Careers in Insurance: There are two principal functions within insurance companies, underwriting and investment. Underwriting entails the measurement of risk and the charging of premiums that are appropriate to the degree of risk that the insurance company assumes by writing a given policy. An actuary holds an important technical job, trained in statistical analysis and the scientific determination of insurance policy terms and premiums.
The investment function is equally important. A well-run insurance company will have, at least in the long run, a surplus of premium income over actual payouts of claims. This surplus needs to be invested, so insurance companies have substantial staffs dedicated to earning good returns on this money. Insurance companies are thus major employers of money managers and securities research professionals, often with excellent opportunities in entry-level positions.
Insurance companies themselves fall into three major categories. Life insurers promise a payment upon the insured person's death. Property and casualty insurers write policies that protect individuals and businesses against a variety of risks: auto accidents, fire or storm damage, injuries, theft, etc. Health insurers write policies that cover medical expenses. Some insurance companies engage in multiple lines of business.
The insurance industry also employs large numbers of sales people, work either for the insurance companies themselves or for independent insurance brokers.
For more detail on major career paths within insurance, look at the more in-depth discussions that we have prepared. This is hardly an exhaustive list, but it includes some of the larger and better-paying lines of employment in this industry. Just note that, as in any industry, job titles and responsibilities can vary somewhat from employer to employer. That said, here is our list: