I’m passionate about a lot of things, but topping the list these days is a desire to change the story of what a career looks like in the insurance industry. As this year’s Council chairman, I plan to drive this passion.

The insurance industry historically has had a very difficult time telling its story. We have just plain failed to reveal the industry’s true depth. Instead of talking about helping businesses grow, taking entrepreneurial risks, seeing innovations come alive and making dreams come true, we have long been the industry that people “just fell into.” Despite better marketing efforts across the spectrum, insurance still rarely tops the list for the thousands of college students thinking about their career options with each passing semester. It’s up to us to change that.

We need to speak the purpose of our work better and louder and get the next generation vested in an industry that has so much to offer. We are an old industry that needs new blood, and we need to invest in that talent now. 

There are about 2.2 million insurance industry jobs in the United States today—from agents and brokers to property-casualty carriers, life carriers and health-medical carriers. There are roles in sales, advising, service, program design, carrier relationships, claims, loss control, specialty technical (cyber, environmental, surety), mergers and acquisitions, finance, leadership and so on. According to Butler University’s Lacy School of Business, the industry anticipates needing 400,000 new employees by 2020.

Our goal should be to roll out the red carpet and help students across the country find these vast opportunities available to them.

The Council Foundation is one of the greatest tools available to us in this endeavor. Over the past two years, the foundation has awarded $625,000 in scholarships to standout college interns spending their summers working in Council member brokerage firms around the globe. A majority of the 125 scholarship recipients we talked to upon the conclusion of their internship said they discovered something they genuinely had no idea existed in the insurance field: an exciting career prospect. That tells me we’re on the right track, with a lot of room to grow.

I believe we are going to see more change in our industry over the next 10 years than we have ever seen. Innovation, technology, digitization, data and analytics are all coming at us at a fast pace. Insurtech is on fire, with billions raised in the last few years to support new technology advancements in the industry. The first ever InsureTech Connect conference in Las Vegas in October 2016 hosted 1,400 attendees. Just one year later, the conference attracted 3,800 attendees. Projected attendance for the 2018 conference is upward of 8,000. It’s easy to connect the dots.

Our industry has huge opportunities and great career options and is on an innovation explosion. The time is now to expose all of this to the best and brightest students. They want a career that challenges them to problem solve, be creative, utilize technical skills and make a difference in the community. Insurance will get them there. It’s up to us to be the best we can be for our families, our communities, our clients and each other. If this is the story we tell—today and into the future—we will leave this great industry even better than we found it, and that’s something to be proud of.

I’m looking forward to working with you all on this exciting initiative. Cheers to 2018!

David Eslick is chairman and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Agency. He is The Council’s 2018 chairman.