If you’ve ever seen Along Came Polly with Ben Stiller, you’ll know that offering insurance to certain clients can be quite risky. Consequently, detailed risk assessments need to be made.
Admittedly, if you become an insurance risk surveyor, you won’t be playing racquetball with a maniac, or watching your client do a BASE jump, like Reuben Feffer, but you will be helping your insurance company to prosper by assessing risk effectively.
Insurance risk surveyors specifically focus their attention on insurance cover for properties and industrial sites. They visit client sites, conduct risk assessments, collect information, amass evidence, write reports and make recommendations to insurance underwriters.
Based on these reports, underwriters make decisions about whether or not to offer insurance to the client. The specific details of the report will also act as the blueprint for the particulars of the insurance policy which is drawn up.
Insurance risk surveyors also act as consultants to clients, offering them advice and guidance on how to reduce risk and improve their chances of securing insurance cover.
The majority of insurance risk surveyors tend to specialise in one particular area, such as theft, fire, accident or engineering insurance.
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Salary & benefits
Entry-level insurance risk surveyors tend to earn between £18,500 and £23,000 per annum, while those with a few years of experience can earn up to £44,000 a year.
Some senior insurance risk surveyors earn annual salaries of up to £100,000.
Insurance risk surveyors typically work five days a week, nine-to-five. However, extra evening and weekend work may be required from time to time to accommodate certain customers.
Travelling around the country is a regular fixture for risk surveyors, and site visits are made in all kinds of weather.
Risk surveyors may also occasionally find themselves working in dangerous situations. Consequently, necessary safety clothing must be worn, such as hard hats or steel-toe-capped boots.
Some people become insurance risk surveyors via graduate training programmes. To be eligible for these schemes, you will typically need an undergraduate degree or HND in any discipline. However, a degree in a relevant subject, such as insurance, risk management, business studies or civil engineering, may boost your chances of securing a job.
Many people, however, enter this line of work after working in another area of the insurance industry, such as underwriting. Some insurance risk surveyors come from different industries altogether, such as civil engineering.
Insurance risk surveying typically requires a lot of travelling. Consequently, people are also usually required to have a full, clean driving licence.
Training & progression
Some insurance risk surveyors start their career as part of a graduate scheme. If you are accepted onto a graduate scheme, the majority of your training will be done whilst on the job under the supervision of a senior risk surveyor. You will also have the opportunity to attend in-house training sessions from time to time.
As part of your training programme, you will usually be given the opportunity to complete the professional examinations required to become a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute. This can be highly beneficial for career progression.
Some companies may also require you to complete additional qualifications that are accredited by the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.
As you gain more and more experience, you may progress into a senior risk surveyor position with managerial responsibilities.
Alternatively, you might decide to move into different areas of the insurance industry; for instance, you might decide to become an underwriter, a claims inspector, a loss adjuster or a risk manager.
Freelance consultancy work is another viable option.