My name is Amanda Carter and I currently head up the General Insurance Practice at Kennedy Reid, recruiting across Underwriting, Claims and Broking within Australia nationally. I’ve recruited within the insurance space in Australia for 5 years. The market is more candidate short than I have ever seen. With over 3,000 jobs been advertised across Australia, attraction to the insurance industry is crucial and we as industry professionals need to be more proactive than ever.
Following up from my previous article around building a career in Underwriting. This is an emphasis on attracting key talent to the Broking industry.
I have reached out to three people currently working in Broking, one who works for a specialist Strata Brokerage as an Assistant Account Executive, another who works for a mid-tier Brokerage (specialising within the SME space) as an Account Executive, and finally a Corporate Account Manager who works for an International Brokerage.
Position: Assistant Account Executive
Company: Specialist Strata Brokerage
Position: Account Executive
Company: Mid-tier Brokerage (SME space)
Position: Account Manager - Corporate Risks
Company: International Brokerage
How did you land on this opportunity?
Person A: Upon finishing my studies, I commenced my first career in insurance broking specialising in strata products by accepting a cadetship opportunity.
Person B: Via Kennedy Reid.
Person C: I’ve been working in the Insurance market for over 10 years, I’ve worked before at another 2 major organisations which contributed to receiving this opportunity and also Kennedy Reid.
Did you always want to get into insurance?
Person A: No, I have never thought that I would start my career in insurance.
Person B: It was one of three options, the others being Marketing or Finance
Person C: To be honest no, when I finished my University degree I was looking to work at a reputable company which would offer a good job and would invest training to new entrants in the financial market. I’ve handpicked 4-5 companies that I would like to work for, and a brokerage company was one of them, looking back, this was one of the best decisions I ever made. A good mentor is key to be successful in this market and luckily, I had a few that could share their expertise.
What did you study at University?
Person A: At University, I studied accounting, finance and tax.
Person B: Bachelor of Business
Person C: Business Administration at London Metropolitan University - London
Looking back, what would you do differently at Uni to better prepare yourself in your current role?
Person A: I found that it is crucial to determine our career goals prior to choosing a major to do at Uni. A well-determined career goal will greatly assist us in equipping a more in-depth knowledge for our career.
Person B: Choosing Insurance based subjects, researching Insurance careers in greater depth
Person C: Probably more focus on the financial modules with more emphasis on the actuarial area.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years from now? Is there career progression in this role?
Person A: I would like to first complete my Tier 1. Yes, there is always room for my career progression. We can undertake more training, read more updates about changes in regulations and the insurance industry.
Person B: Ideally as an Account Manager.
Person C: What I intend in the next 3 years is to learn, grow and contribute significantly to the success of the organization and personal growth. I am eager for new responsibilities, new activities and new projects, there are plenty of opportunities and career progression in the Insurance market.
What are the benefits of being in the insurance industry, particularly, Insurance Broking?
Person A: In my opinion, the benefits include developing our time management skills and organizational skills. More importantly, working in Insurance Broking has made myself to be more confident in communicating with various stakeholders.
Person B: You develop an understanding of multiple professions and industries and get variety in your job. You also get to deal with all kinds of people on a day to day business. A career in Insurance means that you're not silo-ed to doing the one thing, as there is lateral transfer readily available within the industry.
Person C: In my view, broking is still a “people market”, interacting with other people is one the greatest part of my job. Pending on your role there is also the fact that you will interact with all industries diversifying your day in the office. Being an Insurance broker means that you will not have a routine challenging you to deal with the unforeseen circumstances every day.
If you had to convince university graduates to get them to pursue a career in insurance, what would you say?
Person A: If you have never tried, you will never know what the world in insurance will be like. Once you have stepped in this new world to pursue your career, I strongly believe you will never regret it as there are countless opportunities to progress your career.
Person B: A viable alternative to 'grad jobs', however as the bulk of the Insurance Industry isn't university educated, there is an element of 'working your way up', that other more conventional roles wouldn't have. However, if you enjoy Insurance, it's worth it.
Person C: If you chose to work in the insurance market, you have done it right! Insurance is one of the most important segments of the economy, the insurance sector has registered incredible growth when compared with other sectors. Composed of diversified companies, such as insurance companies, insurance brokers and reinsurers, the market has a high rate of employability and offers excellent opportunities for those who wish to enter a sector that is booming and it is profitable. It is a common misconception that the insurance market works only with one or two types of products, or with a restricted public. Insurance is something that people and companies need to have, without Insurance majority of companies would not survive if a catastrophic loss occurs. For this, it is necessary to know well the need that the customer can have to the point of taking out insurance, either for a good stolen in his residence, damage caused in the new car, or damage caused by natural disaster. Going deep and presenting the best solution, helping companies to mitigate and transfer their risks is very rewarding.
How would you describe your current job to a trainee moving into Insurance Broking?
Person A: My current job is both fun and challenging. It is fun because you will be able to learn a lot of new things every day and it is challenging because you will encounter some difficult policies which require more effort and time to assist my clients to have an appropriate cover in place. There will be always a new adventure for me to explore every day.
Person B Interesting and varied - no two days are the same. You get to meet some great people and are faced with scenarios that aren't common in other careers. It keeps you on your toes.
Person C: I have a portfolio of clients where I assist in managing their risk, advise how adequate are the products they buy and guiding in case a loss occurs. There are many roles in Insurance, apart from servicing clients and managing their risk you need to develop a strong work ethic to be proactive when seeking out new customers, closing sales, and developing relationships with clients and industry professionals.
Did any of your previous work experience help you to get to where you are today?
Person A: Yes, my previous experience in retail and hospitality has greatly helped me to get where I am today. I have applied my customer service skills in my current role.
Person B: Maybe a little of the admin work I did at Willis, but I wouldn't say any of the other work experience 'helped me get here', per se.
Person C: Absolutely, from writing reports, engaging with underwriters or presenting to companies CEO’s or CFO’s, my previous working experiences influenced heavily to achieve where I am today. As mentioned above, working in large organisations helped me to experience many scenarios and taught me how to be proactive, improve communication, build trust and credibility with clients and the market.
I hope you enjoyed this follow-up article straight from people currently building careers within insurance Broking. My next article will give a look into a career in Insurance Claims.
Intrigued? Feel free to get in touch if you are interested in a career in Insurance or would like to grab a coffee to discuss shortages of such a moving and growing industry, that I have a great passion for.