Office Hours: Eggs-plore The Insurance Industry With Career Connections

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Being one of the most diverse industries out there, Insurance is a great place to hatch your career!

On February 24th, we hosted an Office Hours Q&A with Career Connections’ eggs-pert Trevor Buttrum. Over 60 minutes, we covered all sorts of topics that students and recent grads like you have been asking about. There are so many different types of positions and fields to choose from, so you can be sure to find your perfect fit; you just need to know where to start looking.

Couldn’t make the event? Here’s the full transcript!


 

TalentEgg
Good afternoon, everyone – Office Hours with Career Connections will begin promptly at 4 p.m. EST. Stay tuned!

TalentEgg
Hello everyone, and welcome to Office Hours with Northern Health. My name is Veronica and I’ll be moderating today’s Q&A!

We’re egg-cited for today’s chat – we’ll be answering all of your questions about the insurance industry and how to hatch a successful career in this field.

Over the next 60 minutes, you can submit your questions during the live event. We’ll be answering as many as we can. Of course, we also have a list of pre-submitted questions from those of you who have registered, and we’ll be covering those as well!

Now, I’d like to introduce our guest eggs-pert for today’s session – Trevor Buttrum from Career Connections! Why don’t you introduce yourself, Trevor?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Thanks Veronica! I’m so egg-cited to be here today to answer questions from students who are interested in learning more about the rewarding careers available in Canada’s property & casualty insurance sector. Let’s get crackin’!

TalentEgg
Egg-cellent! Without further delay, let’s start answering some questions.

Jason, an MBA (Accounting) at Brock University asks:
“What qualifications and soft skills are required in the insurance industry?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Good question, Jason! The thing to remember about insurance is that each of the operational roles (eg. Broker, Actuary, Risk Manager, Underwriter, etc.) are unique. Thus, they require their own sets of skills, experiences, and qualifications to help in maximizing your career potential in that area. You can learn more about each of these roles in the occupational profiles on our website –http://bit.ly/1eehJye. There is even a quiz that you can take that will help you to narrow down which area of the industry might be a good starting point based on your interests, skills, and experience. All that being said, there are some general norms that recruiters and insurance organizations are looking for… Your post-secondary education will serve as a solid base qualification. We are also looking for people who are curious, analytical, solutions-focused, and strong relationship builders. Hope that helps in getting you started!

TalentEgg
Marcia asks:
“Is it difficult to get a job in the insurance industry?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Marcia – thanks for your question! Like any job search, you will want to be putting your best foot forward when looking for a career in your sector. It will be important to highlight your skills and experience in the context of the roles you are most interested in – meaning, consider what the employer’s needs are for that role and how your experience, education, and interests help you to meet them! Connect as many dots as possible and don’t leave anything to their imagination. It is a competitive and sometimes rigorous process to find a job. If you have questions about how to job search effectively, I would reach out to your career centre! Overall though, the sector is always looking for talented, creative, and motivated people. Obviously, there are some roles or areas of the industry where requirement happens in higher volumes – for example…brokers, underwriters, claims professionals, and business development representatives. Our outlook is good when it comes to future talent needs within the P & C insurance sector – the Insurance Institute’s demographic research indicates that the industry has 25,000 professionals set to retire between now and 2022.

TalentEgg
Mikolaj, a Commerce (Finance) major at the University of Ottawa asks:
“How can I start a career with no experience?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Mikolaj – we get asked this question A LOT when we are on campus. One thing to remember is that insurance is not typically something that people study while they are in school. In fact, there are only 14 colleges and universities across the country that offer insurance courses as a part of their curriculum. As such, employers know that is unlikely that they will be hiring a new grad with a lot of insurance knowledge or experience. This is essentially how the industry has always worked and the primary reason that the Insurance Institute exists. We offer courses, seminars, and programming designed to equip you with the resources and tools to help you excel in your career while you are already working in the industry. Many industry professionals talk about how they discovered insurance and what it had to offer by happenstance. Given that you are expressing interest in insurance by attending something like office hours, you are actually already ahead of many people in terms of understanding what the industry may be able to offer you when it comes to your career. Networking, putting your best job search foot forward, attending more events like this one or on campus, learning as much as you can about the industry through informational interviews, trade publications, research, etc. as possible will help you to solidify your understanding of how the industry works, current trends, and what it takes to be successful.

TalentEgg
Divya, a student at St. Lawrence College asks:
“I have the skill-sets for a job as a Junior Buyer, Inventory & Logistics Coordinator, and Market Researcher. Are there any insurance jobs that will fit my skills?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Divya – those are all really great skills that you are bringing to the table. While the insurance industry may not have roles that are specifically called those things, a lot of the skills you have are transferable to different roles in the industry. For example, a Broker is helping their client to ‘buy’ the best insurance product for them. They need to understand their clients needs, range of products available from the companies they work with, etc. and provide outstanding levels of customer service. An Underwriter needs to conduct research and analysis and is detail oriented. I’d imagine that these characteristics are required as an Inventory and Logistics Coordinator as well. I’d encourage you to spend some time on the Career Connections website to learn more about how your experience can translate into different roles in the insurance sector. The KEY is to present your skills in relation to the role you are most interested in and to clearly state how what you have done helps to meet the employer’s core needs. If you need more help on this front, a visit to your career centre can prove helpful.

