The Profession

Integritas et Sapientia

The spectrum of careers that are available through the insurance profession is very wide and keeps increasing.

This page is intended for talent aspiring to join the industry and make a profession out of insurance.

For the profession to continue to grow healthily and deliver value all need to be underpinned by two fundamental principles, integrity and knowledge. it is a profession based on trust, so these two principles are key.

Many of us, before joining insurance, thought that the only insurance products that existed were Motor Insurance or Life Assurance and the only "career" that existed was that of a sales-person. How mistaken we were! What a universe the profession offers!

The "Why Insurance?" section of this website puts faces to names of people of all ages and nationalities, telling us something about their various roles in insurance.

These are some of the careers available within the profession:

Actuary: Pricing of insurance products and setting of premium and various claims-related reserves require mathematical acumen. The role of the insurance actuary has become even more prevalent in the industry within Europe since the adoption of what is known as the Solvency II regime. Several reports and exercises, including the Solvency and Financial Condition Report (SFCR), the Own Risk and Solvency Assessment and the quarterly and annual reports and statistics as well as the Solvency II external audit all require the input of actuaries to uphold what is known as "Prudential Regulation". Although often guided by their "rearview mirrors", actuaries provide invaluable, tangible, quantitative insight that can help drive strategic development.

Accounting & Finance: While accountants are found in every enterprise, insurance accounting is to a great extent in a class of its own. Unlike most other sectors insurance is said to, "operate on the liability-side of the balance sheet" and places significant emphasis on premium and claims reserving and the method of profit realization. With IFRS17 the insurance accounting landscape is in for a dramatic change and highlights, even more, the importance of the specific insurance accounting talent required by the industry.

Compliance Officer: The growth and international connectivity of the industry have brought with it the need for training talent specifically in regulatory compliance. This is nowadays a key function in organizations that is required by regulators.

Claims Executive: The insurance claims executive is the person employed by the insurance company who reviews and assesses claims (sometimes with the help of a loss adjustor). This is a very delicate job because the claims executive needs to identify whether the loss that has been reported is covered by the policy that the client has and whether the policy is full and effective force (that is, premiums paid up to date, policy conditions honoured etc.). Once these are established then the claims executive would need to calculate the claim amount due, taking into account, for example, policy limits or policy excesses. Once a claim is settled the claims executive generally follows up on recovery processes where, for example a third party is to blame for a loss. On more complex claims that take longer to settle, claims executives are also involved in monitoring and updating the company's claims reserves to ensure that these reflect more accurately what is owed to clients by way of claim payment.

Insurance Agents or Intermediaries: Some insurance companies sell their products through agents. These come in all shapes and sizes and the most common terms we meet are Managing General Agents, Tied Insurance Intermediaries, Coverholders, Aggregators and InsurTech. They play a very important role in that they wide the reach and the distribution network of an insurance company. At law, they are viewed as agents of the insurance company and therefore acting on behalf of an insurance company. In Europe these are now governed primarily by the Insurance Distribution Directives.

Perhaps in a class of their own, one also needs to mention the Lloyds Syndicates who underwrite on behalf of mostly corporate capital (but historically personal capital) within Lloyds of London.

Insurance Underwriter: The insurance underwriter is the person who assesses the proposal form (or application form) and decides whether to provide insurance or not, what conditions or exclusions to impose and what premium to charge. Underwriters can specialize in several classes of insurance, i.e. Life Assurance and Pensions, Property Insurance and Business Interruption, Engineering and Construction, Accident and Casualty, General or Specialist Liability classes, Marine Cargo, Hull or Pleasure-craft, Motor insurance, Personal Lines insurance (including Home, Travel, Accident etc.), Private Medical Insurance, retail consumer insurance products (i.e. Extended Warranty, Tyre and Alloy, Guaranteed Asset Protection, etc.), Credit Insurance and many other specialist or niche areas. The term "underwriter" dates back to a time when Lloyds of London was still a coffee shop in the late 17th century and merchants used to write the percentage of risk they wish to carry underneath the risk details on a "slip" prepared by the broker.

