7 answers

What can I expect in the Insurance field? (underwriting, claims, etc)

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I am currently in an insurance program in my post-secondary school however, I am not that exposed to it. The main courses for the program don't begin until my third year and I do not know what I am really getting myself in to.
I was wondering if any of you could explain the different roles in the insurance field and what it looks like on a day-to-day basis for each role.
Thanks!
#insurance #underwriting #broker #claims #july20

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7 answers

James’s Answer

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Hello Jenny,

I’m a career insurance worker. (14+ years and counting). There are endless possibilities in the field and I’ve really only been in two places (started in Halifax and moved to Calgary).

Underwriting quite simply you evaluate a specific risk (personal home, auto, personal medical for life, commercial businesses in all sectors, directors and officers, surety/contractual obligations, etc)

Broking - similar to the above - except you are managing clients directly and guiding/advising them on who to best place a client’s insurance with a particular underwriter.

Adjuster - handling loss/claim situations (ie the Calgary hail storm we had a few weeks ago). They are the first people to get the client’s call after a loss (the broker could also be called first). Adjusters can work for insurance companies (alongside underwriters) or they can be independent 3rd parties.

Bottom line: you have a great field to be entering. The day to day can certainly vary between the different roles but it can also be quite similar depending on the exact role that you might be working.

There is also the risk management field which can focus specifically on the insurance / balance sheet protection for large companies. This would put you on the client side or purchasing side although this side of this business is somewhat limited.

My suggestion would be to check out a career fair (we host a few industry ones throughout the year exception of Covid) and apply for summer positions or part-time to see if you might be interested in a particular job type.

Hope this helps and all the best in your education and career.

James recommends the following next steps:

  • Career Fair
  • Apply for Part-Time
  • Reach out to me or others to discuss
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Gina’s Answer

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Hi Jenny,
I have been in the health insurance industry for a year now. Coming from the finance side of things so I'm a numbers person by nature. I have transitioned to the underwriting side of our business into an underwriting manager. I mainly analyze risk and complete experience rating and renewal quoting. Basically I look at claims history for individuals and groups and assess if they are the kind of groups we want to write and what rates are most appropriate. I find it to be extremely interesting and my days are all very different. I work directly with our pricing manager who is an actuary (definitely something you should look into). I have an MBA with an accounting designation so it was definitely a change of pace but it has been awesome so far! Good luck to you in your studies and career path!
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Lisa’s Answer

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I can only speak for workers' compensation. My degree was in an unrelated field, so you are definitely getting a good head start by exposing yourself ahead of time! Most lines of business offer on the job training as long as you have a degree (in any field). Claims jobs are very busy but interesting. My job requires knowledge in litigation, customer service, investigation, strategy, creative problem solving, medical, etc...a little of everything. Best of luck!
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Lisa’s Answer

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I can only speak for workers' compensation. My degree was in an unrelated field, so you are definitely getting a good head start by exposing yourself ahead of time! Most lines of business offer on the job training as long as you have a degree (in any field). Claims jobs are very busy but interesting. My job requires knowledge in litigation, customer service, investigation, strategy, creative problem solving, medical, etc...a little of everything. Best of luck!
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Bill’s Answer

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Jenny - I've been in the insurance industry for over 25 years in a variety or roles primarily on the commercial lines side. I never wanted to get into insurance after I graduated college as I honestly didn't now enough about the industry. Eventually, I found an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.

I'll cover the three major departments that are customer facing at any insurance carrier outside of back office support roles.

CLAIMS: You are going to deal with people at the worse time of their life...auto accident, home damage, business damage, etc. just to name a few. The folks who go into claims are very involved on a daily basis investigating what happened, why, is it compensable and if so, what's the value of the claim. You are going to need to be a strong negotiator, detail oriented, organized and have a thick skin. Successful claims representatives are very into helping others and in my opinion, vert special people. This is a tough job.

LOSS CONTROL: This is an interesting role as you get to visit customer locations, tour facilities and review all the details of what they make, how they make it, are they doing it safely, are they protecting their equipment and employees, etc. Most of the LC representatives have a background in safety as you need to know about fire codes, trucking best practices, etc. to name a few.

UNDERWRITING: Depending on the type of accounts you get into, this can be repetitive (small account to medium size) to very account specific / class of business specific if you get into large / jumbo size accounts. This also depends greatly on whether or not you are in a personal lines role (personal home / auto) or a commercial lines role (business). If involved with commercial lines, you are a salesperson to a point. While you are not calling on customer directly, you are selling your carriers services to the agency. You also can attend customer loss control visits where you too get to see how your customers business operates and this is when you get to sell your carrier to the insured. If you can get into a commercial underwriter role and eventually show your expertise and grow into a large account underwriter role, to me this is the most exciting and makes days just fly by. Like I said, I'm on the commercial side, so I do have a bias on what I find enjoyable. I know personal lines underwriters that feel the same way about personal lines as I do commercial lines.

I'd suggest you look for internships at various insurance carriers or even insurance agencies to get a feel for the variety of roles available to you. The insurance industry is a fairly stable industry as it's a mandated statute / law coverage which means we are going to be here helping cover our insureds for the foreseeable future.

I hope this helps shed some light on things ,but if you have more specific questions or would like to chat let me know as this is a great industry.

Good luck on your future endeavors.
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Krickett’s Answer

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Good Morning Jenny,

I have worked in insurance claims for 8 years. There are many facets of claims. Property damage, first reports, and subrogation to name a few.
I am in the Subrogation Department and work on the recovery side.
Subrogation is responsible for either recovering damages we paid out from the at fault parties Insurance carrier or for paying out to the other carrier if we are at fault. In order to be able to recovery you need to prove liability based on statements, police reports, and scene investigations.
In these processes there is a lot of negotiations that take place for example : liability and damages.
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Demba’s Answer

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Good evening Jenny, I have been in the insurance over 10 years now counting, in the Washington DC metropolitan area... I covered property, casualty, health and life altogether and found out healthcare a good fit with my propensity is helping people make choices over their healthcare coverage...

Concurring with previous remarks, I’d add that product knowledge is key in underwriting and down the road such knowledge would your be your best asset whether advising clients on suitable options or protecting company’s bottom line.

Insurance covers all aspects of our lives and underwriting remains an exciting avenue whereby your sense of detail intersects with end users expectations of quality service in all regards.

Demba recommends the following next steps:

  • Internship opportunities
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