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26,000 Insurance Jobs In Ohio By 2020 April 3, 201

4/8/2014, 4:17 p.m.

Anticipating a wave of baby boomer retirements, the Ohio insurance industry says it will need 26,000 skilled workers by 2020. The estimate comes from a new workforce study and has prompted several colleges in Ohio to launch new degree programs in risk management and insurance (RMI).

At Motorists Insurance, headquartered in Columbus, more than a third of the company’s workforce is expected to retire soon. Motorists CEO Dave Kaufman says the industry has to overcome public perception that a job in insurance means a job in sales. Kaufman says there are more than 100 different occupations within insurance. "Odds are...we can match any skill set with an attractive career path," Kaufman said.

Melissa McCormick already works in the insurance industry but doesn't have a college degree. She is one of about a dozen students now enrolled in Franklin University's new undergraduate program in risk management.

"It's just going to open more doors for me or at least provide me some form of security," McCormick said.

Currently, Kent State University, Franklin University and the University of Cincinnati offer bachelor’s degree programs related to insurance. New programs are expected to launch this year at Ohio Northern University and Ohio Dominican University, with Bowling Green State University likely to add programming in

2015.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said the biggest hurdle to filling the insurance industry jobs is getting the word out. “Making sure we're communicating with students

graduating from high school…and letting them know ‘these opportunities exist, the curriculum is there to help train and educate you and then the job will be there when you graduate’," Taylor said.

The Ohio insurance industry ranks seventh in the nation with more than 95,000 employees.