty to outlast the recession.

Watson Wyatt says 25% of you have become disengaged (disgruntled), and says 79% of job holders have stepped up their search for a new place to work.

So... there will be a lot of people making moves as more positions materialize.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Career choices, defining who you are.

Interesting article, “Just Say No”

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Capstone Search Group

Phone: (515)-987-0242 Ext. 18


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Money in the bank

More and more candidates are telling me:

· They send resumes in response to job board postings and never hear a word.

· They interview two or three times for a position and then never hear a word.

Companies seem to forget that their reputation is only as good as the way they treat people.

Candidates should be treated as you would treat your best customer.

Trust me... the ones I hear about being rude the most frequently, are the ones that I put near the top of my recruiting list.

I believe I rightfully assume that if they are treating a #1 resource (candidates) with disdain, that’s also the way they are treating their own employees!

Most of the time, I’m right.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Money in the bank

If you pay $100/month on a credit card that has a $5000 balance at 15%, it will take you 6.6 years to pay it off and cost you $2896 in interest.

Pay $300/month on the same and you’ll cut your pay off time to 1.6 years and interest to $643!

A recent CNN Money poll says 52% of us believe it will be a year or more before the economy gets better. 15% say it is already happening.

One of our Nation’s top business women says... “running a business is an overrated skill.” “Finding people that have strategic acuity and can reconceptualize for the future is what is in the shortest supply”.

Another says... “there just isn’t time anymore to ponder or analyze a decision to death”.

Tell that to all the people who are still waiting for the results of an interview they had 30 days ago. J

More later on this subject.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Monday, October 12, 2009

Objectives: The death sentence of a resume.

I recently ran an ad for a Commercial Insurance Account Manager. I needed an experienced candidate out of commercial insurance who wanted to work for a growing insurance firm.

After reading MANY resumes, one really stuck out to me - not because I thought it was a match, but because I wondered, "What is this person thinking?" The resume was well written but this resume had a flaw so blatant that it shot down the candidate faster than I could say "DID YOU READ MY AD?" Their resume had an objective stating that this person wanted to get into the field of journalism. Hmmmmm......

What do you think the chances were for this person to land an interview for my job? With an opening line like that, front and center on the resume, zero. The hiring authority (or recruiter) realizes right off the bat that this person is probably not a detail person among other things.

Has your objective in your resume "killed" your chance for an interview for a job you really wanted? Read it again before sending it in for a specific opening. Don't let your objective be the death sentence for your resume.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Money in the bank

Resumes now more than ever need to speak about accomplishments (current and past).

Today’s employers often receive multitudes of resumes from people with similar backgrounds.

Yours will stand out if you also speak about accomplishments.

My suggestion is a one page cover letter outlining them, rather than hiding them in the body of a resume.

Our industry has lost 2.6% (59000) jobs over the past 12 months... so if you are one of those who was affected, or could be in the future, the above tip will give you an advantage.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Monday, September 28, 2009

You don’t know what rough times are!

We have just completed 8 months in the most challenging year for this country since the 1930's according to our elected officials and the talking heads (and radio voices).

Now, I am fortunate to have both my parents alive approaching their 89th year on this earth and they were both teenagers during the “Great Depression “and they laugh at today’s comparison. I have always hated when my parents would say “you don’t know what rough times are” but after speaking with them and doing a little research (just a quick Google search) I noted the following.

· By 1932 unemployment had reached 23.6%, and it peaked in early 1933 at 25%, we are currently under 10%.

· By 1933 more than 5,000 banks had failed. In 2009 it looks to be about 70 added to the 16 in 2008.

· In 1933 hundreds of thousands of Americans found themselves homeless and they began congregating in the numerous Hoovervilles, basically tent cities. And my parents included the personal viewpoints of the food rationing, cardboard in the bottoms of shoes and ketchup sandwiches.

Heck, I lived with the gas rationing in the 70’s and as far as any teenager was concerned then, THAT was the end of the world! My 1st mortgage rate was 16.5 %

Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about today and we should feel better about our tomorrow.

Sean Sweeney, CPC | Team Leader

1300 Route 73, Suite 313
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

856.505.6700 x12

Money in the bank

Inflation will likely be on our horizon within the next two years, most analysts believe, as a result of all the money the treasury is pumping into the economy.

