Careers in insurance: the flagship professions

The technological revolution has prompted the emergence of new insurance jobs. However, it has not spared the development of the basic professions such as actuary, underwriter or manager, which are undergoing profound mutations. Their repositioning in a more competitive and fluctuating environment has now become more than necessary.

The actuary profession

insurance professionsFormerly confined to the life class of business, statistics and probability calculations, actuarial tasks today entail much broader responsibilities. New risk analysis requires more complex assessment tools and necessitates a global perception of the insurance chain, with a view to containing risks and minimizing losses.

Graduating from college, university or specialized institute, the actuary plays today an overwhelmingly technical role, being at the core of the insurance activity. His role differs depending on the department section he reports to: risk underwriting and marketing or asset/liability management

  1. Appointed at the technical and commercial department, the actuary is tasked with tariff evaluation, profitability and surveillance of portfolio that needs optimization. The actuary is also entrusted with the duty of participating in the design of life products as well as setting non life risk tariffs.
  2. At the level of asset/liability management, the actuary is in charge with the calculation of the reserves that need to be set up, compliance with prudential rules, and by the same token, corporate solvency.

Related article | Salaries in insurance

The profession of underwriter

The task of underwriter is rather associated with corporate risks than with the ever more standardized personal line ones. That is the reason why this task is hardly known to the masses. It requires perfect analysis of major risks in specific areas such as transport, industrial complexes, mega construction projects, etc., whereby the underwriter either accepts or declines risks.

To do so, he is required to comply with the rules of procedures as imposed by his company and define the terms of coverage. His collaboration with the actuary is essential when it comes to rating the risks of his customers.

The underwriter’s profile is, to a certain extent, quite similar to that of the salesman. His technical know-how must nonetheless be sharper when collaborating with the reinsurance department or participating in the evaluation of a claim, for instance.

The profession of insurance contract manager

insurance jobThe contract manager is tasked to monitor insurance policies during their lifetime. It is, therefore, of paramount importance for him to be endowed with the skills of management, communication and compensation of the insured.

With a team in charge of production, the assistant underwriter is the right-hand person of salesmen and underwriters. He manages files, takes part in the drafting of insurance contracts based on the terms and conditions defined by in-house procedures.

In the claims department, the claims examiner manages the notifications of claims; expertise reports and applies the terms of insurance contracts. He may also take care of the litigations that may arise between the policyholders and the insurance company.

Contact with the other departments of the company (underwriting, legal, accounting) and the policyholders is essential for the accomplishment of his duty. He is also required to communicate with external entities: lawyers, doctors, etc.

The profession of insurance agent

This traditional profession is undergoing profound mutations. An insurance agent is no longer expected to just sell insurance policies, but most importantly to advise customers and ensure their ever more volatile loyalty.

Even though the choice of the offer is carried out online, the finalization of the contract is more often done at the agency, especially for some products that require advice and coaching such as dependency insurance, savings and pension schemes.

The profession insurance sales consultant

insuranceThe salesman is the showcase example of the insurance company as his initiatives may be relayed by marketing actions. He prospects and identifies potential targets.

He is endowed with technical skills, charisma and tenacity which are required to build ties of trust with the customers to whom he proposes appropriate solutions. His target is to fulfill the sales objectives determined by his management and to manage customers’ portfolio.

Sales tasks comprise a wide range of jobs (general agents, sales consultant, customer officer; etc.) which entail different profiles:

  • The sales consultant at agency welcomes and negotiates insurance contracts with the customers who stop at his desk.
  • The travelling sales consultant: it is the profile most sought by insurers. His task consists in traveling in well-defined geographical area. He is experienced and has loyal customers with whom he concludes contracts.
  • The sedentary sales consultant operates in the back office. He contacts and prospects clients from a telephone platform.
  • The general agent, as part of his commercial tasks, manages the insurance agency and the customers. He is both the vendor and the consultant. His task also consists in contacting customers with whom he tries to build a relationship of trust, looking after their needs, and proposing responses adapted to those needs in both life and non-life insurance.

Profession in insurance: other classifications of commercial tasks

Commercial tasks may also be segmented into classes of business: life group or non-life.

  • The life salesman: he sells insurance policies to private individuals. He may specialize according to the kind of customers to deal with: large audience, big accounts…
  • The group insurance account manager: his role and profile are quite similar to that of sales consultant in charge of private customers. The group insurance account manager deals with professionals such as SMEs/SMIs or big companies. He endeavors to build ties with decision makers for the underwriting of a wide range of covers including health, saving or pension for the benefit of their wage earners.
  • The account manager for corporate non-life risks: he is in charge of developing the portfolio of non-life risks with corporate institutions. Major risks being under the control of insurance brokers, his activity oftentimes targets SME/SMI customers for which he attempts to optimize insurance programs.

Trade groups in the insurance sector

 Kind of jobComposition
1st group
Core competencies
This group comprises the following tasks :
  • actuarial and technical design,
  • underwriting,
  • marketing,
  • distribution and commercial development,
  • technical control and prevention,
  • contract and benefit management,
  • management of assets and housing wealth.
2nd group
Support activities
This group of jobs includes the following activities : administrative back-up, logistics, IT and communication.
3rd group
Steering activities
This group is made up of teams tasked with the management and steering of the company: governance, audit, management control, economic, accounting and financial steering, compliance and quality.
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