Insurance Job Losses Continue As National Employment Grows

By Sean P. Carr, Washington Bureau Manager
A.M. Best
April 01, 2011


The U.S. insurance industry lost 1,700 jobs in March, continuing a long-term decline as the overall economy gained 216,000 jobs during the month, according to the latest employment report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a year-to-year basis, industry employment, now standing at 2.21 million jobs, is down 1.7% since March 2010.

Industry job losses in February, previously determined to be 3,600 jobs, were revised to 5,000.

Overall, the bureau showed a gain of 216,000 jobs in March, with a downtick in the unemployment rate to 8.8% from 8.9%. Hiring in professional and businesses services accounted for 78,000 jobs.

Total insurance industry payrolls are reported each month on a seasonably adjusted basis, along with the current month's nonfarm payrolls. Separately, data by industry segment -- broken out by various insurance carrier and noncarrier categories -- are available only on an unadjusted basis for the prior month.

Based on just-released February 2011 data, all industry sectors but reinsurance lost jobs on a year-to-year comparison: life insurance employment, down 0.53% to 372,300; health and medical insurance, down 4.2% to 421,200; property/casualty, down 1.8% to 458,800; title insurance, down 3.9% to 65,800; agents and brokers, down 0.72% to 635,300; claims adjustment, down 2.1% to 47,700; and third-party administration, down 1.9% to 128,600. The number of reinsurance jobs climbed 1.9% to 27,000.

All insurance sectors other than title insurance continued to see increases in weekly wages: life insurance, $1022.40, up 1.7%; health and medical insurance, $1007.62, up 5.4%; property/casualty, $1046.80, up 4.2%; reinsurance, $963.79, up 5.0%; agents and brokers, $795.44, up 5.0%; claims adjustment, $952.88, up 5.2%; and third-party administration, $791.57, up 3.8%. Title insurance wages fell to $867.35, down 5.7%.

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