What your career counselor never told you

The opportunities for a great career in the insurance industry are virtually endless yet, for some reason, insurance is not often talked about at career fairs in high school, colleges, and universities. Sadly, the insurance industry continues to be plagued by antiquated stigmas. We haven’t shaken off the image of the door to door life insurance salesman or the notion that it’s all a money grab. What a shame! Now may be just the right time for you to start your career in insurance.

My personal experience

I started my career in insurance because a relative was already in the industry. I was in my last year of high school, looking for a way to make an income to pay for university. Lucky me, not only was I able to graduate debt-free with a part-time job, but I also found my passion. Of course, the initial thought of selling insurance was revolting and a conversation killer at parties. For a while, I even tried saying, “I’m a risk transfer consultant” – it sounded way fancier than declaring “I sell insurance.”

With time I got over it. I realized that people and companies include insurance costs in their yearly budget. And that no business operates, plane flies or building gets built without insurance. I realized I could offer outstanding service and the best coverage they could afford. I felt proud of the service I was providing. It felt really good to know clients viewed me as a reputable advisor. It felt even better to see the relief a client would get when I told them everything would be okay after they experienced a devastating loss from fire or water. You can make a difference in this in this industry, even when sales is not your thing.

5 Reasons to join the insurance industry

1. You get to help people

Insurance is all about helping and servicing people. Whether in claims or working as a broker or underwriter, your ultimate job is to satisfy the customer and to get them the best coverage possible for the right price. A dedicated insurance professional will be able to point to subtleties that could make a significant difference for the client at the time of a loss. Developing your skillset and craft to an expert level and using it to help people is extremely satisfying.

2. Day to day variety

No two days in insurance are the same, and you never stop learning. As an underwriter, you’re analyzing risk. No two submissions or companies look the same, allowing you to sink your teeth into new content daily. The same applies to the broker or the claims side of the business: new businesses arise, technology risks emerge, and claims are unpredictable. You genuinely don’t know what awaits at your desk from day-to-day.

3. A community

As an insurance professional, you have the opportunity to get involved in countless industry-based communities and networks. This is an industry that is passionate about networking and driving fundraising campaigns. There are plenty of occasions gather for a drink, and chat about industry trends.

4. Opportunities for advancement or lateral moves

With the retirement of the baby boomers, there will be plenty of jobs and opportunities for advancement. The industry is entering a new stage with insure tech platforms and initiatives. There will be an interest in talent that can bring a different skill set. In Canada, for instance, a study done by the Insurance Institute in 2017, expects 27% of the current Property & Casualty industry workforce to retire by 2027. Now is a good time for those looking to start their career in insurance.

5. The world is your oyster

From London to New York, to Bermuda, to Toronto, to Singapore, there are insurance hubs worldwide. The opportunities of transfers within or with a different employer are high. If you’re interested in working abroad, you should be continually working on your personal brand. Attend network events, ask smart questions, ask for introductions, you will get there!

Opportunities for everyone

Like any other industry, within the insurance industry, you can find fabulous companies that look after their employees and others that have some work to do in that respect. If you find yourself stuck or in a stifling environment, know this is not typical of the industry. Avoid confusing what’s specific to a company’s culture with what you can achieve by working under the right conditions.

The insurance industry really has something to offer for everyone. The sector needs talent across all functions such as Human Resources, IT, operations, and marketing, as well as sales and distribution.

Even graduates across different fields such as law, engineering, and architecture, can find their place in the industry developing programs and assessing risk for those industry classes.

The opportunities are endless within the industry. Take note of what makes you tick, and you’ll be sure to find a role that matches your desires.

Read about different roles: broker, claims adjuster, risk manager, underwriter.

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