I met a Remax top 10 broker/realtor for lunch last week (long time friend) and she recalled entering the industry in 1980 when mortgage rates were 20%!

So... with interest rates at a very low current rate, now is the time to prepare yourself for what could happen a few years from now. -- Interest rates will rise!

Of the two million jobs lost since January 2008, only about 2/3 will return by 2013.

Starting salaries for new college grads averaged $48,633. – That’s $40k more than I received, albeit quite a few years ago. J

What is interesting, perhaps, is that I was able to buy my first house 2 years later!

7 out of 10 employees do not believe there is a clear relationship between their pay and their job performance.

Thus... job satisfaction is dropping while job-hunting activity even for those who are quite satisfied with their jobs is increasing.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Monday, September 14, 2009

Money in the bank

401K’s might not be what they used to be.
Quite a few employers have stopped matching, and fees that are being charged by the administrators are frequently more than they should be (there’s no cap on how much many of these plans can take off the top in fees).

Your asset might be returning you 4%, but an expensive asset manager may take 2%.

Also, watch out for target date funds.

Their allocation mix is supposed to get more conservative as you get older, but they’re not all doing that.

Some 2010 ones lost 40% of their value last year because they were too heavily invested in stock.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Thursday, September 10, 2009

You may never know....

Is it OK to interview when I really do not know if an opportunity is right for me or if I am not sure if the timing is right?

Yes it is OK. How else can you determine without question if a position and a company are right for you? Of course, you should have some knowledge of the position and the company to reflect on before proceeding with any interview. Do your research and expect valuable, helpful information from your recruiter. Many successful professionals might agree that the best time to possibly interview is when there is no pressing need to make a job change. The reality is, opportunities that you may never hear about arise for various reasons; a retirement, a promotion, a new strategic initiative, etc. It makes good business sense to confidentially watch for that one great opportunity that may make a difference in your career.

Jeff Saeger, CPC
Saeger Search, LLC
St.Louis, MO

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Money in the bank

Your credit (FICO) score is made up of timely payments (35%), what you owe versus your credit limits (30%), length of your credit history (15%), new credit/debt (10%), and what your mix of credit types are (10%).

800 is best score, and you need at least a 740 to get the best rates (mortgages, loans, credit card APR).

Jobless rate is now 9.4% (about 2.2 for insurance), and there seem to be hints that recession is ending.

The problem, however, seems to be that we could be in a stagnant economy for some time to come (consumers who account for 70% of our economic growth are still very wary about spending).

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Times are tough, rest up!

Is the economy taking a hit on your paycheck? Your 401K? Your annual bonus or raise? Maybe it is time to kick back relax and let that stress go with a nice long vacation! Here is how!

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Fasten your seatbelts, the rides about to begin, again!

It seems like yesterday when I would hear the “old” guys talk about the last down cycle in hiring and when the turnaround came it was rather hectic since many recruiters had disappeared and companies needed their new hires immediately. Well, 20 years have passed by and I have seen a few down cycles, but I must admit this was the ultimate, stomach in your mouth, nosedive. Some of our biggest clients disappeared overnight and the doom and gloom was sent out over the airwaves on an hourly basis.

Well, thank goodness, that ride seems to be over and companies are taking a look at 2010 and saying “To achieve our goals we need to staff up immediately”. If your company is not one of them, what are you waiting for? The aggressive, flexible, forward thinking managers are already putting their plans in motion. As recruiters, we have to be prepared to identify, locate and evaluate the strongest candidates that excel in their particular field. Has your company made that same commitment to hiring staff that will have an immediate impact on your bottom line?

We thought you might also be interested in reading about why others feel this is The Greatest Recruiting Opportunity in the Last 25 Years.

By Sean Sweeney, CPC

1300 Route 73, Suite 313
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

Friday, August 28, 2009

Money in the bank

According to a 50,000 employee survey taken in 65 organizations, 60% are dissatisfied with their pay... so it’s not just you and me!J

52% of recently surveyed employers are more concerned now, than before the recession, about retaining their top performers. (They must have heard that recruiters are lurking close by!).

There were 3,295,000 on-line advertized vacancies in July.

With so many people unemployed, you would wonder if a fix may be in sight, or are most of those positions unfillable because the talent base is just not there?

