GreatInsuranceJobs.com Turns 20 Years Old!
GreatInsuranceJobs.com went LIVE on the world wide web (that is what it was called then) on June 6, 2001.
It’s hard to believe GIJ started before iPhones (2007), Androids (2008), broadband internet (2003), and Facebook (2004).
On top of that, no one in 2001 talked about the workforce retirement issue looming in the insurance industry. The average age was 45 years old! The human capital conversation was more about insurance companies going away from golden handcuffs and large pensions, which ultimately started a new war for talent. Thirty-year careers with the same insurance companies were officially over, and a new war for talent was created, with insurance workers now changing jobs regularly every five years.
They say timing is everything in business. The concept for GIJ started in 1999. The worldwide web was still in the first inning of development. Print newspaper classifieds reigned as the number one-way insurance companies advertised their open positions. The entire internet commerce business had no “directions” but one thing resonated with GIJ early days; could it be possible that this “internet thing” will replace executive search firms? Instead of wondering, we figured why not hedge our executive search business in the event the world wide web is not a fad. It was fun to dive into a brand-new concept without a historical road map on what that means.
To this day, we get asked how we came up with “GreatInsuranceJobs.com”? It was pretty simple. The domain name InsuranceJobs.com was already taken by our friend Jay Rollins. Until you were already a recognized brand, it was essential to have the main keywords in your domain name. GreatInsuranceJobs fit this perfectly. The next challenge was trying to figure out an overall design for this business in a very conservative industry.
The initial logo and design certainly caused people to notice its bright colors and cartoonish look. We even questioned whether this was going to work ourselves! We realized that to promote GIJ, we would need to buy print advertising in insurance industry magazines (yes, no Google yet). The first advertisements in magazines like the National Underwriter and Rough Notes gave us a very clear answer- people noticed!
This is what GreatInsuranceJobs.com looked like on opening day June 6, 2001!
On June 6, 2001, GIJ went live! Our first clients were Crum & Forster, SAFECO, Liberty Mutual, and Utica National. Also, in the first few months, we developed a partnership with the National Underwriter.
This was a massive win for GIJ.
We had the opportunity to showcase GIJ in every publication of the National Underwriter in a time where print still was king. Early on, this was a grand slam. Ironically, our colorful logo stood out in a big way, and we were able to highlight our client’s jobs.
While we were having some early success in building an insurance job board that didn’t have a single resume or job posting when we started, we were gaining momentum. Then September 11 happened, and hiring in the insurance industry on hold for over a year. Many of those killed that day worked at insurance companies within the towers. Like many Americans, we were not sure how we could even move forward.
Once the world came back online, GIJ started to get busy. We quickly established ourselves as one of two “niche” job boards in the United States focused specifically on the insurance industry. Before Google, you would bid on sites like Yahoo and AOL to get people to visit your site. GIJ would get in a bidding war with our competitor, UltimateInsuranceJobs.com, for the number one position for search terms like “insurance jobs” and “claims jobs.” We paid a click through rate sometimes getting close to $1.50. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but in the early days, this added up fast. A few years later, GIJ bought Ultimate Insurance Jobs, and the bidding war ended!
The New GIJ in 2007
In 2007 GIJ was upgraded. By now, the internet was a real thing, and for online job boards to stay competitive, they had to keep up with technology and companies like Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. It was also the beginning of the applicant tracking system (ATS). Insurance companies began spending millions upgrading their hiring processes and payroll. Job boards had to have the technology to talk to each ATS and deliver candidates.
GIJ also started live, annual online job fairs in 2007. To this day, GIJ produces three online job fairs in claims, underwriting, and sales. Our virtual job fairs became a hit, and to this day, we still are the only niche insurance job board to have this product.
Between 2007-2013 GIJ built out a network of websites and social media properties. Added were sites like InsuranceSalesJobs.com, GreatInsuranceRecruiters.com, and UltimateInsuranceJobs.com. We also kept building relationships with outstanding organizations, including the Workers Compensation Institute, RIMS, The CLM, Business Insurance, and ClaimsPages.com.
One of the hardest things about running a niche job board is keeping up with the technology. In 2013, mobile recruiting was heating up. Smartphones were not only brilliant; 3G was introduced, allowing mobile-friendly websites to load quickly on the phone.
GIJ had an issue. The code used to build GIJ over the years was becoming obsolete. We had to rebuild again, and thankfully we found a partner in a community out of the UK called Madgex. It was no easy task to transfer thousands of companies, over 250,000 insurance profiles, and millions of transactions to this new, mobile-friendly platform. Thankfully, with Madgex assistance and world-class technology, we did, and the rest is history
GreatInsuranceJobs.com in 2021!
It has been a fantastic journey, and we are excited about the next 20 years! It would not be possible without some outstanding talent to make this all happen over the years.
We were fortunate to have excellent co-workers like Jennifer Kennedy (16 years), Michelle Teadt (10 years), Brad Sparrow (11 years), Joshua Hoskins, Marshall Sontag, David Hatami (first sales employee), Tracy Fitzgerald, Heather Deyrieux, Sean Dolen, Lonnie Koenig, Landon Hendriks, Brad Partridge, Heidi Haddaway, Athena Montes, Jaime Crespo, Erin Tuttle, Hayley Brown, Andrew Hernandez, Robin Lefebre, and so many others.
When Scott Kotroba and I met back in the mid 1990s, we had no idea what the future would hold. Especially since Scott is a Florida Gator and I am a Florida State Seminole. But through it all, the opportunity to connect insurance industry job seekers with great insurance companies is what keeps us going. We are proud to work with so many supportive organizations like TaTech.org, Nicheboards.com (Don Firth is the man!), The CLM Association, Claims Pages, Risk Insurance Management Society, Workers Compensation Institute and so many more.
We look forward to the next twenty years. One thing for sure, we will make sure we do everything we can to connect insurance job seekers to insurance industry employers. So many challenges exist for insurance companies looking for great talent. GIJ has survived a few recessions and, most recently, COVID-19. We are certainly up to the challenge of helping companies find great talent!
We can’t thank the insurance community enough for all your support!
Watch this slideshow to see photos of some of the fun we've had over the last 20 years!