“The insurance industry usually isn’t what people think of when they’re planning their careers or considering totally different jobs,” says Charles Valinotti, Head of Underwriting & Product with insurer QBE. “In fact, most people who work in the insurance field will tell you they fell into it by accident.”
Falling into an insurance career can be a good thing, according to CareerCast’s 2013 Jobs Rated Report. Of 200 jobs, actuary ranked No. 1 as the best job of the year. An actuary works for insurance companies and other businesses that manage financial risk. Actuaries use statistics and study uncertain future events – such as accidents and property loss from natural disasters – to set insurance premiums and reserves for paying claims.
Two other insurance jobs ranked among the top 100. Underwriter landed in the 74th position, and insurance agent 78th.
CareerCast’s job ratings are based on factors including income and income growth potential, hiring outlook and physical demands.
Actuaries, underwriters and agents aren’t the only insurance industry jobs available to those exploring employment opportunities. “We take great people and give them great careers,” Valinotti says. “In addition to providing training and professional development, we help open doors and challenge people. No other industry does it as well.”
Insurance companies see the possibilities in all job candidates, he says, regardless of their education level, college major or experience.
“We look for smart people who show they can learn,” Valinotti says. “Those who are articulate, adaptable and good communicators would fit well in the insurance field.”
Insurance has long battled the perception that its jobs are boring or focused solely on sales and claims. Not so, says Valinotti. For example:
Jobs from A to Z – Many college degrees and skills lend themselves well to an insurance career. Your degree in finance, accounting, marketing, human resources, law, IT – even forestry – can land you a challenging position in the insurance field. In addition, job experience and special skills – such as chef, pilot and animal lover – can go a long way in supporting insurance customers’ businesses that include restaurants, airports and pet stores.
A plethora of career paths – Once people have insurance experience under their belts, the sky’s the limit for jumping into other careers the industry has to offer. Valinotti says many insurance employees get their feet wet, then move into other positions to become adjusters, field investigators, product marketers, project managers and loss control consultants. “There are hundreds of different job titles and responsibilities in insurance,” he says. “Most people have no idea what’s available.”
Internships – Even if you don’t see yourself in an insurance career, an insurance-related internship is a great way to try out the industry, use your skills and gain exposure to different business experiences. The knowledge you gain might land you in a career you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
And, along with its wide array of career possibilities, the insurance industry provides something many others do not – stability. “The need for insurance is not going away. People continue to have lives and property and they have to protect it,” Valinotti says. “A career in insurance allows you to help people when they need it most.”