March 25, 2014, by Beth Dawson

Underwriting, risk and exams: your introduction to insurance

By Daniella Dutton, Employability Officer, Careers and Employability Service

From your iPod to your life, and the damaged houses from the Somerset floods to Mariah Carey’s legs, it seems that anything can be insured and there’s a diverse sector to handle such a wide range of insurance areas. Want to know more about this expansive sector? Read our quick guide to careers in insurance.


Insurance is a prominent industry, employing over 290,000 in the UK and account management contributes 26% of the UK’s net worth and £10.4 billion in taxes. It is also the largest industry in Europe, employing over 320,000 people.*


No two roles are the same. Roles available in this industry include: underwriting, claims, actuarial, finance, IT, operational and engineering.


There are a range of specialisms within the insurance industry. For example, the commercial branch covers property, business interruption, liability and motor insurance for businesses. You will have some experience of this area when insuring your car or the contents of your house.


Underwriting is a huge field within the insurance industry. Underwriters accept or reject insurance applications made by businesses or individuals on behalf of their insurance company and this work involves making decisions about acceptable risk and the charges associated with it. Some responsibilities of an underwriter include liaising with specialists, such as doctors and surveyors, to better inform estimations, writing policies and negotiating the terms of these policies with potential customers and brokers.


Rapport building and negotiation skills are particularly important if you want to pursue a career as an underwriter. Gaining work experience in sales and taking part in debates as part of your course or you work within a society, such as the Debating Union, are good examples of how you can gain experience that demonstrates your negotiation skills.


Actuaries are professionals that analyse risks and make predictions regarding the money that organisations should set aside to cover these risks. A wide range of businesses consult actuaries before making important decisions. Discover more about actuaries on the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ website.


Numerous risks! We’re not implying that working in insurance might be dangerous; insurance is the process of transferring risk from a person to an insurance company in exchange for payment.


Chartered status is achieved after completing an Advanced Diploma in Insurance. In most graduate roles, you’ll be expected to undertake further study and there are a wide variety of vocational qualifications on offer: Award, Certificate or Diploma of Insurance.


Experience is important if you want to enter this career. Many larger firms offer spring and summer internships and placements. If you’re in your first year, companies including EY and Lloyds Bank run insight days and weeks, so that you can get an understanding of what it is like to work for them and the insurance sector as a whole.


If this short guide has sparked an interest in the insurance sector, why not visit our insurance careers guide or visit Inside Careers: Insurance and Pensions. If you want further advice on working in insurance and entry routes, book an appointment with a careers adviser through My Career.

* Inside Careers – Pensions and Insurance

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