Think Insurance and Risk is boring or dull? Think again.

Taylor Swift's let herself go a bit ...

Taylor Swift’s let herself go a bit …

Who knew that Taylor Swift’s legs are insured for £10 million?  Or that 30,000 people have actually taken out insurance policies for alien abduction?  Ever wondered about the implications of insuring driverless cars; how to tackle the growing area of cyber-crime or exactly how to enforce stricter regulations on the use of drones?

No – neither had I – but these are all projects that recent graduates have been involved with.   Think a career in insurance and risk sounds boring or dull?  Think again!!

Last Friday, I was up, out and on the early train to London to attend the Chartered Institute of Insurance’s Annual Careers Advisor Day.  The ‘big’ names such as Aon, Allianz and AXA were there, alongside specialist firms such as Markel and Davies.

I don’t think I have ever met with a student who has said to me, ‘Karen, I’d really like to work in insurance and risk.’  It’s an area which often seems to be overlooked by students (or dwarfed by the attractions of a finance career…) even though it’s worth £2 trillion and has a 250,000 strong workforce in the UK!  I was really keen to know more about it so I could provide some insight into what you might be missing.

So, what did I learn?

  • It’s not all about working in a call centre! There are a huge range of options – broking, underwriting, loss adjusting, reinsurance, risk management, claims, actuarial and modelling.  Not forgetting commercial roles such as marketing, finance and HR.  The areas of data science and analytics are fast growing, as is IT and the need for their systems to keep up with demand.

Read more about what is involved here http://www.discoverrisk.co.uk/about-risk/career-paths.aspx

  • Most roles are open to all graduates and it’s all about the person, rather than the subject studied. You’ll need great communication, negotiation and relationship building skills, the ability to problem solving and analyse data, flexibility and resilience.  Languages are also good to have.  Some roles may have additional requirements – such as that you’ll need a numerical degree to work in Actuarial and that Claims and Loss Adjusting may suit law graduates.
  • Most graduate schemes are rotational. You’ll work in different areas, gaining experience and helping you to decide where you want to settle.  For example, Richard from Allianz spent 6 months as an Underwriter dealing with brokers and deciding whether to insure risks or not, he then spent 6 months as a Key Account Executive managing complex relationships between underwriters and banks.  He took the opportunity to work in India and manage a new Contact Centre and now he’s back in the UK working as a Development Team Leader making processes more efficient.  All graduates spoke about having a good work/life balance and not having to work 24/7 like their friends in finance…
  • Graduate schemes are not the only entry route. Many graduates actually start their career in direct entry positions e.g. underwriting or claims assistants, and still have very rewarding and successful careers.
  • Tips for getting into the sector. Most companies offer internships and if you can get some experience – great – if not, everybody has been involved with insurance in one way or another e.g. travel claim, car insurance etc. so be clear what you learnt through this and why this attracts you to the industry.  It goes without saying but make sure you can demonstrate the skills required through your academic studies, work experience or extracurricular activities.

My advice

Leave any misconceptions about the sector behind, have a look at the website http://www.discoverrisk.co.uk/ and see where insurance and risk might take you – you may be pleasantly surprised.

PS I’ve just had a quick look on CareersLink and, using the key word search, there are 55 full time jobs containing the word ‘insurance’ and another 55 with ‘risk’!

By Karen Butterworth, Careers Consultant

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