“A hidden gem” and “the DNA of capitalism” – just two ways that the insurance profession has been described by those inside the sector.
Or, to put it another way, some of the key challenges facing the world today are faced and tackled by the insurance sector. An ageing population, climate change, cyber crime and political risk are some way removed from car and home insurance advertisements familiar to us all; yet they are very real, multi-trillion dollar, global issues that we work on and which can have a tremendous social value.
So, what type of person works in such a diverse sector?
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all insurance professional. In most cases there are no particular subjects that you need to study. The CII has more than 115,000 members who work across a range of insurance roles around the globe – and who have a wide range of backgrounds. Some join straight from school or university as an apprentice or graduate, with the right personality and soft skills to help them develop personally and professionally. Others reach us through another linked career, such as engineering, law or medicine, where technical knowledge can add value to an insurance company. Still others return to the sector having had a career break for family reasons.
Contrary to popular perception, insurance is not just about the numbers. Yes, it is true that data is playing an increasingly important part in insurance as it is in any other sector. Nevertheless, it remains a people profession where exciting opportunities exist to work in different parts of the world, for companies large and small, while helping clients to manage their risks more effectively. In other words, there are roles for those with strong client-facing skills as well as back-office, analytical skills.
The CII recently launched a new careers site www.ciicareers.co.uk to help sector professionals take their next step; to help school or college leavers join a successful profession that is welcoming record numbers of technical apprentices; and to help those who are returning to work or looking to join the sector after another career.
To complement the award-winning Discover Risk site www.discoverrisk.co.uk, the CII has launched its first microsite specifically for apprentices – www.apprentices.cii-talent.co.uk – which has case studies of different apprentices joining at different ages, as well as useful information for parents and advisers. Over the coming months there will be other microsites targeting those at different stages of their careers whether in the sector or looking to join it.
The CII even has a special, free membership for full-time students in the UK to help them build their sector knowledge, professional networks and, ultimately, their chances of securing the role that is right for them in our globally-important profession.
Companies in our sector are continuing to work hard to ensure that their workforce, at all levels, reflects more accurately its client base. That can only be good for the accessibility and sustainability of our profession.