One of my favorite things to do is speak to college students about how to find a great job, not just any job, once they graduate. The challenge for so many students is simple; they don't know what they don't know. Ironically, insurance industry jobs fall into this category and are indeed a hidden career path. As a speaker, I try to leave the audience with real-life, relevant information that can change a student's assumed career path (accountant, business analyst, project manager, etc.) and refocus it so they can add the insurance industry and a possible suitor for their talents. I love watching student's minds open up to an industry they never, ever considered.
The keys to a great speech are relevant content with a hook and lasting impact. If I can accomplish this by talking about insurance careers, it should pique the interest of an industry that is competing hard for great talent. I am excited to share some of my key takeaways.
I am always shocked by the number of students who don't even know the insurance industry exists. The first question I ask them is if they were ever in a car accident. The second question is are you familiar with the GEICO gecko? Sadly, the majority of the students seem to have been in an accident at some point, and it plays beautifully in giving me a starting point to explain all the jobs the industry created to manage that incident. But just talking about job titles isn't enough. These students (especially in schools where there are business degrees, not insurance degrees) do want to hear about the day in the life of an adjuster, accountant, actuary, data analyst, broker, claims professional, and so many others.
Insurance jobs are a fantastic career path. This is why.
- It's not your daddy's industry anymore. The revolution for top tier technology is changing the face of the industry allowing insurance companies to upgrade old school jobs (claims, underwriting, actuarial, etc.) and make them more productive and customer service driven. The new breed of insurance professionals will have the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a vibrant industry breaking out new and exciting products across the board.
- Google and Facebook careers are overrated. Love watching the reaction of the students when I mention this. Talk about cool jobs, and those companies must have some...right? I am sure they do, but that is the point. All major companies that "own" a business that impacts almost all Americans must be doing something right. Google owns internet search, Facebook dominates social media and the insurance industry handles insurance for everything. All have substantial economic impacts (trillions) that is NOT ever going away (insurance industry unemployment rate is 1.8%). Talk about the stability of a business model. Or is it? As great as jobs at Facebook and Google may appear to be, their average employee lasts between two and four years. Insurance companies don't have the luxury of getting millions of applications each year, so most do an outstanding job of providing a great company culture and a career path designed to grow a career internally. Stability is still real in the insurance industry, and many retire the same way!
- Great jobs in so many specialties. The conversation gets fun at this point. I have the students close their eyes and imagine they run a 500-employee manufacturing plant that makes frozen pizzas. When we break down how many insurance jobs are needed to insure the venture, this opens up the career possibilities. Career paths include a risk manager, insurance brokers (property and casualty, life, health, and ancillary), loss control engineers, claims specialists, actuaries, underwriters, risk modelers, data scientists, product developers, and legal jobs. So much goes into the products that every insurance company offers, and they all offer their own career path. If you like sales, I think the commercial property and casualty or benefits insurance broker is the best job (and highest paying) in the industry. Risk managers are very analytical and have to be able to figure out all the scenarios where people or property are at risk making frozen pizzas. How about the salmonella outbreak? Attorneys and claims adjuster will have to get involved. Risk modelers, data scientists, loss control professionals, product developers, and actuaries are all needed to predict and prevent bad things from happening, knowing that loss is inevitable. If you want to be on a team that lives to minimize risk, these are fantastic high paying jobs.
- Insuretech is super cool. Insuretech is the disruptive technology that will change almost every job description in the insurance industry. You can read about that here. Many of the jobs in these companies will compete directly for the technical talent on the same level as a Google and Facebook hire. 95% of the students I speak to don't have any desire for this experience. However, a whole new group of jobs at "insurance technology" companies are coming open. These include sales professionals (selling to insurance companies), claims support officers, account managers, marketing specialists, call center operations, cybersecurity, creative directors, customer success managers, mobile app developers, project managers, and financial and account positions.
How do you get a pretty damn cool insurance job? The #InsuranceCareerMonth movement has many resources to help. If you are in a college that offers an insurance or risk management degree, career services will be able to help since insurance companies actively recruit at these schools.
If you are not at one of these universities, the steps to get an interview is a little more challenging. Not having an insurance degree should not stop you since so many types of jobs are available (accounting, data science, customer service, sales, claims, etc.). The big challenge is most insurance companies don't post their entry-level insurance positions or even talk about them in their career center. I have been running GreatInsuranceJobs.com since 2001, and I have observed this for years. This is a huge opportunity for companies to use their career centers and social media to find emerging talent. A company that does this well is Travelers. They have an entire section dedicated to "Students and Grads" and it is extensive. If you are searching for an insurance company's website, type in "entry-level" in the job search engine to see what is available.
Working in the insurance industry is incredible. The aging workforce is moving up and out, while technology is changing the way the industry will sell and service insurance products. 2020 is a great time to become part of this industry! In our next article, we will talk about the actual job search process.