Broadly speaking, insurance can be viewed as risk management: a way of providing individuals, companies and governments with a way of protecting themselves financially from certain eventualities.
Insurers are in the game of calculating risk. They work out how much money they would need to ‘pay out’ on a claim, the number of claims that are likely to occur, and from there they put a price on their coverage.
What do insurance agents do?
Businesses and individuals need a way to reduce the financial impact of events that could put their survival at risk. For example, a fire at a paper factory would render the business useless. By insuring against the possibility of fire, a company is able to survive such a situation by collecting their ‘premium’ (the amount of money that it was agreed they would receive, should a fire occur).
The insurance industry alone employs over 330,000 people in the UK. It is also a huge earner, managing investments which amount to 25% of the UK’s total net worth.*
Generally, the sector can be split into two parts: life and general insurance. Life insurance is associated with permanent injury or premature death, as well as assisting people with their savings and retirement needs. General insurance focuses on providing protection for property, liabilities and personal injury.
However, there is also something called reinsurance. Insurance companies themselves look to spread their own risk by taking out their own insurance against potential claims. A significant amount of British insurance activities is involved in the reinsurance market.
The insurance market is a resilient marketplace, and as a result, it can be a solid bet if you are looking to enjoy a long and prosperous career. Even when natural disasters have occurred and claims have numbered in their billions, the insurance industry has still remained buoyant.
There are opportunities for analysts, salesmen, investigators and virtually every other aspect of general management (e.g. marketing, HR, etc.).
Analysts (often referred to as actuaries) assess the likelihood of certain events occurring. How often are drivers likely to crash? What is the average pay out? How much do we need to charge per customer to ensure that we turn a profit? These are the kinds of questions that this particular department are presented with.
Salesmen are obviously responsible for going out and generating revenue, promoting policies and getting clients through the door. If an insurance company doesn’t have enough subscribers for a particular policy and several pay outs are called in one go, the company can have a big issue on their hands.
Insurance claims inspectors, on the other hand, are there to ensure that each claim is legitimate. Often, huge premiums are offered, and therefore it is common for people to try to cheat the system.
Insurance brokers are the individuals that act as intermediaries between insurance providers and companies, providing advice to potential policyholders on what is the most appropriate product to take. This industry alone is big business. The market for insurance is gigantic; wading through the options is a tricky task and people pay lots of money for others to do the dirty work for them.
If you’re interested in getting involved in this lucrative career, check out our jobs board or click on the following occupational profiles to find out more:
*Figures gathered from ABI UK Insurance Key Facts booklet for 2015
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