This guest post was written by Paul Williams, Manager at Jelf Small Business
There aren’t many people who set out from school or university looking for a career in the insurance industry. A few souls may be enamoured with numbers and see an actuarial position as the ultimate role but for many they fall into it by accident.
Whilst it may not have the image of a ‘sexy industry’ it is a fast-paced industry with lots of change. As well as employing around 300,000 people in the UK it’s also responsible for over 20 per cent of the investments made. Much of the world’s shipping and large property insurance is managed in the City of London at Lloyds and the glamour and opportunity of a role in the city can’t be underestimated.
There’s a wide variety of roles and challenges in different parts of the market and below are just a few to think about.
The widest of all opportunities, insurance sales can mean anything from those starting off in a call centre selling car insurance to the international role of managing high risk portfolios for multinationals in the energy industry. The key attributes are likely to be people skills and the ability to be persuasive. Successful insurance sales folk are able to talk to all sorts of people; from demanding customers negotiating on price to underwriting colleagues or contacts that may be a bit more reserved and focused on the facts.
Although claims are sometimes given a bad rap in the press, insurance claims teams’ prime reason for existing is to help people. If you love helping this might be the role for you, it can be really rewarding to know that you’ve made somebodies life a little bit easier.
Also, the opportunity to specialise in certain areas can lead to very specific and interesting roles, loss adjustors manage complex claims on behalf of insurers and customers. Fancy dealing with a claim resulting from a satellite crashing to earth?
The sexy side of any industry! Marketing insurance is always a challenge. It’s not as boring as it used to be though – look at the creativity that some of the big brands apply, from using Meerkats to famous comedians, adverts have become more creative and irreverent. So much of current marketing takes place online, using different channels to communicate with and listen to the views of customers to help guide future campaigns.
Underwriting roles vary from the management of expected income vs expected claims on large scales of car insurance to the extreme niches of insuring fine art such as the Mona Lisa or writing a one-off policy to insure Mariah Carey’s legs. People skills are again important and winning a tough negotiation whilst retaining good relationships will reward anyone who enjoys a good deal.
IT has always been important to insurance and with the increasing importance of e-trading I believe the industry took a big lead in transacting business on the web. Supporting the systems will always be important but within IT there’s also opportunity to disrupt current practices and help sell more for less.
Because of all of these reasons and more, I’m sure insurance is worth considering as a career. Wherever you work a lot of the enjoyment of the role will come from the people you work with and I can safely say insurance people are as friendly as the next bunch. The industry bashes are famously liquid fuelled too!