Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why AIG Insurance Company of Canada was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- AIG Insurance Company of Canada manages a 10-week summer internship program that includes 3 days of orientation and training in New York
- AIG Insurance Company of Canada hosts innovation bootcamps for groups of high-potential employees, providing opportunities for participants to brainstorm product or process innovations -- participants present a business plan to a panel of executives who evaluate ideas and the program culminates in Capstone Day, during which teams present their final products
- AIG Insurance Company of Canada offers an analyst program to help students in their final year of undergraduate study gain on-the-job experience
AIG helps young professionals harness their careers
Lauren Sas, a young Toronto-based underwriter with AIG Canada, is passionate about the work she does with the property-casualty insurance giant. "I'm excited to go to work each day because every day is different," says Sas, who joined AIG in September 2016, after graduating from the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. "It's a people-oriented industry and the work is intellectually challenging. I love what I do."
Sas is also impressed by the wide range of career development tools that have been put at her disposal, including a formal mentorship program that paired her with a senior manager for regular one-on-one sessions.
"The program is really tailored to help young professionals develop the skills they need to succeed," says Sas. "My mentor has given me a better understanding of the role of an underwriter and helped me improve in a number of areas, including presentation skills and the ability to network."
AIG's continuing education program also reimbursed Sas the full cost of tuition, textbooks and exam fees as she successfully completed her Risk Management Certificate during her first year on the job.
Sas now hopes to take advantage of AIG's Early Career Program, a carefully structured two-year initiative open to new employees. The program typically kicks off with a three-week summit at AIG's North American headquarters in New York City, where participants have access to some of the company's most senior executives.
Over the remainder of the program, new recruits work closely with company veterans on very deliberate targets to further improve their skill sets and promote career growth.
AIG also places a strong focus on its co-op program for undergraduate students. In addition to on-the-job experience, co-op students are encouraged to take part in company and industry networking events.
If all goes well, the students will receive an offer of future full-time employment at AIG, just prior to entering their fourth and final year of undergraduate studies.
All of these initiatives, says AIG President and CEO Lynn Oldfield, have a common theme -- ensuring a pipeline of talent for the future.
Oldfield notes that a decade ago, the property-casualty insurance industry as a whole faced a dilemma: fully a quarter of employees were eligible for retirement, and recruitment of young professionals was lagging behind. Programs like the ones AIG championed have helped turn the tide.
"Today, there are more Millennials than Baby Boomers working in the property-casualty insurance business," says Oldfield.
A 35-year veteran of the industry, Oldfield has participated in the company's mentorship program every year since its inception in 2014. "I honestly believe that I get more out of it than anyone," she says. "Young professionals have a different lens for viewing the world and this lets me better understand their priorities."
While competitive compensation and benefits remain important for today's young professionals -- especially for those living in high-cost cities -- Oldfield says they are also looking for employers that are socially responsible and give back to the community.
They are also determined to have a strong degree of control over their own careers.
"Young people are always impatient to get to the next level; I know I was at their age," says Oldfield. "We believe in helping young professionals harness their own careers by providing them with the training, networking and timely feedback on performance they want and need."
And what does the company get in return?
"We get a diversity of skills and thought that are essential to keep us moving forward," says Oldfield. "I'm constantly amazed at what this generation of young professionals can teach us."