Do you want to be involved in the key issues facing the world today: artificial intelligence, climate change, cyber crime, political risk, the increasing use of drones? Insurance understands and helps to manage all of these issues and many more. We manage risks that range from driverless cars and smart houses to Crossrail and oil rigs, from rockets to sports people.

The big picture

Insurance has a global reach and not only underpins our own individual security but also enables big businesses to operate more freely. Let’s put it another way – without insurance, you couldn’t study at university or go on your summer holiday, you couldn’t go out for dinner (or order in a pizza) or see your favourite band play live.

If you join the UK insurance profession, you are joining one of the most influential and important parts of the UK economy. The sector employs more than 300,000 people in the UK alone and the City of London is the heart of international insurance and reinsurance. Insurance contributes nearly £12 billion in taxes and has more than £1.7 trillion of invested assets.

Client-facing or back-office?

Insurance is not just a client-facing sector although there are many brokers, underwriters and loss adjusters helping to write business and deal with the impact of a major event on businesses face to face.

There are also many back-office roles in risk modelling, claims and business analysis, plus actuarial and data science, for those who prefer scrutinising data-driven situations and helping their client-facing colleagues to make the right decisions for the business.

One important point to keep in mind is that the role you do at the start of your career does not have to define the rest of it. For example, people may start in a claims role but then move to underwriting, or loss adjusting, or a business analyst or support role. In effect, it is easy to have several careers in the insurance sector.

Graduates from any degree discipline can work in the profession as you will learn the specialist skills on the job, through professional qualifications or as part of an apprenticeship or graduate scheme. Companies are looking for people with the right set of skills, rather than a particular set of knowledge. That makes for a diverse and stimulating sector where zoologists, linguists and engineers can be team members.

Strong earnings potential

You are keen to be earning a good salary, not just at the beginning of your career but throughout it. Starting salaries on graduate schemes can be up to £20,000 per annum, depending on the company size and location. Once you have completed your professional qualifications and shone in your roles, you can aim to double your salary as well as have the tools to travel to other markets.

Those at the top of the insurance profession earn a six-figure salary. Some professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit and may go on to establish their own specialist, insurtech businesses. For these people a seven-figure salary can be achievable; for others, the motivation is to offer clients social value.

Social value

Insurance is a part of the wider finance sector that offers vital social value. Look no further than the launch of Flood Re, the world’s first not-for-profit reinsurance company which allows those living in flood-prone areas to gain access to insurance. Microinsurance companies in the developing world have also given security to businesses where they never previously had it.

Beyond these examples, insurance has always been about risk transfer and supporting those in their time of need.

Professional qualifications

Your studies don’t start and end at university. Thousands of new entrants to the insurance profession now do so through an insurance apprenticeship, which means you don’t always need a degree to get started.

Whether you take them as part of an apprenticeship, funded by yourself, or more usually by your employer, many people choose to take additional professional qualifications to gain and prove a level of expertise that unlocks more senior and well-rewarded roles.

The majority of graduate schemes in the sector will include the CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII). This is a globally recognised professional qualification that demonstrates your technical capability to your clients and peers. It will take around three years to complete.

If you are graduating in a business, finance or law-related area, you are likely to be eligible for credits in to the CII qualifications framework. These credits may well shave six months off the time taken to get your CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII).

Global dimensions

Looking for a role that gives you a route to international travel and relocating to another country? Look no further than insurance. There are many large companies in the insurance sector, with multiple global offices that are looking for highly-skilled, capable graduates. If you want to move from the UK to Australia, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa or the Americas, insurance is full of opportunities to do just this.

Big or small?

Some of the biggest companies in the world are insurance companies. Within the top 100 of the global Fortune 500 you will find AXA, Allianz, Munich Re and many other insurance companies. Conversely, there are thousands of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK. So there’s something to suit everyone.

Insurance offers hard-working graduates a challenging, long-term career. It offers the opportunity to achieve valuable and globally-recognised professional qualifications and play an influential role in one of the UK’s most significant professions.

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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