View Full Version : Insurance careers?
04-06-2007, 01:32 PM
Littlest R and I were coming back from an appointment with our insurance agent yesterday, and she asked about careers in insurance. I told her that there seemed to be two types of careers: As an agent, which seems to require salesmanship skills, and as a central-office type, perhaps a statistician. But, as is becoming usual in my conversations with her, I became aware of my almost total ignorance on the subject. Sigh.
Does anyone here work in the insurance biz? If so, what do you do? What kind of skills does it call for? Is it a satisfying job? Would you recommend your job to a young woman of above-average intelligence who's good in math and sociability?
04-06-2007, 01:43 PM
I'm a compliance anaylst in the underwriting department of a medical malpractice insurance company. I have a property and casualty broker's license and am 3/5ths of the way through becoming a Registered Professional Liability Underwriter. What I do is basically keep up with the changes in insurance legislation and make sure that our policies comply with the insurance law. I file our rates and policy changes with the Departments of Insurance. I like my job, I get to learn a lot about medical procedures, politics, and legal stuff.
If your daughter is math and social minded, she may be interested in the actuarial end of the business. It's fascinating to me how different demographics and situations affect how rates are calculated.
Fir na tine
04-06-2007, 01:57 PM
As an agent, which seems to require salesmanship skills,
Being a captive insurance agent is probably one of the most horrible jobs in the world. That's where you enslaved to one company, say snoopy.com and have to sell only their products, meet quotas that are designed to force 95% of you out the door and have 99.9% of your business take place in the evening, in customers homes. I did that for a few soul sucking years between jobs and would not recommend it to anyone, ever.
Being a general insurance agent can be rewarding. You can sell multiple products from multiple companies and truly mix and match to create the best solution for each customer. The pressure to sell, sell, sell is not as high because the agency is concerned with repeat business. Most of the general agents I met really enjoyed their jobs. And after the first few years, the money was very good.
Just my 2 cents.
Girl From Mars
04-06-2007, 08:04 PM
I have worked in Marketing for an number of insurance companies - and besides that, insurance companies require customer service staff, operational staff, IT, internal sales (business area managers etc), underwriters, claims managers, call centre staff, HR, business analysts, actuarians etc. Basically many of the roles found in any large service company.
Regarding insurance advisers/brokers etc - it's no coincidence that the same people will at one point in their lives have been either a real estate agent or car salesman - pretty much the same skill set, and their focus is simply on making the sale and commission, and not necessarily on providing someone with the best insurance possible. In my experience, they are like water and will follow the easiest path. For example, commission is paid on the sale of a product, and each year on the renewal of the insurance - we had a 2 year limit on clawback of commission. Surprising the number of insurance policies that would suddenly need major revisions or to be flipped to another company at the 2 year anniversary (even on level insurance premiums, which to provide the benefit of fixing the rates should be left in place for 5+ years at least.)
The amount of money you can make being an advisor depends on your setup - if you are the principal of a broking firm you can make a very nice living - but the figures I saw on earnings for our advisors seemed to be somewhat exponential - those who worked for a principal would see almost no money. It's not a career I would be rushing off for.
Girl From Mars
04-06-2007, 08:11 PM
Oh, should add, if you daughter is interested in maths etc, being an actuary could be really interesting - to get fully qualified requires I believe years of post-university study and exams, but especially in life/trauma/IP insurance the mechanics behind rate setting involves looking at mortality and morbidity tables (rates of death and injury/disease incidence for the population) and a fair degree of sociology as well. Our actuaries worked closely with our underwriters and claims staff,so there was exposure to real life, and not just tables of numbers.
Far from being boring, I found them as a team to be intelligent, funny and quirky (one was a volunteer fireman, one (a young female) had an amazingly low gold handicap, plus they ran a gambling syndicate..). Would def. recommend it over selling insurance as a career.
04-06-2007, 08:25 PM
I work as the chief information officer and interim CEO for a health insurance company. My experience with actuaries is that the really "black belt" ones unfortunately have almost no social skills at all - kinda like really good computer programmers: all left-brain.
Girl from Mars is correct about the types of careers in the industry. However, please keep in mind, at least for health insurance, that (IMHO) we could be nearing a tipping point in how health insurance works in this country. My guess is that we'll end up with a model that removes the incentives for insurance companies to compete based upon who can attract the healthiest people, but leaves in place the ability for insurers to compete on service, disease management, (relative) administrative efficiency, etc. This isn't the thread to figure out what is the best model - I'm just raising this as a caution regarding Littlest R's future plans.
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