The number of college and high school graduates suddenly converging into the job market will have many stumbling into a career they never would have considered as a career goal. Most of us have participated in some form of school career fair or other activity where students are exposed to different careers. They usually cover the fields of medicine, environmental sciences, military, police, fire, education, business, engineering or law. Did you ever see someone encouraging a career in Insurance? According to US Department of Labor statistics, the classification of “Finance and Insurance” is the third largest workforce classification after Health Care and Education. The Insurance industry alone employs just shy of 780,000 people in the United States.
Even the classification of “Finance and Insurance” leaves insurance in second place; an afterthought. At most colleges and universities, you can major in Finance but generally not Insurance. It is actually a career that is comprised of so many specialties that I’m certain no single major would prepare you for all jobs in the insurance industry. You definitely can major or minor in many fields of study that someday will lead you to one or more of the technical or specialty fields of insurance. Despite the lack of college insurance majors, the insurance industry continues to draw many of the best to assume varied roles in the industry.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the insurance industry added 14,000 jobs in April of 2017 alone and industry experts are projecting that over 100,000 insurance industry jobs will be filled in 2017 in this country. These are not necessarily newly established jobs but replacements for an aging workforce.
There are 5 main areas of any insurance company’s operations that include sales/marketing, loss prevention/risk management, underwriting, claims and administration. Those divides exist no matter whether the insurance company is selling life, health, disability, homeowners, auto, business liability, commercial property or workers compensation insurance.
When you buy insurance are you buying it the traditional way through an insurance agent, or an 800 number, or through an on-line resource? No matter which, you are talking to someone in a sales job. Before them, someone developed the advertising campaign to draw the customers in. Once the customers’ attention has been gained, companies rely on computers to get quotes. Developing those quotes involves researchers, statisticians, actuarials and IT/computer programmers. Seldom thought of are the governmental relations employees who work with state regulators for a company t be able to sell their policies and at what price. Anyone involved in sales will tell you that it is much easier to retain a customer then it is to bring in a new one. To retain those customers, customer service representatives are a very costly but essential portion of the industry’s workforce.
My insurance career has allowed me to gain experience in all 5 of the major areas. Over 20 years of it was doing activities relating to Safety Engineering, Loss Prevention and Risk Management. While the names vary a little, the most common objective is to prevent losses; that saves you and the insurance company money. My engineering activities may have involved evaluating the design of a building’s sprinkler system or fire spread ratings of building materials used in a potentially hazardous commercial setting. Teaching people driving safety courses helped prevent accidents and modifying work habits prevented repeatitive motion injuries.
The claims department is the operation with the most job specialties. After an auto accident you deal with someone in an office who evaluates your description of an accident, the “other guy’s story”, the police reports and the damage done to the cars involved. While they may bring in accident investigation experts for some cases, most involve having your car evaluated by an auto damage appraiser. That individual is usually someone who has expanded their automotive industry experience to the insurance industry. The same concept is true for appraisers you deal with after a homeowner’s insurance loss, but now you’re dealing with people with construction experience.
If asked where the greatest amount of job growth is in the insurance industry, there is no doubt that it hinges on information technology. The speed in which I can input data for an application is the time it takes to produce a quote. Gone are the days of a “rater” calculating the individual components that make up what is to be charged for a 2014 black Chevy Silverado driven 24 miles each day. With the input of data and a few clicks of a mouse, the computer tells me what your policy will cost. As technology changes so will the need for IT Specialists.
As long as we have the potential for losses to occur, there will be jobs in Insurance. Between the advancements of computers and Amazon, I can’t say that is true for every industry out there.