Working in a Purpose-Driven Industry

Discovering meaningful work in the insurance industry

In today’s business environment, it is no secret that the fledgling labor force is constantly in search of purpose-driven work. As young professionals, we demand more out of a career than basic financial security. Rather, we are in pursuit of professions that offer meaning, autonomy, connection, and development.

My professional career began roughly two and a half years ago. For me, this journey began in insurance. While a number of different motives brought me to the industry, what I have discovered most of all is meaningful work that retains a deep sense of purpose.

In Pursuit of an Honorable Profession

Young professionals often overlook insurance, unaware of how much the industry has to offer and the reward that comes with a profession in the field. The sentiment around a career in financial services is often times detached from the reality of the work and obscures the promise of a career in insurance. Over the course of my early career, I have engaged with many individuals that find insurance both intellectually rich and a source of lifelong learning, myself included. Why?

Because insurance’s central purpose is to protect society, businesses, and individuals from financial loss and to help them recover when loss or damage occurs. Insurance enables all people to pursue a certain level of prosperity and is fundamental to the overall free enterprise system. From fueling the economy to helping those in need, the industry continuously makes a substantial impact in society. In return, those contributions deliver profound meaning behind the work.

Insurance provides regular experiences of autonomy, competence, and a deep connection with others. All of these things, in a high enough dose, deliver progressive motivation and allow individuals to flourish in the workplace.

With that in mind, I believe – without question – that insurance is a noble profession – one that provides employees with ample opportunity to find meaningful work. My experience within the business has certainly validated this premise.

A Principled Foundation

Insurance plays such an enormous role in all of our lives, that many of us find it deeply interesting and engaging. When considering the principled foundation of the industry, we begin to realize that the core of insurance answers the exact same philosophical question that many of us are presented with in our daily lives:

What do we consider most valuable to us and how do we go about protecting it?

It is this consideration and the essence of meaning behind it that is vitally important in promoting engagement with the work. In appreciation of the broad scope of that underlying idea, it can be concluded that the central ideas of insurance are quite noble.

Rooted Sense of Purpose 

As young professionals, we value and seek out meaningful work.

When I take a step back and think about the insurance industry, I am encouraged by the part that we play: protecting the assets of the companies we serve and providing recovery when there is loss. Sure, some aspects of this pursuit might not be flashy, but the job’s purpose is felt every day. Through the mechanisms of insurance, I am proud to be helping drive the economy forward by enabling individuals and businesses to act in ways that they might not otherwise.

If you are thinking about starting a career in insurance, take heart. Insurance is not only fascinating but also deeply profound. Throughout your work, you will have the opportunity to grapple with deeply interesting problems alongside a host of tremendously bright individuals. You just might be surprised where your career will take you.

About Cooper Cohen, CPCU

Cooper is an International Underwriter at CNA Financial in Chicago, Illinois providing tailored solutions to meet the foreign insurance needs of US-based clients doing business abroad. He graduated with honors from the University of Notre Dame where he studied the complexities of Finance & Entrepreneurship. He is a native of Colorado and joined the insurance industry in 2016. Cooper holds the following designations: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS), and Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS).

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