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31 Oct 16 18:58

A millennial co-worker asked me why the workers compensation claim frequency continues to decline each year after sharing my learnings from the 2016 NCCI Workers Compensation Annual Issues Symposium. The answer to that question seems obvious to me but unfortunately cannot be answered in 60 seconds, which was all the time I had. Many things come to mind such as mandated loss control programs, ergonomically designed workstations and automation of processes.

I realize that this is obvious to Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers, but millennials entered the workforce in the mid-2000s when ergonomics and automation were common. This reminded me why millennials are the subject of so many behavioral studies, including one done by a team that I am a part of through the Emerging Leaders Council. In our research we came across some interesting facts on millennials:

--They are digital natives
--They celebrate diversity
--Nearly half carry student loan debt
--A large percentage buy things using their phone
--They like sharing instead of owning

Why is this so important? Because millennials are 80 million strong and TechCrunch says they will spend $200 billion in 2017 and AdAge says they will spend $10 trillion in their lifetime. A lot of products, including insurance, have been developed with the millennial in mind. Think; they staked the claim to be the world’s first peer-to-peer insurance carrier! Is your business model 'Millennial Ready'? I hope so, because as many have said, the only thing that is constant is change and change is inevitable. With change comes new exposures and some of these new exposures, such as auto and home sharing, are reducing or replacing traditional exposures, like auto and home ownership. As underwriters, it is our job to identify, evaluate, assess and price for these new exposures if we want to be around to pay claims.

Each generation brings new ways of thinking into the workplace.Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce and they bring curious minds with fresh and new ideas, skillsets and perspectives. This keeps the previous generations on their toes since they have to adapt in how they do business and how they think. I welcome their curiosity and look to them when I need a social media expert who is diverse in thought with a thin wallet who requires instant gratification.

Soon Millennials won't be the new big focus group, but rather it will be all about Generation Z—aka the iGeneration. So I have a question for Millennials: Are you ready for the iGeneration and the inevitable change that they will bring to the workforce?

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