Insurance is big business, contributing more than 3% of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There are nearly 6,000 insurance companies operating in the United States – with New York clocks in with the most insurance businesses in the nation. Conceptually, insurance is a means by which one can be protected from financial loss through the management of the risk associated with uncertain events.
This technique – of transferring or distributing potential risk goes back three millennia B.C. in various cultures. Modern varieties of insurance appeared in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. Insurance principles are based on the concept of pooling funds of many to cover the losses of a few.
Its goal is to indemnify the insured (or make whole again) after a defined event or peril. The insurance sector provides this safety net and coverage across several ‘lines’ that include –
- Health Insurance
- Homeowners Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Disability Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Long-term Care Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance, to name a few.
In 2021, the U.S. Dept. of Labor noted that there were 2.8 million people employed in this industry in the United States. The insurance sector provides numerous job opportunities to those with a variety of skill sets experience, career goals, and education. These are noted below.
1. Licensed Sales Agents Help Consumers Select the Appropriate Coverage For Their Needs.
Salary Data – Agents earned a median 2021 annual salary of $49,840 or $23.96 per hour.
The insurance industry offers two types of sales-related positions: a licensed sales agent or a sales broker. Each of these licensed professionals sells insurance products to manage their client’s risk but does so differently. In 2021, there were more than 507,000 insurance sales agents working in the United States.
Government statisticians note that this sales agent’s job growth is anticipated to grow at an average 7% rate through 2030 – about the expected average. Insurance sales agents can choose to work for just one insurer (known as captive agents) or work as independent agents, selling insurance products that represent a specific group of insurance companies. Brokers handle deals between consumers and businesses with an interest in obtaining insurance coverage and those willing to offer coverage.
While most insurance companies have a preference that an entry-level sales agent possess a bachelor’s degree, the reality is an undergraduate degree is not a requirement. There is, however, significant training and a required license to sell insurance in each state, with many newer agents shadowing experienced sales reps to gain invaluable skills.Insurance agents and brokers spend time networking and meeting people and generally have a more flexible schedule than other insurance positions.
Ultimately, this type of position attracts entrepreneurs because it offers many opportunities to branch out independently. The three states that offer the highest annual median wage for insurance sales agents are Washington, DC, New York, and Massachusetts. California, Florida, and Texas are the states with the highest levels of employment for insurance agents.
2. Actuaries Are the Professionals Who Are Skilled At Predicting Risk.
Salary Data – Actuaries earned a 2021 median annual salary of $105,900 or $50.91 per hour.
An actuary is a professional mathematician applying financial theory and statistical analyses that help predict the likelihood that a specific type of future event will occur. Actuaries also consider the related consequences of these risk events. Actuaries also creatively design ways to reduce the impact of bad things happening.
In 2021, there were approximately 28,000 actuaries employed in the U.S. Those interested in a career as an actuary will be glad to hear that actuarial job growth is expected to be 24% (the creation of 6,800 new jobs) through 2030. This job growth is about 2.5 times the average of all U.S. jobs during the same projected time period.
To enter the actuarial field, the minimum education requirement is a baccalaureate degree, preferably in the areas of economics, finance, statistics, computers, business, and management, among others. However, there are a progressive series of exams that are required to reach certification offered by –
- The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) – The Casualty Actuarial Society certifies actuary professionals who are employed in the property-casualty field. This P.C. field includes cars, homeowners, medical malpractice, and workers’ compensation insurance.
- The Society of Actuaries (SOA) – The Society of Actuaries certifies actuaries as actuary professionals who are employed in the fields of life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, investments, and finance.
These ongoing exams are often funded by employers as they prefer to invest in their own talent. Most actuaries work for insurance brokerages or agencies or the government, and often they specialize in one type of insurance line. New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania offer the highest levels of actuaries, with Georgia and New Hampshire offering the top actuary salaries.
3. Underwriters Are Responsible For Approving An Insurance Coverage Policy.
Salary Data – Underwriters earned a 2021 median annual salary of $76,390 or $36.73 per hour.
