When you are reading insurance jobs adverts and perhaps considering insurance as a career option – or even as a stepping-stone, say in IT, then understanding the language of a business is important. Roles too may sound mysterious, and there are many jokes about actuaries. Few people understand the work of an actuary, and few realise that it may take more than twelve years to qualify – longer than a surgeon requires.
As with most businesses, insurance has Accounting, IT and Operations divisions, but other divisions specific to insurance are: Actuarial, Compliance, Claims, Risk Management, Loss Adjusting and Underwriting. In the insurance industry there is a division known as Regulatory Compliance. This is sometimes compared to an internal police force – the staff in a Compliance department is responsible for ensuring that the company complies with the complex legal requirements laid down for its licensed operations.
Actuaries analyse statistics and trends, and define the risk levels to which the company is exposed. This enables the setting of appropriately profitable premium levels, whether for life insurance of farmers or car theft in the Brixton postcode. Actuarial roles are rarely advertised – it is a relatively closed and special world they inhabit.
Claims processing will be a familiar concept to most people, but underwriting is less so. An underwriter agrees the terms of a policy and assumes the risk for the company. A loss adjuster is someone who examines the circumstances of a claim, to arrive at an agreed settlement figure – perhaps by deducting a ‘wear and tear’ figure from the agreed insured sum.
Finally, risk managers ensure that the company’s exposure to risk through the policies it has written, are adequately covered by re-insurance whether through other companies or at Lloyd’s of London.
About the Author : Emily Inglis is a writer and supporter of insurance jobs