Employment and Jobs in the Insurance Industry?Posted October 7th, 2011
By: George Mentz
The insurance industry had about 2.3 million wage and salary jobs in 2008. Insurance carriers accounted for 61 percent of jobs, while insurance agencies, brokerages, and providers of other insurance-related services accounted for 39 percent of jobs.
The majority of establishments in the insurance industry were small; however, a few large establishments accounted for many of the jobs in this industry. Insurance carriers tend to be large establishments, often employing 250 or more workers, whereas agencies and brokerages tend to be much smaller, frequently employing fewer than 20 workers.
Many insurance carriers’ home and regional offices are situated near large urban centers. Insurance workers who deal directly with the public are located throughout the country. Almost all of those working in sales work out of local company offices or independent agencies. Many others in the industry work for independent firms in small cities and towns throughout the country.
Insurance employees working in sales jobs often visit prospective and existing customers’ homes and places of business to market new products and provide services. Others working in the industry may need to frequently leave the office to inspect damaged property, and at times can be away from home for days, traveling to the scene of a disaster—such as a tornado, flood, or hurricane—to work with affected policyholders and various government officials.
A small, but increasing, number of insurance employees spend most of their time on the telephone working in call centers, answering questions and providing information to prospective clients or current policyholders. These jobs may include selling insurance, taking claims information, or answering medical questions.
About 42 percent of insurance workers are in office and administrative support jobs such as those found in every industry. Many office and administrative support positions in the insurance industry, however, require skills and knowledge unique to the industry. About 29 percent of insurance workers are in management or business and financial operations occupations. About 17 percent of wage and salary employees in the industry are sales and related workers, selling policies to individuals and businesses. About 11 percent are in professional and related occupations, including many computer and mathematical science occupations.
Sales and related occupations
Insurance sales agents, also referred to as producers, may work as exclusive agents, or captive agents, selling for one company, or as independent agents selling for several companies. Through regular contact with clients, agents are able to update coverage, assist with claims, ensure customer satisfaction, and obtain referrals. Insurance sales agents may sell many types of insurance, including life, annuities, property-casualty, health, and disability insurance. Many insurance sales agents are involved in “cross-selling” or “total account development,” which means that, besides offering insurance, they have become licensed to sell mutual funds, annuities, and other securities. These agents usually find their own customers and ensure that the policies sold meet the specific needs of their policyholders.
Professional and related occupations
The insurance industry employs relatively few people in professional and related occupations, but they are essential to company operations. For example, insurance companies’ lawyers defend clients who are sued, especially when large claims may be involved. These lawyers also review regulations and policy contracts. Nurses and other medical professionals advise clients on wellness issues and on medical procedures covered by the company’s managed-care plan. Computer systems analysts, computer software engineers and computer programmers, and computer support specialists are needed to analyze, design, develop, and program the systems that support the day-to-day operations of the insurance company.
Actuaries represent a relatively small proportion of employment in the insurance industry, but they are vital to the industry’s profitability. Actuaries study the probability of an insured loss and determine premium rates. They must set the rates so that there is a high probability that premiums paid by customers will cover claims, but not so high that their company loses.
Underwriting is another important management and business and financial occupation in insurance. Underwriters evaluate insurance applications to determine the risk involved in issuing a policy. They decide whether to accept or reject an application, and they determine the appropriate premium for each policy.
Claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators decide whether claims are covered by the customer’s policy, estimate and confirm payment, and, when necessary, investigate the circumstances surrounding a claim. Claims adjusters work for property and liability insurance carriers or for independent adjusting firms. They inspect property damage, estimate how much it will cost to repair, and determine the extent of the insurance company’s liability; in some cases, they may help the claimant receive assistance quickly in order to prevent further damage and begin repairs. Adjusters plan and schedule the work required to process claims, which may include interviewing the claimant and witnesses and consulting police and hospital records. In some property-casualty companies, claims adjusters are called claims examiners, but in other companies, a claims examiner’s primary job is to review claims to ensure that proper guidelines have been followed. Only occasionally—especially when disasters suddenly increase the volume of claims—do these examiners aid adjusters with complicated claims.
Because of the huge cross over of securities related products into the insurance industry, there will now be more related and licensed jobs available in the risk world. For instance, supervisors and compliance officers may be needed in insurance companies who sell variable annuities, mutual funds and related packages that include stocks, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds inside of the product. In the end, all financial services companies want to be a “one stop shop”, and with that mission comes more jobs with varying descriptions.
George Mentz, JD, MBA, CWM - is an international lawyer, editor, author and contributor in the areas of management consulting, personal finance, securities law, and wealth management. Prof. Mentz continues to consult with the US Government and United Nations on issues related to careers and education. Dr. Mentz is the first person in the US to obtain quad credentialing as a lawyer, Double Accredited MBA, Juris Doctorate Degree, financial consultant certification, and qualified financial planner. Mentz and his educational & professional development firms have worked with thousands of executives and industry workers in over 150 countries. www.FinancialAnalyst.org Mentz as a professor has personally taught over 200 business, ethics, wealth management, and law courses at various accredited institutions, and he is the founder of the Mentz Consumer Protection, Class Action, and Securities Law Firm www.securitieslawyers.us Mentz has served on the advisory boards of the: The African Economists Association, The Royal Society of Fellows, The Arab Academy of Banking & Finance, The China Wealth Council, The World E-Commerce Forum, The GFF Global Finance Forum in Switzerland, and the Indian Academy of Financial Management. Mentz has been a pioneer in promoting accredited program courses, exams and standards as a government recognized path to professional development. . www.georgementz.com Formally with a International Wall Street Firm, Mentz has passed NASD FINRA Exams and held licenses as an Investment Advisor. Mentz also consults on major securities class action litigation and consumer fraud cases and has provided insights as an expert in Arbitration. . Mentz is a award winning professor and author and is the winner of a meritorious gold medal for charitable service. Mentz has been seen on TV, Radio, and International Press along with being a keynote speaker for national and international seminars or conferences.