An insurance underwriter is a professional who is tasked with the responsibility of making the final decision as to whether an application for insurance coverage is approved. In other words, nearly 120,000 insurance underwriters assess potential risk by determining if an applicant meet’s the insurance product’s guidelines. Underwriters employ complex algorithms and other risk management techniques with the goal of maximizing profit by mitigating an insurance company’s risk.
Most underwriters begin their careers with a bachelor’s degree in a related finance or business/math program, although a bachelor’s degree is not mandatory. Note, that for senior managerial positions in the areas of underwriting, achieving certification is generally mandatory. Underwriters tend to specialize in a type or line of insurance (i.e., life, mortgage, property casualty, or health) and are often involved in rate-setting across risk scenarios.
Insurance underwriters are employed throughout the country, with Texas, New York, and California offering underwriters the highest employment levels in 2021, although the Lone Star State provides nearly twice the jobs when compared to its nearest competitor. The states offering the highest salaries for insurance underwriters include Washington, DC, New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. And in the greater Hartford area – the Insurance Capital of the World, the insurance underwriters median salaries are near the top of the scale.
4. Claims Adjusters Work With Consumers & Customers Who Are Submitting Claims for Loss Events.
Salary – Claims Adjusters earned a 2021 median annual wage of $64,710 or $31.11 per hour.
A Claims Adjuster, which may also be called a claims analyst, examiner, or investigator, determines the value of the loss and, therefore, how much an insurance company will reimburse its insured. Most Claims Adjusters work for insurance companies, although there are public adjusters who can be hired for an independent assessment of the loss value. Many consumers choose, especially in cases of large losses, may choose an independent expert to advocate against a low-ball offer from the insurance company.
Adjusters typically travel to clients and the scene of the event. It is their job to inspect a property that a policyholder claims to have been damaged. A Claims Adjuster’s work may require research and the securing of expert opinions to determine how much a claim might be worth.
There were approximately 350,000 insurance adjusters/examiners working in the United States in 2021. Adjusters spend more time in the field than in other insurance-related occupations inspecting the location of insurance claims – buildings or autos, etc. If you have a career interest as a claims adjuster, a bachelor’s degree is not required but recommended because many preferred claims adjuster positions require a four-year degree.
Similar to other insurance jobs, the highest concentration of claims adjusters are in Texas, Florida, and California, with New York and Pennsylvania following. Claims adjusters have the highest salary in Connecticut, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.
5. Data Scientists Crunch the Numbers That Help Minimize Insurance Risk.
Salary Data – Information/Computer Research Scientists earned a 2021 median annual pay of $131,490 or $63.22 per hour.
A Data Scientist is an expert at analyzing data. They possess the technical ability to solve complex uncertainties and are usually innately curious to problem-solve. A Data Scientist’s work is best described at the point that intersects the fields and concepts within mathematics, pattern identification, statistics, and computer science, to name a few.
The 33,000 Data Scientists working in 2021 have essentially changed the face of risk management within the insurance industry. And job growth for these high-tech analytic positions is an impressive 22% through 2030 – significantly faster than the average growth of all other U.S. jobs during this projected period. Through the application of their unique skill, Data Scientists have helped revise the roles of claims adjusters and underwriters, etc.
Data Scientists professionals typically enter the field with at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably in math, computers, statistics, engineering, or another related field. But, to advance, a minimum of a master’s level related degree is generally needed. Some Data Scientists choose to earn their doctoral degrees to reach the pinnacle of this career’s trajectory.
In addition, Data Scientists can earn a number of certifications – CAP, CCP: D.S., or EMCDSA, among others. California, Virginia, and Washington offer the highest concentration of Data Scientists, with California employing more than triple its nearest competing state. The top paying states for Data scientists include Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, and Washington.
6. Business Operations Professionals Ensure Companies Operate Efficiently.
Salary Data for Compliance Officer – 2021 annual median salary of $71,650 or $34.45 per hour.
Salary Data for Management Analyst – 2021 annual median salary of $93,000 or $44.71 per hour.
Salary Data for Human Resources Manager – 2021 annual median salary of $126,230 or $60.69 per hour.
There are several types of business operations professionals required to appropriately manage a profitable insurance company. Compliance Officers, Management Analysts, and Human Resource Managers each play a pivotal role in managing an insurance entity efficiently – balancing the needs vying for the same resources among its various internal components. There were more than 900,000 management analysts working in the country in 2021.