TalentEgg
Thinking about starting a career as a Marketing Representative? We have the inside scoop – read this article for details.

Amanda, a Commerce major (Hons.) and Psychology minor at Carleton University asks:
“What traits make a great insurance professional?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Amanda – Insurance professionals have a wide range of traits and skillsets that make them great – it is so broad, because of the wide array of roles available in the industry. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage to you to check out the Career Connections profile here on TalentEgg, the Insurance Career Guide, and our website to learn more about what the industry has to offer in terms of rewarding career paths. That being said, in general, insurance professionals who are viewed by their peers as great are typically excellent problem solvers, curious, really solid at building and maintaining relationships, can sometimes think outside of the box/are bold and are critical thinkers.

TalentEgg
Travis, a Broadcast Journalism major at Sheridan College asks:
“Are sales jobs the only options for people without business degrees?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Good question Travis! While, like any business, the ‘sales force’ is an important driver and key player… it is not the only facet that people can get into as options for their career. Many professionals (in all roles) in the insurance sector do not have business backgrounds – why? Because insurance is all around us and touches virtually every facet of what we do in our lives. This requires a workforce that is equipped with a wide array of skills and backgrounds. You communication skills, critical thinking, and ability to build rapport quickly that was honed over the course of your studies might serve you will in an underwriting or claims role… for example. Hope that helps!

TalentEgg
Bhatt, a Business Marketing major at the University of Manitoba asks:
“Are there any entry-level marketing jobs?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Bhatt, there are a wide array of roles available at the entry level in insurance organizations – including roles that support business development and more traditional marketing. I would encourage you to keep an eye on sites like TalentEgg and our job site to get a feel for what is out there. On our job site, you can also link to 150+ property & casualty insurance organizations – this is a great way to learn more about not only their job postings, but how the organization and its culture as well.

TalentEgg
Great point, Trevor. You can check out TalentEgg’s full job board here for insurance career opportunities and more!

Janine, a student at Mt. Allison University asks:
“Do you have to be good with numbers to get a job in insurance?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Janine – ‘numbers’ are an important factor in insurance and how it works for sure. BUT… you do not necessarily need to be good with them to work in the industry. Why? Because there is such a wide variety of careers available in the property & casualty insurance sector. Some roles like Loss Adjusters or Brokers require us to be ‘better’ with ‘people’ than numbers… others, like Loss Control or Appraising need us to be ‘better’ with ‘things’ – equipment, cars, homes, fine art etc. – than people or numbers. Remember, it boils down to your using your education, skills, and experience to your advantage. Take the focus off what you don’t have… and make it more about what you are bringing to the table.

TalentEgg
Farah, a Communications major at Carleton University asks:
“What kinds of jobs are there for someone with my background?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Farah, I see that you are majoring in Communications. You might really like a role in underwriting, claims, or even working in risk management. But, these are just starting points. You may have experiences and skills that are not just defined by your major. That is really the nice thing about an insurance career – it can really be built on a combination of skills, education, interests, and experience. You can essentially build a career that can take you exactly where you want to go. Also, don’t forget that you could also work in traditional communications and marketing as well. Insurance companies have those departments as well – like, any other business.

TalentEgg
Mikolaj, a Commerce (Finance) major at the University of Ottawa asks:
“What are the entry-level positions available for recently graduated students?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Good question Mikolaj! Each of the roles that Career Connections promotes has entry roles available. Essentially, it boils down to what you are most interested in and the skills you are bringing to the table. On our website, you can explore each of the operational roles in greater detail and even take a quiz that will help you get a sense of potential starting points in the industry that suit who you are and what you want out of your career upon graduation. I will say though, that most often, we have seen Commerce (Finance) grads starting out as a broker, underwriter, or in risk analysis/management.

TalentEgg
Nidhi asks:
“What are the most in demand educational backgrounds for insurance employers?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Nidhi – Keep in mind that insurance touches on almost everything we do in business and in our day-to-day lives. This requires us to have people from a wide array of backgrounds and experience profiles to help make our industry go. I would invite you to visit our website and checkout the ‘Your Education Section’ to see how what you have studied can connect to potential roles in the insurance sector.

TalentEgg
Elaine, a Business Administration major at the University of Toronto asks:
“Are there any case-study components or tests during the interview process?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Well, Elaine – as, I am sure you can appreciate that will vary from company to company. That being said, we have heard that some companies are using case study or scenario based questions to help them get a read for how you will perform in their environment. That being said, most will definitely give you a heads-up and perhaps even off the case in advance for you to do a little preparation. Don’t worry – they will be looking more to thought process, soft skills, and problem solving skills/resourcefulness than insurance-specific technical knowledge.

