“I want to work in insurance when I grow up!” – No One Ever
There aren’t a lot of people working for insurance carriers or agents who grew up thinking that’s where their career would take them. Unless insurance was a family business, most people have other dreams. Even if one goes to college to study business or finance, a job in insurance is usually not what one has in mind.
Luckily for the industry, people are flexible and, more importantly, often in need of employment when they graduate college. Still, many employees take their first insurance job convinced it’s only temporary. Again – insurance was never the plan.
It may be true that many people outside the industry think jobs in insurance are boring…mainly made up of numbers and spreadsheets and paperwork. I’ve even heard someone say that they think insurance people are out to take advantage of those who need their products and services.
Nothing could be further from the real truth.
First, there’s a lot of us. According to the US Department of Labor, in 2019 2.8 million people worked in the insurance industry; 1.6 million for insurance companies, 1.2 million for agencies, brokers, and “other insurance-related enterprises.” That’s a whole lot of people – odds are they are not all boring!
With those numbers comes diversity. Insurance organizations are made up of employees from all sorts of backgrounds, experiences, education, and interests. That makes for a variety of conversations around the watercooler (or on Skype or Zoom calls).
If you work for an insurance organization, chances are you have a lot of coworkers and/or a lot of interaction with your peers within other organizations. If you’re a people-person, nothing can be better than getting paid to talk to others. Insurance is often referred to as “a relationship business.”
But, what if you’re not much of a salesperson? Insurance has you covered! Raters, processing clerks, actuarial, legal, support staff, marketing and design, IT, product development…the industry offers a huge variety of jobs.
Employment also tends to be consistent and reliable. Since 2015, industry employment has increased steadily from 2.5 million to 2.6 million. In 2020, the US employment rate increased from 4.4% to 14.7% between March and April, and as of June sits at 11.1%. In comparison, the insurance unemployment rate was 1% in March, and the highest the rate went to during this same time period was 4.6%.
Earnings and benefits are also consistent. As an example, between February and May 2020, the average hourly earnings for insurance employees increased by 1.8%.
Let’s set aside the spreadsheets and bar graphs just for a moment. People who work in the insurance industry are generally really good people who enjoy the service aspect of their work. We come to work wanting to offer coverage or pay that claim. We enjoy helping people get back on their feet after a loss and supporting our communities in difficult times. We want to help people solve problems. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that by June 2020, insurance organizations had donated $280M to charitable foundations in response to COVID-19. Insurance companies and their employees want to help – whether that comes in the form of answering the phone when we’re needed, paying a claim, or making a donation.
Most, if not all, insurance companies have a mission statement. They’re each a little different, of course, but many of the statements include words like integrity, security, protection, excellence. These statements not only express what they do, but why they do it, and this is where people discover the value of a career in insurance. The best companies look to hire people who share their values and embrace their culture. Those who work in the industry are those who show up every day looking to make a difference in the lives of others.
I never planned to work in insurance, but I am glad I do. Whether you are fresh out of college or looking for a career change, the insurance industry is a great place to start!
Learn more about Insurance Careers and where I work at Central Insurance Companies in Van Wert, OH.
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