My career in insurance started like many in the industry – I just kind of fell into it. Then fell in love with it. I entered the industry as a finance major straight out of college. At first, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted my career path to be. I just knew I needed a job. I was interviewing for many different positions within the financial services world. Then I read a job opportunity description different from any other within the financial services industry. The description went something like this:
- Develop and maintain excellent rapport with agency force, insureds, claimants, attorneys, and experts
- Investigate, evaluate, negotiate claims in manner that’s fair for the company and insured/claimant
- 10% travel
All the other entry level positions I interviewed for involved time consuming cold-calling and sales. The investigate, evaluate, negotiate, and travel portions of the duties hooked me and reeled me in. Long story short, I went through the interview process, got a position as a Claims Service Representative, and my career was off and running.
The description was right on! Daily duties included investigating and evaluating bodily injury and property claims. About 10% of the time travel was required for investigating and settlement via alternative dispute resolution.
After over 11 years developing my insurance skills in the Claims department and working my way up to Claims Supervisor, a need opened up within our Commercial Lines Underwriting Department. My coverage form analysis and negation skills, and ability to develop rapport translated perfectly into the professional skills needed to underwrite.
At its core, the industry is a people business. It’s a promise to fulfill the duties set forth within the insurance contract and an important promise customers rely on. Effectively fulfilling that promise and keeping the company and ongoing concerns where the role of the commercial underwriter comes into play. The underwriter must evaluate all aspects of the risk, and determine the acceptability of the risk, policy terms, and an appropriate price.
No matter what your interests are, the industry has a role for you. A poll of other insurance professionals revealed that I’m not alone. When asked what their favorite part of their job is, the most common answers were:
- The people – interaction with both internal and external customers.
- Problem solving
- Interesting – the industry is always changing and adjusting due to changes in technology, legislative rulings, and social expectations.
- Variety – the job is not boring. You see something new every day.
- The ability to work independently while being part of a team.
When an insured goes through possibly the most catastrophic event in their life, it’s us they look to for help. Being part of a team to help the policyholder in their time of need provides a great sense of purpose. This sense of purpose is what makes a position within insurance a career and not just a job.