Best Insurance Careers and Jobs in 2020 – Insurance Agent, Underwriter Or Something Else?

According to the IMF’s June 2020 World Economic Outlook Report, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a greater negative economic impact in the first half of 2020 than previously anticipated. In the April 2020 report, it was forecasted that the global economy would contract by 3 percent, but the most recent report projects global growth at –4.9 percent.  

With multiple industries crippled due to the pandemic, many people are looking to make a career change. According to a recent report from Applied and InVEST, the number of available insurance jobs is on the rise, and it’s projected that the industry will need to fill 400,000 positions by 2020. The insurance industry is built on the principle that we need to be prepared for the worst, and that’s exactly why it is faring well when many other industries are crumbling.

An insurance career sounds like a no-brainer at this time. There are quite a few career paths you can take in this challenging and lucrative industry. This article will give you a brief look at the four most profitable and viable insurance careers for you in 2020.

In this blog

Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance agents generate leads and sell insurance to their clients, while also maintaining records and handling policy renewals. A large part of being a successful insurance agent is having the ability to develop strong client relationships. There are many different types of insurance for agents to sell. They can choose to sell personal lines such as health, life, homeowners and auto, and/or commercial lines like liability and property & casualty insurance. Additionally, many agents find it profitable to sell niche insurance products like cyber insurance or hairstylist insurance.

There are two types of insurance agents — independent and captive. Independent agents work with multiple carriers, while captive agents only work with one. It is essential to understand the differences between them and make an educated decision for your career.

Requirements and relevant skills: 

  • A high school diploma, but your employers will prefer a college degree
  • A state-issued insurance license   
  • Perseverance and a positive attitude   
  • Excellent communication skills   
  • Knowledge of Business Management    

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Salary    

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the 2019 median annual salary of an insurance sales agent was $50,940. The lowest 10 percent of agents earned around $28,000 while the highest 10 percent earned more than $125,500 a year. The number of available insurance agent openings for 2018-2028 is expected to grow 10%, which is impressive and faster than the average job rate growth. 

Some captive agents may be salaried employees, but the majority of insurance agents earn money through commissions. Commission rates vary depending on your contract with the carrier and the type of insurance you’re selling. For example, commissions for the first year’s premiums for home and car insurance range from 8 to 15 percent, while life insurance commission rates range from 40 to more than 100 percent. on the first year’s premium. Commission rates for renewals are generally a lot less, with car and home policies typically paying 2-5 percent per renewal and life insurance paying 1-2 percent. 

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Insurance Underwriter

Insurance Underwriters make the vital decision of approving the client’s insurance application and deciding on the premium amount. Their main job is to assess the risks and screen potential clients.  

An underwriter’s job is more technical and requires strong computer skills and an understanding of certain software. They need to collect relevant data from the applicants, put it into their software, and analyze the risk involved. The underwriter must make decisions accordingly.

If the underwriter approves too many applications for high-risk customers, then the insurance company stands to pay out too many claims. However, if they don’t approve enough applications, the company won’t get sustainable premium payments.   

Requirements and relevant skills:

  • Strong computer and software skills
  • A state-issued insurance license
  • Excellent judgment and analytical skills
  • At least a bachelor’s degree with some risk management courses
  • Good communication skills

Salary    

The BLS states that in 2019, the annual median wage for an insurance underwriter was $70,020. While the lowest 10% of the underwriters were paid annual salaries of $42,360 and the highest 10% were paid $124,320. The majority of underwriters work as full-time employees.  

The job outlook rate for this career is -6% between 2018-2028. Even though a career as an underwriter is promising, there is projected to be a decline in the number of underwriter openings.

Insurance Adjuster

An insurance adjuster (aka insurance claims representative) is a bridge between the insurance agent and the insurance company because they work for both parties. Policyholders that file claims for damages and compensation get in contact with an adjuster who handles and reviews their claim.  

The adjuster needs to assess the situation and give an unbiased decision regarding whether the company can compensate for the loss. They act as an investigator and inquire into the matter until it is evident that the claim is indeed fair. Oftentimes, they work irregular hours such as evenings and weekends, in order to conduct surveillance and meet with contacts.  

Next, they negotiate the settlement amounts and keep records of all developments in the clients’ cases. They also need to be adept at conflict resolution, as both parties might get heated amid an ongoing investigation.   

Thus, an adjuster needs to be fair and unbiased, as they work for both the claimant and the insurance company.

Requirements and relevant skills:

  • A high school degree
  • A state-issued insurance license
  • Investigative and analytical skills
  • Conflict resolution and communication skills

Salary

Per the BLS, $66,540 is the median annual salary for an independent insurance adjuster. While salaries may be as high as $100,400, they can go as low as $41,100 for independent adjusters. 

The job outlook rate for this insurance career is -4% between 2018-28. Even though a career as an adjuster is promising, there is projected to be a decline in the number of adjuster openings.

Insurance Actuary

An insurance actuary is debatably the most crucial position in the insurance industry. Actuaries compile information, produce viable data, and relay their findings to the insurance company.

They work with accountants, financial analysts, and market researchers to forecast potential future demands. This information is vital to a company’s longevity and profit.   

Actuaries work to minimize risks in the company’s business strategies by forecasting risks. They evaluate the probability of an event occurring, and the settlement needed to pay out in such situations. 

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Requirements and relevant skills:

  • Excellent analytical and mathematical skills
  • Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, or a relevant analytical field
  • Proficiency in computer and software skills such as ARCBase and RMISWeb
  • Certification from Society of Actuaries and/or Casual Actuarial Society
  • Excellent understanding of risk management

Salary
Insurance actuaries are highly skilled, which is why they have high pay. The BLS states that the 2019 median annual pay for an actuary is $108,350. Over the next ten years, the market for actuaries is projected to grow 20%, which is comparatively much faster than other occupations in the insurance industry. However, since the number of actuary positions is relatively small, the projected 20% growth will result in only about 5,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. While the pay is lucrative, working as an actuary may not be easy, as it is a highly competitive field to break into.

What is your decision?   

Even though some of the above career options are not the highest paying jobs, they provide personal and professional growth and help you branch out into more fulfilling roles.

While it is evident that working as an Underwriter and Adjuster may be beneficial now, the markets for those jobs are projected to shrink. Actuaries have the highest salaries; however, the field requires a lot of technical skill and knowledge and is the most difficult to break into.

It seems that a career as an insurance agent is viable for most people seeking a career in the insurance industry. While it does not have the best median salary, it doesn’t require a college degree and gives you the most room to grow.

The market for insurance agents is projected to improve over the years, there’s projected to be a rising number of openings in the next decade, and it has the potential to give out great pay for those who are disciplined self-starters. Additionally, this job is the easiest to break into and offers independence and flexibility, provided you become an independent agent.

Read all about branching out as an insurance agent independently or as a captive agent in this article.

Did you find this article informative? Please leave a comment below.

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Learn how you can ease your work and start selling more from day one

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