90% of the private economists believe the economic downturn should end in this year’s 3rd quarter.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

Monday, August 10, 2009

Money in the bank

9.5 million retirees are considering returning to work at least part-time, and 32% of our currently employed workers expect to delay retirement.

Speaking about work... the majority (85%) of employers say they plan to maintain their current staff levels through the 3rd quarter (5% expect to add staff and 8% make reductions).

Pretty interesting:

If you save just $400/month from age 25 to 34 and it grows 7% you’ll have $602k at age 65.

If you delay your start to age 35 but save for 30 years (instead of the above 10), you’ll only have $528k, even though you’ve saved $100k more.

So... the benefits of compounding are enormous.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Look Before You Leap at a New Job

Recently I’ve found The Wall Street Journal’s “Personal Finance” and “Careers” sections to be spot on with its reporting of the employment market. Articles over the past 6-8 weeks demonstrate the barrage of information candidates receive about the economy, unemployment, and the timing of a job search. Consider the article, “Look Before You Leap at a New Job,” from June 21, 2009. The author stresses patience and thoughtfulness which isn’t always easy for people feeling the pressure of unemployment in an ultra-competitive job market.

For more information on the article you can visit the link below:

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Capstone Search Group

Phone: (515)-987-0242 Ext. 18

Friday, July 31, 2009

Money in the bank

Three of four executives that were recently polled said that a typo on your resume would disqualify you for a job with them.

An estimated 400,000 tech jobs currently remain unfilled (candidates with right skills aren’t available).

If you’re unemployed, make sure you register with temporary staffing firms.

There is a lot of speculation that when employers decide to add to staff they will often “test the waters” first by bringing someone on in a temporary capacity first.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Money in the bank

Fortune 100 companies are not necessarily the best place to work during recessionary times.

86% of them have laid-off employees during the past year and a half.

The financial services industry insurance sector remained rather resilient, however, with their unemployed ranks (3/09) being less than 2%, their recruiting efforts being only 26% less than a year ago and increasing 8% the second quarter of 2009.

So... those that pooh-pooh our industry, take note...

And for those of you who may be unhappy, your recruiter friend may have a position for your!

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct


You see an ad for a job you want and need; something that you used to do before you got promoted. How do you convince an employer to hire you even though you are overqualified?

Employers don’t want to hire you because they fear:
You are marking time until something better comes along.
You’ll get bored or will be unable to adjust to a lower rank and prestige.
You can’t afford a lower salary for a long period of time.
You’ll intimidate your peers and immediate supervisors.
You’ll take a slot from a developmental candidate.

So what do you say to convince them? Tell them:
You know that jobs at your level are not likely to open up locally and you don’t want to relocate.
You appreciate more work–life balance from a less demanding job.
Your financial needs have lessened and you can live comfortably on a lower salary.
You can help develop less experienced staff.
You bring valuable competitive knowledge and contacts.
You will get up to speed more quickly than a less experienced person.
You provide bench strength for senior and managerial roles.
You want job stability and you have had good tenure in your past jobs.

Peter Baskin CPC

Top Twitter Techniques

Interesting thoughts on Twitter worth reading. Follow link:

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Capstone Search Group

Phone: (515) 987-0242 ext 18

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Second Quarter News!

Good news for Property and Casualty Insurance! See Lloyd's article below.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Money in the bank

Here’s some career advice from prominent executives / public figures:

· A manager must also be a good teacher.

· Solicit opinions before you give people yours.

· Always serve the best interests of your client.

· Set realistic goals, achieve them, and then set new ones.

· Work exceptionally hard and step up from day one.

· You won’t become a general unless you become a good 1st lieutenant.

· Have a coach / mentor.

· If you hear certain feedback about yourself regularly, you’re being perceived that way even if you don’t agree with it.

· If you give advice, it is not nearly as well received as when it is asked for.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

936-597-6500 - direct

Friday, July 10, 2009

Keeping it legal!

Dot your I's and cross your T's - even on the internet!

Here is a good article to read if you are sourcing candidates on the internet.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Been there, done that!

I just read a great blog on the recession by Greg Savage that I want to share.

Been there, done that!

