By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) (9 Aug 15)
Insurance has become a necessity for many people in today's society. You cannot buy a house or drive a car legally, for instance, without having some sort of insurance. The insurance sector is always expanding and looking to take on new employees, and for many is a viable, profitable and challenging new career move.
You might not have previously considered building a new career in insurance. As an insurance broker, however, you would put many different skills into practice, and you might be surprised at how many of these skills you may already have, making a transition into insurance broking surprisingly easier than first thought.
Getting a Foot in the Door
Insurance broking utilises different skills, such as sales technique, administrative duties, numeracy and analysis and customer service. The basic duties that an insurance broker will undertake include processing accounts, negotiating the best possible policy with insurance providers, dealing with customer accounts, claims and queries, data input and administrative tasks, as well as preparing data reports.
Insurance brokers are not salesmen as such, as they have to take a more impartial role in finding the best deal for their customer, so in effect are a sort of mediator between the insurance provider and customer.
If you have previously had employment that required any of these skills, as well as any relevant financial services employment, then you'll be well equipped to start working as a trainee broker or insurance technician. To achieve full broker status you'll probably have to undertake some On-The-Job Training combined with study towards an industry qualification, such as a CII Certificate in Insurance for trainees (Chartered Insurance Institute).
Having suitable GCSEs or equivalent qualifications will also be very helpful, particularly in maths and English. Relevant A-Levels will also help you to progress through any training into more senior positions faster than others. Similarly, A-Level standard qualifications will also open up opportunities to enter directly into Management Training.
You may also be lucky enough to be able to train in insurance as an apprentice. These schemes are largely dependent on your locality, and will need
to be researched thoroughly to get an idea of what's on offer where you live.
If you have recently obtained a degree, or think you can afford to take time to study as an undergraduate, another possible employment route is via one of the various graduate training schemes offered by some larger insurance broking firms. Although the majority of degree subjects can get you into a graduate training programme, there are definite benefits in gaining a degree in maths or a business-related field.
Career Prospects and Development
Insurance broker companies come in all different shapes and sizes, from small independent firms, to the vast conglomerates. If you have an idea of the type of company you want to work for, it's worth checking out the appropriate job sections. For local jobs it makes sense to just peruse your local newspaper vacancies or sign up with a local recruitment agency. If you have your sights set on a multinational, then industry magazines and national newspapers are a better option.
In both cases, you can also sign up with specialist financial services recruitment agencies, which will have many useful and productive contacts. Recruitment Agencies are also a great source of information regarding which steps can be taken to make a positive switch to a new career in insurance.
Because there are so many different types of insurance, the career development prospects are abundant. Working as an insurance broker and gaining the appropriate qualifications as you work, can lead to further employment in specialist insurance sectors, such as underwriting and loss adjustment, or working in the London Insurance Market, which can pay handsomely.
It does take time to work up to a senior position in insurance, but the benefits once you get there can be plentiful! Because there are so many different employment routes for a potential insurance broker, as well as opportunities to train on the job, it's no wonder that so many people are turning to insurance as a new career.
Other Financial Opportunities
To find out about a variety of other potential careers available in the finance sector, visit our Finance & Management category of this site.