The insurance industry topped a trillion dollars in 2009. The industry employed over 2.247 million Americans.
Insurance is a staple in our lives. Insurance coverage is an essential element of any sound financial plan. It is a way to balance financial risk. Insurance provides financial protection in case an event threatens your financial stability in the future.
Insurance, in one form or another, has been around for thousands of years. At its core, insurance is a way to manage or share risk. As primitive people started forming societies, they found ways to share risk.
The assignment of financial risk and the resulting insurance protections and products evolved through the ages. Individuals now typically seek the following types of insurance protection.
Life insurance Health insurance, Final Expense insurance
Property and casualty insurance, Mortgage Protection Insurance
Automobile insurance Rental insurance Long-term care insurance
Disability income protection Pet insurance , Travel insurance
In addition, there are a number of insurance coverages available for businesses and business owners. Some business-related insurances are product liability, professional liability, commercial property, and workers compensation.
As the industry evolved, professionals with unique qualifications, such as actuaries, statisticians, and lawyers, were drawn to companies to help manufacture profitable insurance contracts. The companies issuing insurance hired general office workers and administrative staff to issue contracts, process claims, and answer questions. In addition, salespeople were instrumental (and remain so) at explaining why insurance protection is needed and how it works. Those positions morphed into modern day professions such as actuaries, underwriters, claims examiners, insurance agents, and account representatives.
Insurance careers are appealing because they pay well, offer job security, and opportunities for advancement. The majority of professionals in insurance work for insurance carriers; however, a number are also employed by insurance agencies and brokerages and other insurance service-related companies.
Given demographic and socioeconomic trends, the insurance industry as a whole is perceived as a growth industry. Throughout the economic downturn that began in 2007, insurance companies shed far fewer jobs than other industries. Some insurance segments even showed signs of slow growth. One of the biggest threats to any job security is automation. The good news for insurance professionals is that relatively few insurance jobs can be replaced by technology. This means job security.
Many insurance professions offer high degrees of job satisfaction. They provide meaningful work and allow individuals to protect what they care most about. Many insurance careers allow you to be a resource to people in their time of need. Sometimes it is because the person has lost their house to a fire, demolished their car, or is out of work due to an illness. Whatever the precipitating factor, they are in need of help.
The potential negatives about insurance careers are that they tend to be demanding jobs. They typically require someone who is high energy, well organized, and has good communication and analytical skills.
There are over one hundred colleges and institutes of higher education that offer specialized academic training in the field of insurance. Degrees can be obtained at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate levels.
In addition to accredited college programs, several societies and professional associations offer certification programs. Candidates must meet job experience requirements, participate in educational courses, and pass a series of exams to become certified. The associations publish extensive materials to help people prepare for the examinations. In addition, there are a variety of independent third-party vendors that offer study preparation courses, training tools, and software.