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Money in the bank

Among workers 50 to 64 years of age, 54% say they will work at least 3 years longer than expected and 34% expect to work an additional 5 years or more.

An overwhelming majority cite the decline in their 401K value as the biggest reason, and the high cost of health care the second biggest.

So... stay healthy!

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Money in the bank

Best’s Review says that all insurance job sectors declined in the number of workers (March 2009) from a year ago except for reinsurers.

They also point out that 90% of employees will listen to what a recruiter has to say (“it doesn’t hurt to listen”) and that these same employees say that compensation is the most important factor in job satisfaction, followed by benefits.

Harvey Dorland

Pacific Recruiting

Monday, June 22, 2009

The New Phone Interview

Check out this interesting link to an article on found on the Wall Street Journal:

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Capstone Search Group

Facebook vs. The Job Seeker

Social media is a great source of knowledge and entertainment, but many people are worried about their privacy - as they well should be! The media, recruiters and worried parents warn people to be careful what image you portray on your page(s). Many colleges and employers are looking at your Facebook, MySpace and chat rooms to see if you are right them. It has been said that 37% of colleges look at your Facebook page to help determine your acceptance at their school. See the article posted in PC Pro.

I still believe that you should be professional regarding anything that you allow on your page, but...the privacy factor may be on the rise for all you social media hounds.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Social Media: A job hunters dream?

Social media is a fabulous tool, but as a recruiter, I see that social media has the same limitations that the newspaper, job fairs, job boards and company websites have. They are so flooded with resumes that only the best stand out and sometimes, they too are missed.

People hire people they like. You can train a person how to do a job, but you cannot change their personality. A piece of paper doesn't always communicate the personality or the dedication you may bring to the table. Social media a good way to open a door for yourself. Use it, but get in front of people, too. Get involved in the community that employs you. Join a networking group, or go to the association meetings. By all means, find a good recruiter!

Bottom line? Utilize all of your networking options, don't just depend on one.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Money in the bank

The best move for those changing jobs or retiring may be not moving your money out of your 401K and rolling it over into an IRA.

As an example, a 35 year old with $50k in their 401K could incur an additional $58k in fees by age 70 in doing this.

Obviously, a much bigger bite if you started with say $200k in your account!

So... ask the right questions of multiple people.

Keeping your money in your old 401K could be best.

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Money in the bank

It is calculated that college grads, as a whole, earn 60% more over their lifetime than those who stop at high school (not withstanding Bill Gates type situations)!

It is true, however, that many non-grads do very well in the insurance industry, but most would have had a hard time if they had to enter the industry today.

Keep in mind, for those of your who have children, a 4-year degree from an accredited university is what is important.

In most cases it doesn’t matter if the degree is from a State U or Stanford.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Best Cities

Best Cities for jobs - - I think that Des Moines should be on here.

Scot Dickerson, CPC


Capstone Search Group

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Money in the bank

According to a recent poll, 73% of U.S. workers are disengaged (doing the bare minimum required), and 80% want more freedom.

The same apparently can be said of their leaders.

I wonder if this is a new anomaly... as it was not very long ago that I read many articles that said our workers were the most productive in the world.

How did we become so productive if we are so disengaged?

Are the other 27% of the workers propping up the rest?

Harvey Dorland

Friday, May 22, 2009

Career Patterns - Which one are you?

Career Patterns

We usually visualize career progression as a ladder that you climb to reach the top. But sometimes your career is not a ladder but a spiral staircase or a moving sidewalk.

Linear is the traditional "Up the corporate pyramid to the top" pattern. It is the prevalent pattern for most people and traditionally structured organizational development plans. Linear advancement provides rewards with power and prestige. Linears like leadership training and being delegated skill building opportunities like preparing budgets and taking on projects. They become frustrated when advancement is slow or management positions are eliminated.

Spiral is a relatively new pattern referred to as "being well-rounded". Spirals change positions every 5-10 years with each new position being tangential but related to the prior work. An example would be the person who goes from underwriting to developing underwriting information technology. Spirals seek career growth through creative positions. Spirals like to learn new skills and serve on cross-functional teams. They become frustrated when a challenge is accomplished or a job settles into a routine.

