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February is Insurance Careers Month, and here at Combined, we are reflecting on the limitless possibilities and the value of the insurance industry and the careers it fosters. We have a vibrant history that dates back nearly 100 years, when our founder, W. Clement Stone paved the way for a career with opportunities to offer insurance coverage to help people in times of need.
In 2019, 45 million people retired in the U.S, and the number is projected to increase every year1. Roughly 20,000 jobs were created in the insurance industry and its related sectors.2
The unemployment rate in the insurance industry is currently between 1-2 percent3, making this industry in particular a "candidates market." Insurance companies are in tight competition to gain talent, making it a great time to join: the opportunities to enter into a life-changing career are endless!
Don’t forget, careers in the insurance industry are not restricted to sales. There is a massive support system that goes behind the marketing, sale, delivery and pay out of insurance policies. Meaningful careers have been made in this industry in marketing, claims, underwriting, public relations, human resources and more.
Why insurance industry?
Let's face it, no one actually wants an insurance policy, so why would you want to be a part of the insurance industry, selling something no one actually wants? It's because people and businesses need insurance, and they know it. Modern economies rely on the industry for growth, allowing them to take and mitigate risk, and individuals protect their property, health, incomes, earning power and more with insurance.4 So, while people may not want to buy the policy, they are thrilled to have it when they need it. It feels good to be part of an industry that people and economies, need to thrive.
Additionally, insurance companies are typically heavily involved in giving back. The philanthropic voice of the insurance industry, The Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), reports that it has awarded $31 million in community grants and has contributed over 300,000 volunteer hours of community service.5
And the great news? Along with these plusses comes the fact that the insurance industry is relatively stable, so these careers should be around for a long time. Stability means you'll be able to focus on your career and long term goals and not worry about whether or not your company will even exist years from now.
At Combined Insurance, we sell supplemental insurance. Here are a few reasons why this niche, in particular, can be an interesting career choice:
We’re all human and we all have accidents and get sick. While supplemental insurance is more of a “nice to have” than a “need to have”, it’s relatively inexpensive (average cost is $40/month) and there is no deductible. Many, if not most, people appreciate having that added security of knowing if they get sick or hurt they have a back-up plan to protect their savings.
Deductibles and out of pocket costs are rising, making supplemental insurance more in demand. According to a 2019 benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey, the burden of deductibles has risen 162% over the past decade.6 Supplemental insurance can help decrease the impact being sick or getting hurt can have on out-of-pocket costs.
There are numerous potential customers. Practically anyone can benefit from having supplemental insurance.The supplemental insurance agent will never run out of potential business owners and personal consumers to sell to, and in turn the agents' support systems at the corporate offices will never run out of work.
Customers tend to keep their policies. Customers really appreciate the peace-of-mind their supplemental policies bring, and they typically hold onto them for years. Even during difficult economic times, people tend to hold onto their supplemental insurance policies because of the added peace-of-mind. A good agent can keep their customers for the span of their careers, helping them make good decisions about maintaining, changing or enhancing their portfolios.
Insurance companies are healthy. Insurance companies-supplemental or otherwise- are well-capitalized, and most of them have long, stable histories (like Combined Insurance which was started in 1922). They have systems in place to help protect them from the ups and downs of the economy, making it less probable that they will be greatly impacted by a recession.
Finding your fit
Take a look at the different functional job areas you’ll find in most supplemental health insurance companies—and see what interests you! You never know when your next job opportunity might come along.
Statistically minded? Check out the actuarial department.
Actuaries predict statistical probabilities—in other words, the likelihood of certain events, such as accidents or health diagnoses, occurring. This helps an insurance company manage their financial investments, including the granting of insurance policies to protect policyholders from losses. They help design policies and develop product pricing that minimizes the costs of these risks. Employment of actuaries is projected to grow 22% from 2016 to 2026, resulting in about 5,300 new jobs over that period.7 Will you be among them?
Risky business? Assess the underwriting department.
Using math and analytical skills, technical-minded underwriters calculate what their insurance companies should charge policyholders. They also evaluate applicants to determine their risk. They see if they’re suitable for granting coverage, based on the company’s requirements. An underwriter is the person who decides if an application is approved and how much coverage is granted, often digging into medical records and conducting interviews with applicants and their providers.
File it under “paid” in the claims department.
Claims professionals manage the settling of claims for an insurance company. They determine whether or not a policyholder’s losses are covered and how much money the company will pay out for the losses. There are a number of job titles in this category, representing the range of activities performed in the average health insurer’s claims department. These include claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners and investigators.
Follow the rules of the compliance department.
Insurance companies have to make sure that both employees and insurance policies comply with the various laws, rules and regulations of regulatory agencies—on state and federal bases. Compliance officers write and review the “fine print” associated with policy language, marketing and sales materials and almost any and all correspondence going out of the company.
Get them covered in the sales department.
Employment of insurance sales agents is projected to grow 10% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations—and even faster growth is projected for health insurance agents.8 Sales agents and brokers are on the front-lines with customers and policyholders, helping people assess their needs, understand their insurance product options, and assisting through the process of applying for coverage. They often work closely with underwriters and claims or customer service personnel, making sure everyone has the information they need to issue coverage and payments.
In addition to these areas, every insurance company has busy professionals working in IT, legal, finance and accounting, marketing and customer service. Your skills and experience might be just what’s needed.
Want to learn more about working in this industry? Follow the lively conversations on social media with these hashtags: #ICM2020, #InsuranceCareersMonth.
Find out about the current career opportunities at Combined Insurance!
1-Rudden, J. (2020, January 6). Number of U.S. retired workers receiving Social Security 2019. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/194295/number-of-us-retired-workers-who-receive-social-security/
2-About the Insurance Carriers and Related Activities subsector 524. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag524.htm
3--About the Insurance Carriers and Related Activities subsector 52. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag52.htm
4-(Weisbart, S. (2018, June). How Insurance Drives Economic Growth. Retrieved January 29, 2020, from www.iii.org › docs › pdf › insurance-driver-econ-growth-053018)
5-About IICF. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iicf.org/about-iicf.html
6-Published: Sep 25, 2019. (2019, September 24). Benchmark Employer Survey Finds Average Family Premiums Now Top $20,000. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/health-costs/press-release/benchmark-employer-survey-finds-average-family-premiums-now-top-20000/
7-Actuaries : Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/actuaries.htm
8-Insurance Sales Agents : Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2019, September 4). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/insurance-sales-agents.htm
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Combined Insurance Company of America (Chicago, IL Illinois) is a leading provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health, and life insurance products and a Chubb company. With a tradition of nearly 100 years of success, we have an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and are one of Ward’s Top 50® Performing Life-Health Insurance Companies. Combined Insurance is also the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the over $1B revenue category for 2019 by VIQTORY. This is the company’s eighth consecutive year on the top 10 list and fifth consecutive year in the top 5—Combined Insurance was previously named the number one Military Friendly® Employer in the nation for 2015 and 2016. In New York, products are underwritten by Combined Life Insurance Company of New York (Latham, NY).
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