The insurance sector financially safeguards organisations and individuals from unforeseen risks and circumstances. Insurance companies provide financial products and insurance brokers work on behalf of the client to find the best product. Many retail banks now offer insurance services. The industry is so diverse there are many different job roles for graduates.
What will I do?
The main graduate roles are in:
Insurance underwriters decide whether to insure clients and work out what the client should pay in premiums to offset the risk.
This involves managing and developing people and systems to ensure that transactions and claims are processed.
This entails working out how much a client has lost and how much the insurance company should pay out.
Roles in this area involve gauging clients’ needs, developing products in line with these needs and selling the developed products to clients.
These include marketing, HR and IT roles.
This has its origins in the insurance industry but now also spans other business areas requiring long-term planning such as insolvency. Actuaries evaluate the financial implications of decisions or determine the probability of events and assess risks. They may also be concerned with accepting new policies; with legal and taxation matters affecting life assurance; or with investing funds. Large insurance employers provide graduate schemes.
Qualifications and skills
Insurance-related roles are generally open to graduates of any discipline but some employers ask for a numbers-related degree. You study for an appropriate professional qualification while working. To professionally qualify as an actuary as a graduate, you need grade C in Honours Mathematics in the Leaving Certificate (or a minimum grade B at A level) plus a second class in any degree (or a third in maths).
Depending on your role, you may liaise with professionals from a wide range of other sectors, so it is important that you have good communication skills as well as being comfortable with numbers (if you do not have a finance degree), an ability to work on your initiative as well as part of a team and also an ability to work to deadlines.
Working hours are often those of a standard office. Some roles, eg brokerage, may require Saturday work. While many roles are office based, others involve some travelling.