Working in the insurance industry can bring financial security and personal rewards. You can help individuals and companies protect their lives, health and property, riding to the rescue if there is an illness, accident or other loss. The wide variety of careers in insurance offers something for everyone, from high school graduates to professionals with advanced degrees.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most popular jobs in the insurance industry, including how much they pay and what you’ll need to get started. But first, let’s review some of the unique benefits that make an insurance career particularly rewarding.
Jobs to Fit Your Skills and Personality
Do you enjoy solving problems and helping people? You would definitely enjoy being a customer service representative. Are you outgoing with strong communication skills? Consider becoming a sales agent. Are you the analytical type? You should find out what it takes to become an examiner or adjuster.
Jobs to Fit Your Level of Education
Whether you’re starting with a high school diploma, some college or an advanced degree, the insurance industry offers positions for everyone from entry-level workers to skilled managers, as well as staff roles in traditional professions such as law, medicine and engineering.
Jobs to Work at Home or in the Office
Some positions may require you to work in an office environment, but other positions may offer the potential for flexibility to work remotely (at home) or with a hybrid schedule. Some careers will also take you out into the community, visiting customers or inspecting insured properties.
Insurance is a dynamic business in a growing market; so most positions pay a competitive salary or hourly rate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for customer service professionals is $45,030. A sales agent can expect to earn $52,180. Examiners, adjusters and appraisers can earn from $64,080 to $79,830, while actuaries average $111,030.
Employee Coverage and Discounts
One obvious benefit of working in the insurance industry is…insurance. Many companies offer employees health insurance coverage, and in some cases, employee discounts on other policies. For example, GE offers its employees discounts on auto, home and personal liability coverage.
A Strong Industry Outlook
Nearly all positions in the insurance industry have a positive growth outlook, averaging seven percent. However, some specialties have a much higher growth outlook. For example, actuaries can look forward to a growth in demand for their services of 24 percent over the next 10 years.
Learn as You Earn
Many insurance company positions offer on-the-job training, and as you learn, there are many paths to grow your career and your earnings by becoming a manager or by moving up to the next level of skill and responsibility.
Opportunities to Serve
Insurance companies help people finance cars and homes without fear of losing their investment. Health coverage allows people to be free from worry that an injury or illness would be financially devastating. Life insurance lets breadwinners know that their families are secure. The same is true of business risk. Throughout history, merchants and investors have relied on insurance companies to share the risk of starting new ventures. You can help businesses safeguard the value they create.
Opportunities to Get Involved in Your Community
Insurance companies are usually active participants in supporting their communities through charities and volunteer work. You can expect that your company will provide you with new opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.
Below are some of the most familiar ways to work in the insurance industry. In addition to these roles, bear in mind that insurance companies also often require employees in finance, administration, human resources, information technology, legal services and marketing.
Customer Service Representative
A customer service or claims representative processes new policies and claims. Many customer service representatives are high school graduates who receive much of their training on the job. The average starting salary for an insurance customer service representative is $45,030.
Insurance Sales Agent
Sales agents contact businesses and individuals to offer various types of insurance. Although you can become a sales agent with a high school diploma, many successful sales agents have a bachelor’s degree. An insurance sales agent receives some on-the-job training and must also be licensed by the state to sell policies as an insurance professional. Median income: $52,180.
Underwriters evaluate policy applications to decide whether a risk should be insured, and on what terms. Most have a bachelor’s degree, although it is possible to become an underwriter with suitable insurance experience. Underwriters must also study for professional certification exams in order to advance to management or senior underwriting positions. Median income: $71,790.
Adjusters evaluate losses to determine how much the insurance company should pay. An adjuster may interview the claimant and review other evidence, such as a police accident report. When necessary, they may consult with an engineer or a doctor for a more expert opinion. The adjuster’s written and photo evidence are reviewed by an examiner. The adjuster then negotiates a settlement with the claimant. If there is a dispute, the adjuster may have to work with attorneys to defend the insurance company position.
Appraisers are specialists in estimating the value of an insured item or in estimating the cost to repair damage. The largest number of appraisers working for insurance companies and independent adjusters are experts in the damage caused by automobile accidents. The appraiser’s estimate then goes to an adjuster, who uses these details to prepare a settlement, as outlined above.
Examiners review the evidence submitted by adjusters and appraisers to ensure that industry guidelines and company policies have been followed. They may have specialized experience or knowledge to determine whether the amount of the claim is reasonable. The examiner will either authorize payment or deny the claim. In some cases, the examiner may refer the claim to an investigator.
An investigator may become involved in a claim when an insurance company suspects fraud. Auto accidents have been staged, warehouse fires have been started by arson, and unethical medical practitioners have billed for false claims. Insurance investigators must often work covertly. For example, they may keep a claimant under surveillance to determine whether a claimed injury is legitimate or exaggerated.
Actuaries are financial analysts who use statistics to compute the cost or certainty of various risks. Most are staff actuaries for insurance companies. However, some work as consultants for multiple clients. Actuaries must have at least a bachelor’s degree and a strong background in mathematics and statistics. They must also pass a series of examinations for professional certification. The median annual income for actuaries is $118,304.
Why work in the insurance industry?
You can devote your energy to work that is always interesting and often rewarding. You can earn excellent starting salaries and benefits – with job security. You can find many career paths that suit your skills. And you can earn opportunities to move up. More importantly, you can enjoy genuine job satisfaction, knowing that you are helping your customers live free from worry over financial loss. Learn more about joining the Higginbotham team.