What is the insurance profession?

Most of us know what insurance is – whether it’s paying to fix a car, replace a lost phone or a hospital visit while holidaying abroad. But what do we mean by the insurance profession? Being a professional is different from having a job, in that you commit to gaining and maintaining advanced expertise, join a community of other professionals beyond your workplace and subscribe to a code of ethics that puts the public first. Insurance professionals take great pride in using advanced knowledge and skills to get the right outcome for customers, not just selling a product. And when that outcome could be saving lives, getting families back into flood-damaged homes or businesses back on their feet after a cyber attack, that can be pretty fulfilling.

Why become an insurance professional?

It’s not just about doing something that benefits society, insurance is one of the best kept secrets in financially rewarding, varied and interesting careers.

The UK is one of the leading insurance sectors in the world, and over 300,000 people work in a fantastically wide range of technical and non-technical roles. Although qualifications aren’t legally required to work in insurance, most people are encouraged to take a professional qualification, which often unlocks very highly paid, secure roles at senior levels within global brands, tech startups and smaller regional businesses.

Anything can be insured, so there are products and businesses staffed by experts who know not just how to insure those things, but understand how to avoid things going wrong in the first place. So there are underwriters, brokers and claims experts who know everything about oil rigs and what could go wrong there, there are aviation experts who can make sure a whole airline can keep flying if some of their jets are recalled due to a manufacturer fault. Or you could be helping a chain of high street shops minimise the risk of a cyber attack. The better you get at understanding the risk, helping clients manage them by getting the right risk management in place and insurance to cover catastrophes, the higher you can go and the greater the rewards. Find out more about the benefits within this profession by reading the ‘Why Work in the Insurance Profession?’ article here.

Routes into the profession

Insurance is an increasingly inclusive profession, and employers are actively seeking people from a diverse range of backgrounds and skills. While numerical skills are usually useful in some of the core roles, only highly specialist roles such as catastrophe modellers or actuaries would normally expect a degree in statistics or advanced mathematics. Many people join the insurance profession straight from school, via an apprenticeship, which means you get a highly credible and valuable professional qualification automatically as part of it, which will put you in a great position to advance your career.

Many people come into insurance after developing skills and experience within other sectors. People with climate analysis skills are needed in catastrophe modelling, AI developers in many technical and non-technical roles, and engineers in construction insurance, to name just a few examples. Find out more about how to enter this profession by reading the ‘Routes into the Insurance Profession’ article.

Skills required to succeed in insurance

There are such a wide variety of roles in insurance that there is no single set of skills that will guarantee success. If you have strong customer skills, drive to deliver and demonstrate impact, you can learn the technical skills on the job and through your professional qualification. Find out more about the skills needed to be successful in this profession by reading the ‘Essential Skills to be successful in the Insurance Profession’ article here.

New developments/Trends

Employment in insurance has been growing over the past 3-5 years, as more people and businesses have sought help from professionals to manage increasingly complex risks. Particular areas of growth are related to technology, so data analysis, cyber and AI skills are in particularly high demand.

Insurance is a fast evolving profession, with thousands of different roles changing to meet client demand and real world risks, so there is a role for almost anyone – especially those who invest in their skills and demonstrate them through professional qualifications.

About the Author

  • Name: Ian Simons, Content and Capabilities Director, Chartered Insurance Institute (CII)

Ian joined the CII in 2015 to lead its marketing function, and more recently evolved the remit to focus on market insight, learning content and future skills.

Ian originally qualified as an underwriter and progressed to work in a number of senior marketing roles at major insurers such as Zurich, RSA and QBE.

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