Don’t be Fooled by Other Peoples’ Idea of What Insurance is- It’s a Cool Business
Stodgy, stodgy, stodgy, blah, blah, blah- Insurance is a business that my uncle on my mother’s side was in. He always wore the same tie, office with dark paneling that cigarette smoke had darkened further in ways I could never understand. Piles of paper in every space that wasn’t otherwise occupied by a phone (rotary, whatever that is), funky hole punchers and bundles of policy brochures. His Chamber of Commerce plaque hadn’t been updated since Nixon’s era.
So why would I even consider a career in insurance? For that matter, I don’t even know what insurance really is!
These are not uncommon thoughts from many of the bright young folks who step out of college or a few years of work, looking for a life career that will engage them, provide a reasonable standard of living (well, maybe better than reasonable), is on the forefront of business technology, gives back to the community, has plenty of challenges and variety…wait…that is the insurance industry of today and tomorrow!
There are hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dedicated, smart people working in insurance jobs- right now. Many are working toward retirement, having served the insurance public for sufficient decades to have earned a comfortable retirement. The industry has the need for staff, agents, brokers, inspectors, drone operators, information technologists, actuaries, data scientists, sales people, adjusters, managers, attorneys, administrators, public relations staff, accountants, etc., etc. These are not occupations that are found only within insurance, these all exist outside of insurance (they do- I wouldn’t kid you), are seen as cool in the world, so don’t let the insurance industry reputation as stodgy scare you off. Almost any business job you can think of is applied within the insurance industry.
Why do I say insurance is a cool business, why do I love what others see as a plain vanilla business? There aren’t many business occupations that have a sole focus of helping people manage risk. Plan for risk. Be aware of risk. Help when bad things happen. Defend when the customer is accused. Demonstrate that there is a light at the end of a dark, legal tunnel. Insurance people collaborate with engineers, law enforcement, the legal community, government entities, auto repair shops, auto dealerships, contractors, builders, code enforcement folks. Insurance people team up, give back, volunteer, assist the needy, have cool meetings about cool business things.
Even in my current role with a forensics engineering firm insurance remains an integral part of an exciting decades long career- investigating what went wrong, meeting others who are engaged in helping the insured public, conducting ‘structural archaeology’ to determine what happened when. Collaborating with many people whose sole business purpose is to assist customers in understanding and applying the benefits of insurance policies. Making what is at first a dark experience into an outcome that releases stress. And in the current innovative environment, discussing and debating how technological improvements can be applied to assisting customers.
Consider technology- insurance companies may not be the first to adapt to the newest tech, but the insurance industry does adopt tech in big ways- money, information, and service, that’s insurance. Once tech is found to be solid, adaptable, scalable and contributing to service, it’s rolled out in spades. Sure, you may have the newest and latest personal tech- bring that use knowledge along- it will help you and peers integrate tech into your insurance careers and into the customers’ needs.
You also need to bring an awareness that your entry into the insurance world won’t be a lightspeed journey- there is a lot to know and learn when you start your career, but then- was college a two-month event? Insurance may not let you sleep in and schedule your work from 11 – 1 like some semesters were, but job sharing, flexible schedules, remote working and other accommodations are becoming more commonplace. What cool work idea will you bring that will change how carriers see the work schedule? Bring it, follow the culture and introduce your ideas once your feet are on the ground. And all this talk about Millennials working differently than current employees- malarkey- that is the Baby Boomers yapping. They heard the same malarkey from the Depression era workers, who had heard it from the prior generation, all the way back to the cave men who sniped about the uppity workers applying fire and tool technology to the hunt. In the end, it doesn’t change the work, new generations and methods change how the work is approached.
So, all you newcomers to the business world- insurance is still the best job one can have- it helps people every day. It’s different every day. Yes, it’s an admin slog at first, there are few rule books (other than regulation) but isn’t that the best thing- you get to learn by doing, learn from others, learn from those who came before you? There are millions of insurance customers who need your help, billions, really as insurance is a global industry. And those of us in the industry promise to help you excel in it.
And the offices decorated in smoky, dark paneling are a thing of the past. Come join us- you won’t regret it, you’ll make an impact on people, and you’ll even get paid well in the meantime.
Oh, and by the way- as this article was composed, Indeed.com shows 195,761 insurance jobs currently posted within the U.S. One of those is waiting for you.
About Patrick Kelahan
Helping those who need to use technical assessments of property insurance claims, environmental events, and risk analysis of facilities, partnering H2M expertise with end users, providing training to staff, and providing guidance in compliance with regulation. Helping bridge the gap between technical expertise and claims expertise. Property insurance appraiser. Customer service evangelist. InsurTech observer and customer experience defender. Insurance claim improvement advocate.