What are the main occupations in this sector?
A diverse range of occupations exist within the insurance sector, making it an exciting industry, providing a host of interesting and diverse career prospects.
Many of the occupations in the insurance sector involve working in customer or client facing roles, across underwriting, claims, sales and customer services
Underwriters evaluate risks and decide whether to provide insurance cover for these risks and at what price (premium). This is a fundamental role for any insurance company as it has a direct impact on the profitability of the company.
Claims handlers investigate insurance claims to assess the extent and validity of the claims and to determine the appropriate amount due to the customer.
In addition to these, there are a number of specialised roles that exist in the industry such as:
Brokers are independent insurance professionals who act as a link between insurance companies and their customers, the insurance buyer. Brokers assess their customers’ insurance requirements and match this with the insurance company who best fits the customer’s needs and budget
Actuaries use statistical and mathematical techniques to study past events and predict future outcomes. This allows them to calculate premiums, offer pension advice or offer guidance on whether or not a company has sufficient assets to meet its future liabilities.
Loss adjustors are independently appointed claims experts who investigate complex or larger claims on behalf of the insurer. Loss adjustors are expert in many fields and have a thorough knowledge of insurance as well as the area in which they work and often advise both the insurance company and policy-holder on repair and replacement techniques.
A loss assessor is appointed by the insured to compile and negotiate the claim on their behalf.
Reinsurance companies essentially insure the insurers. Reinsurance specialists provide specialist services to reinsurers in areas such as underwriting/claims/broking. Due to the potential size of these risks it is often transacted on a global basis.
There are also many opportunities within the insurance industry for individuals working in the following areas:
• Information Technology
• Human Resources
• Business Development
• Public Relations
Find out more about career opportunities in the Insurance Industry here.
What types of employment contracts are there?
Within insurance, the most common form of employment contract is a permanent, full time position, although in recent years there have been also been a number of temporary contracts on offer at all levels within organisations.
What are the typical earnings of these occupations?
Insurance is an industry with plenty of opportunities for career development and long-term earning potential.
|Insurance Role||Salary Range|
|Claims Handler||€30k - €45k|
|Commercial Underwriter (1-5 years' experience)||€40k - €55k|
|Reinsurance Underwriting Support||€35k - €65k|
|Trainee Actuary||€35k - €45k|
|Risk Manager||€70k - €90k|
|DataScientist||€50k - €75k|
A typical starting salary for a new entrant is usually in the €18-26k range, with third level graduates, and those with a foreign language, receiving a higher base in the region of €22-30k. Some insurance sales representatives may also earn commission on top of their basic salary.
The average salaries in insurance tend to be in the €45-60k range which compares favourably with a lot of other sectors.
Overall insurance employees tend to enjoy a good benefits package which may include:
• performance related bonuses
• defined contribution pension
• further education support
• car / car allowance (if required for the role)
• health insurance
• subsidised mortgages
• gyms memberships
• sports and social clubs.
In certain companies, there are other perks such as lunch allowances, flexitime and work from home arrangements, although these are usually provided for longer serving or permanent employees.
Senior executive level
Depending on the size of the company and the level of responsibility involved, C level employees (CEO, CFO, etc.) can earn anything between €150-250k.
How do you get a job in this sector?
Getting into Insurance
There are many ways of securing a job within the insurance sector.
For many it's their first job out of school or college and they may have responded to an advert or there may have been a recruitment presentation given at their university by an employer. The insurance sector is a great alternative to third level education for school leavers. Many insurance companies recruit school leavers and train them in-house, with plenty of opportunities for further education and up-skilling available.
Entry level roles involve handling queries and requests from customers and sales staff, administrating new and existing customers business and helping to settle claims on policies. Typically conventional channels of advertising are used e.g. company website, newspaper, trade magazine or via a jobs board (www.irishjobs.ie; www.jobs.ie; www.insurancejobs.ie; and www.recruitireland.ie)
There are also several recruitment firms specialising in the insurance sector who will advertise on their own company websites and jobs boards.
Vacancies are often promoted via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – the latter is the default choice for many insurance professionals seeking a career move.
While the required skillset varies depending on the role, some of the key skills that insurance employers look for include:
• Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
• Organisational skills
• A problem-solving mentality
• Eye for detail
• IT proficiency, in particular with Microsoft Office
• Strong customer focus.
It is important to demonstrate how you possess some or all of these skills on an insurance job application and that you tailor your CV to the particular role for which you are applying.
An important consideration for anyone pursuing a role in insurance is the requirement for those advising insurance customers to be appropriately qualified. This involves the completion of professional qualifications and provides individuals working in the sector with the opportunity to develop their knowledge at the same time as gaining experience working in the sector.
New Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship
Be the first to hear about the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship 2017 - click here to register your interest.
In the past the insurance sector had a tradition of hiring school-leavers into apprenticeship roles. Many of the industry’s leaders started out as apprentices, undertaking professional qualifications as they worked their way up through the ranks. This tradition faded with the increasing popularity of attending university over the last 15 years, although the graduates who enter the industry still undertake professional qualifications on top of their college degrees, as in other industries – a source of frustration for many. The new Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, will provide a solution to these issues.
School leavers who embark on the professional Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship Scheme will get their foot on the career ladder earlier than most graduates, while still earning a level 8 qualification and a salary. Insurance Practitioner Apprentices will become part of a pool of talent from which organisations can recruit when looking for people who want to create a strong career in the insurance industry and who have the qualifications and employability skills to do so.
Be first to hear about the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship - Click here to see what companies are currently recruiting.
The BA (Hons) Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, a level 8 ‘earn and learn’ degree delivered by The Insurance Institute and IT Sligo, which combines academic qualifications with practical on-the-job learning.
Find out more about career opportunities in the Insurance Industry here.