Insurance – it conjures up images of ash-filled rooms, beige interiors and auto cover. But there are new kids in towns: millennials.
Fresh-faced and hungry to make an impact, youngsters are starting to turn the levers of change. Insurance is becoming the Silicon Valley of junior talent, attracting the best from around the world. I wanted to share my experience of why insurance, as a millennial, has been one of the best places to kickstart my career.
As I walk the cobbled path of Lime Street, the Lloyd’s building leans over me. With more than 330 years’ history of saving lives, rebuilding cities and resurrecting skyscrapers, it stands proud as the beating heart of insurance. But for me, it serves to represent what a career in insurance is about: people.
The unique broker-underwriting dynamic of the insurance market sets it apart. It fuses a challenging risk appraisal with the powerful skill of human interaction. Other financiers may execute their trades with a click of the mouse, but this interpersonal tradition of the insurance market makes it the best place to start a career. I can be analysing a company’s balance sheet one day, and meeting a finance director the next. Millennials yearn for a career with meaning, with diversity and with value. Insurance does just that.
But it’s the position from which we manage this risk that stands out. From a surety perspective, we take a bird’s eye approach – looking at a company’s financials, strategy and executive management for a wide breadth of the market. It offers a first-hand account into the entrepreneurial dynamics of business, and how to succeed in it.
It’s this complex risk appraisal and social dynamic that lends itself to a platform of development. Opportunities to take qualifications with the Chartered Insurance Institute, accountancy or even languages are all useful tools in a market as far reaching as insurance.
Within six months of joining AIG, I’ve had the opportunity to take classes in credit analysis and had training in bond and legal wordings. In the near future, I intend to build my language skills too. The insurance market is a great place to apply what you learnt at university, as well as offering the opportunity to acquire new skills. Coming away from the former, I learnt to critically appraise ideas and concepts. No other career requires you to think as analytically as in insurance: deciding whether to take millions of pounds in exposure requires a strong appraisal and critique.
But beyond this, it offers a career with meaning. Millennials in insurance know that their work is of value. With the right policy and claims process, their work could help save a company from bankruptcy or a hospital from being left unbuilt. In a jobs market where young people care increasingly about the social impact of their work, this provides the reassurance needed.
This is especially the case in the developing world. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 100 million people each year fall into poverty because of exorbitant healthcare expenses. And if a family member dies or a flood devastates a community, the world’s poor can quickly fall below the poverty line. Insurance is literally helping to save lives around the world.
As this draws youth to the industry, innovation is bringing a brave new world. Startups and modern technology are changing how we do things, which makes for an exciting place to work. Insurtech drew record levels of investment in the first half of 2017 and the number of new job vacancies grew 22 times faster than the rest of the UK economy.
The app ‘Cuvva’ allows you to insure your friend’s car on an hourly basis, and blockchain is automating the claims process to reduce the cost and transparency of insurance policies. As the ground begins to shake under our feet, the market is becoming an exciting arena of creativity. Companies are looking for new and exciting ways to lead the market, and our input is needed more than ever.
As a young person entering the world of work, insurance has been a wonderful place to start. The unique underwriting-broker dynamic, in a career with social meaning, has made for a great first job.