Insurance is everywhere. It is likely the most ubiquitous contractual agreement in the world. In the U.S., every car we see is mandated to be insured; every building open to the public is, too. Businesses insure their property, operations and personnel against loss. Individuals use forms of insurance to protect their income and secure their future and that of their families. With this much insurance in our society, is it any wonder that there are 14 insurance companies in the Fortune 100?
In the insurance world you will find many of the job descriptions you’d find in other major business. There is sales, marketing, product development, HR, finance and administrative support. There are also a number of positions unique to insurance such as claims, actuarial and underwriting responsibilities.
Employer & Job Options
Types of Positions Available
Account Executives are responsible for attaining new accounts for insurance agencies and also servicing existing accounts. The Account Executive delivers proposals for coverage to agency prospects and to clients, closes the sale and delivers policies. The Account Executive puts
together risk ratings and assists in the collection of premiums. The starting rate for Account Executives ranges from $38,000-$68,000 depending on experience, training and location. A bachelor’s degree in finance or business is required.
Customer Service Representative
Customer Service Representatives wear many hats, but usually deal directly with customers.
The CSR also works closely with brokers, agents, claims adjusters, and underwriters in an
attempt to meet the customer’s needs. The CSR act as a liaison between the customer and the
agency. They are in charge of maintaining policy expiration lists, policy renewals, and accurate
billing. The starting rate for Customer Service Representatives ranges from $28,000-$45,000. At least an associate’s degree in general business is recommended. Generally, individuals need to
have 2-3 years of call experience.
Field Representatives serve as links between insurance agents and insurance companies. Field
Representatives’ primary focus lies in the recruitment, selection and training of sales agents.
This position requires excellent oral and written communication skills. The majority of a Field
Representative’s time is spent on the phone to insurance agencies. The starting salary for Field
Representatives ranges from $28,000-40,000, depending on experience and academic
background. Employment prospects look good, because insurance companies will need field
managers to recruit new agents.
Underwriters determine whether to accept or reject applications for insurance coverage.
Underwriters also determine the insurance premium clients should pay based on their amount
of risk. Underwriters must have an interest in working with people, an ability to act responsibly,
and excellent communication skills. Annual salaries for starting Underwriters ranges from
$43,470 to $76,700. Most employers look for individuals with a four year liberal arts or business
college degree, and often look for individuals with 3-5 year of insurance experience. Many
individuals begin work as a junior or entry-level underwriter.
The Claims Adjuster acts on behalf of the insurance company or the insured in settlement of a
claim, negotiating differences in value. Their work leads to agreement between the parties
about the amount of the loss and the insurance company’s liability for that loss. Salaries range
from $42,400 to $70,860 depending on location and experience. Many employers look for
candidates with a business or technical degree with an emphasis in insurance. Courses in
accounting, banking, finance, business law, and economics are helpful. Potential employers also
focus on a well-rounded education that includes social science and liberal arts courses.
Claims Representatives handle many of the day-to-day functions of the industry. A Claims
Representative takes information from clients reporting a loss, maintains files on active claims,
and reports to a claims adjuster. Claims Representatives handle each step that is taken with a
client reporting a loss, from the initial phone call to settling the claim. Beginning Claims
Representatives can have starting salaries of $35,424 with salaries as high as $55,326 after
several years of service. Most claims representatives receive on the job training. Employment
prospects are good for those considering a job as a Claims Representative, due to the
increasing complexity of insurance claims.
Actuaries make estimates or forecasts about the probability of future events, using
mathematical and statistical calculations. About 90 percent of insurance company Actuaries
work for life insurance companies. This career is a great choice if you are a person who likes
working with numbers. The salaries for new associates certified by the Society of Actuaries are
between $49,150 through $119,110. An actuary must have good mathematical skills and an
ability to perform abstract reasoning. Employers look for individuals with a 4-year degree with courses in accounting, mathematics, and statistics. There will be above average growth for
actuarial jobs over the next few years.
Current Trends in Insurance
- IRMI.com provides expert commentary on current trends and issues by the International
Risk Management Institute.
- Insurance Information Institute The Insurance Information Institute does extensive
research and analysis focusing on issues and trends in the insurance industry.
- Insurance Market Research Reports links to reports on several different categories such
as automobile, health, life and property insurance.
- National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies has the latest news, reports and
most read stories regarding insurance issues.
Do your research to get a better sense of what specific companies in particular cities are paying entry-level employees. Check out Glassdoor and Salary.com to get an idea. Also, a cost of living calculator can be very useful when trying to compare salaries in different parts of the country.
Organizations and Alumni
Bowdoin Career Exploration and Development regularly posts positions from such leading insurance providers as:
- Business Skills Programs
- A great breakdown and overview of the positions one might find in the Insurance industry can be found at the Vault Industries section. Reading job descriptions on Handshake is also a great way to become acquainted with Insurance jobs. Keyword ‘Insurance’ on the Jobs page and see what comes up.
- By googlinginsurance jobs, you’ll be offered a host of search engines that let you search by many criteria, including state you’d like to work in, level of experience, type of work within the field and type of insurance. On most of these sites you can create a search agent to send you jobs that match the criteria you’re interested in.
- The Alumni Database and LinkedIn are brimming with hundreds of Bowdoin alumni who would gladly give you some time for a networking discussion or informational interview. Please refer to the Networking and Using BCAN guides to help you get started.