Insurance Manager Careers
Qualifications, responsibilities, career path, salaries
Insurance is a risky business, built as it is on the laws of probability. What kind of liability would an insurance company have to bear if, say, Mariah Carey were to break a leg? Or if Julia Roberts lost her smile? No, seriously.
There’s little that cannot be insured today – including celebrities’ body parts – making insurance a booming industry, albeit fraught with considerable risk.
But it’s not every day that you land a celebrity client. The job is, admittedly, a little more prosaic, although, in principle, very simple. As we just said, the insurance industry is all about hedging risk, for both the insurance company and its customers.
While the company must ensure that it earns enough in premiums to offset customers’ claims while still making a profit, customers minimise risk to their finances by insuring their health, homes, property, themselves against lawsuits, or as the case may be, premature death.
Since customers file claims at a steady pace, there is always a headlong dash by insurance companies to reel in fresh business, to offset these payouts.
Responsibilities: What Does An Insurance Manager Do?
Every insurance manager has been through the paces, having climbed up the ranks over the years. They have used their best possible marketing skills to sell all sorts of policies, processed claims, participated in arbitration of claims and executed many other hands-on tasks.
Given this target-driven, goal-oriented career track, what does an insurance manager really do? As an insurance manager, you play a supervisory role, which means you’re responsible for your company’s branch office.
This means discharging administrative, operational, consulting, mentoring and personnel related duties, as well as meeting the targets set for your branch. But the top priority always remains – the sale of insurance policies.
Typically, insurance managers oversee all types of specialists such as brokers, underwriters, risk managers, claims investigators, actuaries and appraisers at the branch but they are especially concerned with the skills and performance of their sales agents.
One, their team’s collective performance will determine whether or not the branch meets it targets; and, two, the insurance manager’s remuneration includes ‘overrides’, which is a sum based on their agents’ commissions.
Yes, there is very good reason you want to hire talented agents, train them well and do your best to retain them.
A large part of an insurance manager’s brief is to make sure their agents are well trained on the actual insurance products the company sells, on their sales technique and on the ethical and legal compliance issues they are bound to face.
An effective insurance manager helps their sales agents convert their weaknesses into strengths; accompanies them on field visits, when necessary; and may even assign junior agents to work with senior sales staff.
It is also critical that a manager be very well-versed in insurance laws and regulations, to protect their company against ethical issues or lawsuits. They also oversee investigation of claims and ensure that their staff complies with regulations.
Some managers may also be involved in strategic planning and implementing new programmes and policies devised by their companies, or in reviewing existing policies and analysing the risks associated with them.
Educational Qualifications for Insurance Careers
Insurance managers usually begin their careers in entry-level positions such as claims or sales, and move into managerial positions only after they gain the necessary skills and experience.
Although most insurance companies conduct training programmes to familiarise new managers with their policies and procedures, you would also need some minimum educational qualifications.
Typically, a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, Business Management, or Accounting will do, although it is a good idea to periodically take courses to stay abreast with developments in the field and with changes in insurance laws.
Here’s a tip: if you are an undergraduate and are certain you are an aspiring insurance manager, you could opt for an internship at an insurance firm.
Salary Of An Insurance Manager
Insurance managers earn their remuneration from three sources: a salary, overrides on the sales made by their agents at their branch office, and commissions on sales made by the manager themselves.
According to salary.com, the average annual salary, including bonuses, you could expect as an insurance manager in India would be Rs 6.7 lakh. This will go up to around Rs 10 lakh a year, depending on your experience and the company you are employed with.
In the US, the comparative salary, including bonus, is around $103,800.