Roamer is a very traditional pattern that used to be known pejoratively as "still finding themselves" but now valued as the backbone of the workforce. Roamers change jobs every 2-3 years often to unrelated functions. Roamers have little need for security because they either come from affluent backgrounds or are accustomed to living on very little. They like variety and independence which are found in start-ups and expanding companies. Roamers are people-oriented and like to feel they are making a contribution. They become frustrated when there are personality clashes at work or their feelings are hurt or they feel they are no longer appreciated.

You never know which way your career is going to grow and the important thing is to recognize opportunities and take advantage of them when the become available.

Peter Baskin CPC

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New York Times article.

Take a peek at this. Interesting stuff and was given to me by a client this morning.

Money in the bank

27.3% of all external hires come from referrals, 12.3% from job boards, 20.1% from specific company websites, 7.8% from direct sourcing, and all other sources made up the 32.5% difference.

So... recruiters are probably a part of the job board percentage, and I would guess the “other sources” percentage as well, perhaps even the referral percentage as we, I’m sure you’re aware, thrive on referrals.

As such, please let your friends know that you are looking.

Yes... some of those referrals will beckon you directly to your new position, but others will circle our way, and the end-result becomes the same: “new position / career / $’s”.

Harvey Dorland

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Recession over?

ABC News has a great article with promising information that the recession is ending or maybe even ended last month! Layoffs are slowing, the number of houses on the market are fewer... all good indicators. Read the article below for more detail.

Here's to a great second half of 2009.

Laura Hill
The Hill Group, L.P.

Interesting articles

Check out for good tips about mergers and acquisitions and other published articles.

Scot Dickerson, CPC

Friday, May 8, 2009


Those on the agency side of the insurance business may want to take a look at an interesting article in Rough Notes May 2009 edition on page 26 titled: “Implementing Non-Compete Clauses.”

Scot Dickerson

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Money in the bank

If you get laid off between 9/08 and 12/09 there is a good chance the government will subsidize your heath (Cobra) insurance costs for 65% of the normal charge, for up to 9 months, if you don’t piggy-back on your spouses coverage and, as a family, make less than $250k adjusted gross income ($125k for an individual).

Kaiser Foundation estimates an average savings of $6200 over 9 months.

On another note... Watson Wyatt Consultants says most employer cost-cutting actions have peaked, and that most are planning no further hiring freezes, restructuring changes, layoffs or salary freezes.

No particular industries were mentioned, so I’m assuming the best for ours!

Harvey Dorland

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Soft Market?

Based on a recent survey conducted by RIMS Survey, commercial risk buyers saw a soft market in the first quarter, although signs point to the market beginning to harden. Despite economic turmoil, most buyers found commercial insurance premiums flat or down slightly for most North American businesses. Industry experts believe the market will continue to be firm, meaning that rates would decrease at a lesser extent than they have been. In particular the lines of directors and office liability, errors and omissions and also fidelity bonds have seen some substantial hardening.

I’ve heard from some recruiters within NIRA that they are seeing projects specifically related to this projected hardening of the market.

Scot Dickerson

Money in the bank

Historically, the insurance industry hires in any market, albeit in down periods there is a slowdown in terms of quantity.

During recessionary times the bread & butter disciples of underwriting, claims, and actuarial, have a tendency to be very strong and in demand, and there has been some pretty steady growth in product management and IT.

Key positions such as producers in all disciplines are also in high demand.

As a side note... kind of interesting in that traditionally insurance stocks outperform the Dow.

Not lately – in 2008 they fell by 47% compared to the Dows 33.8%.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Money in the bank

Got a bad boss?

Business Week says... be patient, as the clock is probably ticking on him or her.

I agree.

I’ve run into situations every year or two where all of a sudden 3, 4, or 5 people want me to find them a new position because of this “bad boss”.

While it’s nice to have a number of new candidates, this is certainly the wrong reason.

I tell them to be patient - and in the meantime I’ll try to unload this person onto one of my “bad clients”.

Frequently works, and I’ve got a number of x-candidates who will always be grateful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Money in the bank

Just read a pretty lengthy Forbes article from their investment team.

Tenor in a nutshell was that when mortgage rates drop to 4.5% and stay there, or lower, good things will happen.

It puts dollars in everyone’s pocket immediately – “a stimulus plan that actually works immediately”.