As a business professional, a business analyst must properly balance efficiency, cost, and technology to ensure the business meets its defined objectives. Job growth for management analysts is anticipated at a speedy 14% through 2030. Compliance officers in the insurance sector are essential because, as an industry, insurance is among the most highly regulated by government oversight.
In 2021, there were approximately 335,000 compliance officers working in the nation, with the highest concentration in California, Texas, and Florida. The District of Columbia., New Jersey, and New Hampshire offer the highest salaries for compliance officers during 2021. Human Resource professionals, which generally require a baccalaureate degree, must ensure the business has (and takes care of) the talent required to keep the business operating profitably.
More than 161,000 Human Resources professionals were working in 2021, although not all in the insurance sector. Job growth for Human Resource professionals is anticipated through 2030 at 9%, which is about as fast as the estimated average of all jobs. California offers the most employment in Human Resources Management, with New York offering the highest annual mean salary of $180,380 for HR managerial professionals.
7. Marketing Professionals Are Tasked With Communicating A Companies Offerings & Objectives.
Salary Data – Marketing managers earned a 2021 median annual salary of $133,380 or $64.12 per hour.
The world of insurance is a diverse, competitive, and complex business sector. The nature of the insurance business makes marketing/promotions/advertising an integral part of an insurance company’s success. Marketing budgets for the behemoth insurers reach billions of dollars, which is why marketing professionals are so essential to business operations.
Marketing professionals in the insurance sector offer some of the most creative insurance career opportunities. Most marketing professionals begin their marketing careers with an undergraduate degree in a related field like journalism, advertising, public relations, business, communication, marketing, or media studies, among others. There were approximately 316,000 marketing professionals working in the United States in 2021.
The job growth for marketing professionals through 2030 is estimated to be about average – at 10%. The following states offer the greatest employment opportunities for marketing pros in 2021 – California, New York, Illinois, Texas, and Massachusetts. New York (at $190,760) offers the highest annual mean salary, followed by New Jersey, California, Delaware, and Virginia.
By far, the greater N.Y. and N.J. metro areas provide the highest levels of employment for marketing professionals and the third highest median yearly salary.
8. Customer Service Representatives Are the Backbone Of the Insurance Industry.
Salary Data – Customer Service Reps earned a 2021 annual median salary of $36,920 or $17.75 per hour.
Customer Service Representatives (a.k.a. CSRs) are a vital part of the insurance industry. CSRs serve a number of important functions by supporting the efforts of internal workers as well as managing customer and policyholders’ questions with a smile. There were nearly 3,000,000 Customer Service Representatives working across all sectors in the U.S. in 2021, with about 10% working insurance in the country.
Customer Service Representatives can enter the job marketplace with just a GED or high school diploma. However, some Customer Service Representatives are required to be licensed to talk about specific insurance products, which vary by state law and product line. Many employers offer training and may even pay for the exam fees to help their employees secure appropriate licensing.
Career advancement of CSRs is usually achieved through experience gained by managing teams of personnel and often an educational degree. Customer Service Representatives also recognize the additional opportunities provided by this diverse industry. Throughout their careers, CSRs often transition to other departments and areas in the company, including claims, underwriting, or even sales.
The highest employment levels for Customer Service Representatives in 2021 are in the states of Texas, Florida, California, New York, and Ohio. The states offering top-paying salaries for Customer Service Representatives include the District of Columbia., Massachusetts, New York, California, and Washington.
What percentage of women worked in the insurance industry in 2021?
The percentage of women employed in the insurance sector depends on the job or role of the professional. Overall, women account for 47% of the total employed workforce. Those in claims and processing amount to more than 78% of women.
There were about 58% of claims adjusters were women. Women underwriters account for more than 61% of the total, with half of the insurance sales agents women.
Is insurance a recession-proof industry?
While no business is completely recession-proof, the insurance industry is one that remains most stable when compared across business sectors in the face of tough economic data. This is because, despite the state of the economy, individuals and businesses must still protect themselves from risks. As such, a job in insurance with a solid company can offer increased job security – especially when facing inflationary data.