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Societal Trends

Risk Avoidance and What the Heck is Wrong With People?

I rarely go into Circle Ks or convenience stores or places of that ilk because I’d prefer not to get shot (risk avoidance). However, on the way to a volunteer gig the other day and against my better judgment, I stopped in a Circle K near Interstate 17 in Phoenix to buy a pop (or soda, as some call it). As I walked in, I noticed there was a mop bucket full of black water near the register and that my shoes stuck to the floor as I went to get my pop. As I filled my cup, I noticed a sign that said, “Out of straws.” At the register I said hello to the cashier and asked the young man if he was holding out and if perhaps he did have a straw. He nearly started crying. He said they ran out of straws earlier in the day and.

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Make the Most of Your Training

I participated in a teleconference today sponsored by the Society of Insurance Trainers and Editors and hosted by the Insurance Institute. Much of what was discussed was the issue of training younger generations, who, as one participant put it, leave school in a state of “permanent partial attention.” This is the first true television and Internet generation and they live, he remarked, in a state of perpetual multi-tasking. (He then joked that some of us on the teleconference were probably multi-tasking. Yes, I was guilty of it, I was checking my e-mail at the time.) In addition, he believes some members of this generation learn only what they need to learn then discard the knowledge, bringing their test-cram college mentality into the workforce. What can trainers do to help Gen Xers and Ys retain knowledge? One good tip was to set some training ground rules. Insist students to turn off.

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Writing Coaches

An interesting editorial in Business’ Insurance’s April Industry Focus touched on an issue I’d blogged about a few weeks ago. Big changes are heading our way as Generation Ys enter the workforce. Editor Ronn Zolkos (he’s obviously a Gen Xer; notice the spelling of his first name!) commented on a problem discussed at the Finance and Insurance Workforce Summit recently in Chicago. That problem is the poor writing ability of Gen Ys. Apparently, constant instant messaging and e-mailing has enabled a generation to skip grammar almost entirely. Although highly competent technically, members of this generation may lack even rudimentary writing skills. Zolkos recommends hiring writing coaches for the Yers who struggle with writing’ write. He called hiring a writing coach a “perk.” Others managers may, as they struggle with this critical issue, call it a “necessity.”

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Diversity a Great Topic for the Insurance Industry

I spoke last month at the Arizona Insurance Claims Association, the premier (albeit only!) organization in Arizona dedicated to the property/casualty claims adjuster. When I last spoke there, I talked about the brain drain carriers and agents are experiencing and how Gen Xs and Ys could leverage this exodus to their advantage, but I wasn’t sure diversity would go over too well. One of my blog readers asked how it went. Frankly, I was surprised by how interested the audience was in this topic. To remain competitive in today’s rapidly changing and global market, the insurance industry, like any other industry, must have top intellectual talent. And that talent lies in diversity, not just of race and gender, but in diversity of thought. Studies have repeatedly shown that diverse groups perform better and that a certain amount of healthy conflict must occur before groups arrive at superior decisions. And because.

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