Insurance Broker: The Insurance Broker is the person who provides insurance advice to the client. The problem that a client faces is generally not an insurance problem. The problem is risk or the possibility of financial loss. The Insurance Broker is the person who guides the client as to the most suited form of insurance to purchase as a means of protection. Brokers can be specialists to specific insurance products or more generic to certain classes e.g. marine, personal lines, commercial insurance, etc. The term broker is also derived from 17th century London and is one that the industry has "borrowed" from shipping. Although the insurance broker is an "intermediary", or a middleman, we do not refer to the broker as an agent because brokers are agents of the client and not agents of the insurance company. The act independently of the insurance company.

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Loss Adjustor: Loss adjustors are the persons who help insurance claims executives on larger, more specialist and or more delicate claims requiring expert advice in adjudication or settlement. They also advise on recovery processes. Although generally engaged by the insurance company, a loss adjustor provides his or her service independently. Loss adjusting is a profession in its own right. Although the term "loss adjustor" arguably first appears in the mid-20th century, the profession appears to have existed since at least the early 19th century.

There are also other independent claims functions, such as Claims Assessors (who are generally engaged by and to represent the client). There are also Survey Agents and or Settling Agents particularly in Marine Cargo Insurance appointed by insurance companies to settle their marine cargo claims overseas.

Regulator: Financial services regulators also required persons who are qualified in insurance regulation. Despite the industry's increased sophistication, consumer protection remains at the heart of the profession and the single-minded objective of every financial services regulator. This therefore necessitates the employment of talent in financial, regulatory, risk management and authorization at all echelons of supervision. The regulator in Malta is the Malta Financial Services Authority which works very closely with the EIOPA at European level and would have in place several agreements with other regulators globally in addition to collaborating through the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

As part o their consumer protection focus, regulators also promote awareness and education.

Reinsurance Executive: The reinsurance executive can work for example in underwriting, business development, claims, recoveries or accounting and finance but for a reinsurance company instead of an insurance company. The Reinsurer is the insurer of the insurer. A Reinsurance company does not insure the person in the street but shares in the risks insured by the insurance company. This is done to provide the insurance company with additional financial capacity (and expertise) to sell more and more insurance. Reinsurance is also a very old and specialized profession in its own right dating back to the 19th century.

Risk Manager: Several large (non-insurance) industrial concerns employ a risk manager to help guide an enterprise through the maze of internal and external risks that an organization is exposed to when running its business. Risk Managers are involved in the identification, measurement and control of such risks and would be responsible, for example, for risk registers, oversight on risk surveys, insurance negotiations, other risk transfer mechanisms, etc. Because of the complex regulatory environment that insurance companies operate in today, they too employ Risk Managers. This function is a critical one for insurance entities and is generally mandated by regulators as part of the company's second lie of defense.

Third-Party Administrator or Assistance: Third-party administrators are firms that are engaged by insurance companies, agents or cover-holders to administer a particular aspect of the business (generally that is claims-related). For example in insurance of consumer goods (such as extended warranty or mobile phone insurance) or in private medical insurance, third party administrator are engaged to effectively manage the claims book in terms of efficiently proving customer value and controlling cost on behalf of insurers.

General corporate and professional roles: Like any other enterprise, insurance entities require marketers, business development executives, HR specialists, IT talent, legal counsel, internal audit and assurance which - although generic as professions - do have distinct focus within insurance.

Similarly, insurers are major clients of outsourced services including legal, accounting and finance, auditing, investment, banking, IT, PR, arbitration, internal and external auditing, consulting, etc. all of which employ talent with specific acumen in insurance.

There are also specialized areas of insurance, such as Captive Insurance Companies, Insurance-Linked Securities, Protected Cell Insurance Companies, Insurance Management Services Companies and Risk Consulting Firms that also require insurance talent largely from the roles listed above.




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