It creates a frenzy of refinancing, which gets rid of the majority of the toxic assets on lenders balance sheets – allowing them to get back into giving credit again.

Helps dry-up the large volume of foreclosures, as people will be buying again.

Sounds like a plan!

Harvey Dorland

Monday, March 23, 2009

Money in the bank

Kind of interesting...

According to several recent studies, we would rather make $100k if our neighbors also make $100k, than we would $200k if our neighbors make $300k.


I’d move to a $200k neighborly area and take the $200k if it seemed to be that much of a problem!

National and regional independent agent P&C carriers wrote $800M less premium in 2007 (year 2008, don’t know) versus $5B and $4B increases in 2006/2005.

You’d think that as a result 2008 search positions would have been correspondingly fewer than the previous 3 years, but I didn’t notice it until probably 10/08.

It’s probably 40% quieter so far this year, but the first quarter has tended to be that way for the past 6 years or so.

Hope it’s just a first quarter trend!

Harvey Dorland

Monday, March 9, 2009

Money in the bank

Some interesting tidbits to consider...

· If you invest $20k in your 401k that earns 6.5%/year for 20 years, you’ll have $70,500 if the annual expenses are .5%; but you’ll only have $58,400 if annual expenses are 1.5%.

· Only about half of American workers have a retirement account.

· Only 66% of workers join their 401k, and only 10% contribute the max.

· The average 401k account balance of near retirees has fallen more than 20% (their accounts were too stock-heavy, considering their age – not conservative enough).

Friday, February 27, 2009

Money in the bank

Just read a list of the 10 best companies to work for.

Looks like only three of them are insurance related (AFLAC, Principal Financial, and American Fidelity).

What stands out when you look at the reasons for these 100 companies being on the list, is as diverse as the list itself.

Most did not make it because they are the top industry payers.

Instead... they were on the list due to things like regular communications to the employees, paid days off to do volunteer work, and on-site child care center with inexpensive rates, wellness programs, on-site fitness programs, etc.

I’ll bet that the employee turnover of these best companies is very-very low.

That’s probably why none of them are my clients! J

Harvey Dorland

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Money in the bank

Here’s a hodge-podge of things I’ve noticed recently.

Bad news is that insurance carrier profits in the P&C area fell nearly 80% last year.

· Curious... as they predominantly blame it on investments, but the DOW only went down 38%.

· On the plus side, they still made $14 Billion.

Bad news is that insurance companies unemployment was 3.5% in January.

· Good news, I guess, is that national unemployment is double that figure.

Bad news is that employee referrals are responsible for 40% of the hires for most companies.

· That only leaves a 60% universe, then, for the recruiting industry!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Money in the Bank

Standard and Poors (the rating agency) says that it is maintaining a “negative outlook” for the Commercial P&C sector, due to the pricing cycle it has gone through the last 3 years (and the decline in investment income).

Thus... a number of rating downgrades are expected to occur.

I would think that the above should not be a surprise to anyone.

A number of primary carriers are still “buying” business at ridiculous prices, and continue to invade areas like the surplus lines marketplace where they do not belong.

So... if you’re thinking of changing jobs, don’t forget to check out the other carrier’s rating, and if you’re feeling good about where you are, you’d better check out your rating also!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Money in the bank

Some of the top Fortune 500 managers were recently asked what the best advice they’ve ever received has been. (The following are some excerpts)...

“The basic social responsibility of a business it to maintain employment and meet the obligations to pay taxes.”

“You’ve got to quickly learn the difference between managing and leading.”

“Squeeze costs, improve efficiency while delivering innovation.”

“People will still spend money on what they love, but they’re more choosy in a recession.”

“Listen and then make clear decisions.”

“The task of leaders is to simplify. You should be able to explain where you have to go in two minutes.”

These are all good thoughts for anyone in management regardless of the industry they are in.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Money in the Bank

It’s kind of interesting...

The number of employees in the insurance industry went up this past year for: P&C insured, Health insureds, Life insureds, TPA’s, Reinsurers.

The number went down for: Title insurers (not a surprise considering the real estate market), Agents & Brokers, Claims Adjusters.

The highest non-supervisory earnings were for P&C insurers, and the lowest (which catches me by surprise), was Reinsurers.

Wages were up in 7 of 8 industry groups an average of 3.5%.