Over the last three years, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic fluctuations have led to a lot of uncertainty in the US job market. Employers pivoted from instituting hiring freezes and considering layoffs to competing for talent. Employees went from looking for a strong culture in the office to desiring hybrid and remote work schedules. Many companies and agencies have had to get creative to hire, while also anticipating many retirements in the coming years. Illinois Casualty Company (ICC) has chosen to leverage its Internship Program to build a long-term talent base. The Internship Program was created to pass along years of knowledge and to showcase the value of a career in insurance.
ICC began hiring interns in 2010 on a limited basis. With the establishment of a formal program structure in 2019, multiple departments took on interns that hadn’t had them before. Interns began Orientation on the same day and attended events over the summer as a group. An integral part of the Program is exposure to all departments. Each functional area of the Company gives a presentation with a Q&A portion, and interns are given the opportunity to sit in on various committee meetings. This structure has stayed in place through the change to a hybrid workforce.
The work completed by interns has also evolved over time. Interns are now able to be utilized in departments that are short-staffed, completing entry-level work usually done by a full-time employee. Interns play a crucial role in innovation at ICC as well, working to automate manual processes and create efficiencies by lending a fresh perspective. Since 2019, interns have assessed claim files for recovery potential, conducted premium audits, completed product pricing reviews, switched insureds to paperless billing, and constructed bots to automate billing tasks.
All of this exposure to the industry has had the desired effect on hiring: 15 of the 39 interns employed by ICC since 2010 have become full-time employees. Those that took positions elsewhere after completion of their internship continued to promote the Program to their respective colleges or referred other students to apply for the Program. Interns have also had the opportunity to stay on part-time and work remotely during the school year, an option that was not previously available under our pre-pandemic model.
Interns that chose to stay at ICC full-time after graduation call it a “great place to work” with “professional and helpful people.” They say that “ICC does a great job of allowing interns to form connections with everyone in the Company,” and that “being fully involved at the same level as full-time employees made for a particularly welcoming environment.”
Whether they pick up existing work when departments need the help or complete projects that help ICC initiatives move forward, interns are valuable contributors at a time when many companies have positions to fill. They’re a huge source of talent and knowledge as long-tenured employees retire. Interns have truly become an integral part of the ICC family and have also become the future of the insurance industry.
For more information about ICC’s Internship Program, visit the Careers page on our website.