TalentEgg
It’s time for our poll! Be sure to cast your vote :)

What aspect of the Insurance industry do you find most appealing?
  • Entry-level careers (35%)
  • Room for advancement (30%)
  • Training and educational support (13%)
  • Travel opportunities (22%)

Comment From Morgan
I have a background in social media marketing. How can I transfer my skills to a career in Insurance?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Morgan – Sounds like you have had some interesting experience so far! Social Media is a part of communications and business in the world around us. You can imagine the type of reputational risk that needs to be managed in that type of role. Consider how your communication, problem solving, and customer relationship management skills needed to be leveraged in that role and how that might transfer into some of the roles that you are exploring in insurance. Traditional marketing and communications are also available in the insurance sector – you might be interested in checking out the online presence of some of the employers we work with!

TalentEgg
Sarah asks:
“What kinds of questions do insurance employers ask in an interview? How can I stand out?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Sarah – Insurance interviews, like any other will vary from employer to employer. Our experience tells us though that these questions will often be behaviourally based as it is widely believed that what you have done in the past is often a good indicator about how you might behave in the future. A mock interview or practicing a few questions with a trusted friend can help a lot in terms of feeling more comfortable with the process. I would also suggest doing research on the company, responding as much as you can to the employer’s needs and how your experience will help you in meeting those needs, and putting your best foot forward to help you stand out as a candidate. Check out our article in the Insurance Career Guide for some great interview tips…

TalentEgg
Agreed – we have some great articles to address your question, Sarah. Check this one out.

Keyan asks:
“Can you tell us your favourite thing about working in the insurance field?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Hi Keyan! Variety – hands down. No two days are really the same. And, insurance is in a really exciting time right now as the risk landscape is ever changing. Climate Change, Autonomous Vehicles, Big Data, Cyber Security, the Shared Economy (Uber, Air BnB, etc.)… insurance is at the forefront of these game changing issues and is helping to shape the world we live in. It’s pretty cool!

TalentEgg
We’ve got a great article on emerging trends in the insurance industry – you can read it here!

Comment From Luke, Saint Mary’s University
What would you recommend I do while still in school that may make me more attractive to employers in your industry after I graduate?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Luke – there are a few things that you can do to help you stand out as a candidate.

1. Networking (there are a few great resources in the insurance career guide and on our website). This will help you become a known quantity to insurance professionals and recruiters. Consider going to events put on by professional associations in the sector, or the Insurance Institute (even things like curling, golf, battle of the bands, etc.)… connecting with professionals on LinkedIn, informational interviews, etc. These are just some of the ways you can build out your network.

2. Taking one or two courses in insurance or risk management. If they are offered at your Institute, great… if not, you could take them through the Insurance Institute.

3. Research insurance organizations and the roles/internship programs/etc. that they have to offer. This will help you focus on the opportunities you want and to get a feel for which work cultures are a fit for what you are looking for.

TalentEgg
Anastasia asks:
“If bilingualism a competitive advantage?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Anastasia – Bilingualism can definitely be an asset. Particularly in the claims and broker/agent contact centre environments. It also can come in handy when working with national or global clients in areas like underwriting or risk management.

TalentEgg
Alisha asks:
“Are there any entry-level jobs that don’t require a high amount of client work?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Alisha – There are definitely ‘back office’ or not as forward facing roles in the industry…. Claims processing, underwriting assistants, actuarial analysts, etc. may not have as much client time as say a Broker or Loss Adjuster. I’d invite you to do a little bit of research and further networking to determine which role might be a good fit for who you are and what you are looking for in your career. Chances are, there is a role with your name on it in the insurance sector!

TalentEgg
Jeremiah asks:
“What career path offers the most growth potential?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Jeremiah – the industry as a whole is growing! And, is not going anywhere. In fact, we added 12,000 positions to our workforce at the height of the last economic recession. Keep in mind that as new risks and perils emerge – think cyber, increased impact of extreme weather, or even the evolution of automated vehicles… the industry will need to continue to adapt and evolve to meet these needs. Often, this requires additional staff and expertise. That being said, need tends to be greatest for underwriters, claims professionals, actuaries, and brokers as these are the areas of the industry which have the greatest numbers of professionals working in them.

TalentEgg
Stacey, a Business Administration major asks:
“Do you have suggestions for companies to apply to?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Stacey – There are so many amazing employers in the insurance sector! It can sometimes be tough to choose which one might be right for you. But, we do have a resource on our job site that can help… a list of 150 insurance employers with links to their HR pages. That will help you start to explore the employer landscape and get a sense for who they each are as a company, typical roles, etc. We also have a great article in the Insurance Career Guide on choosing an employer that is right for you…

TalentEgg
Here’s a fantastic article that covers how to choose the right insurance employer for you. Hope it helps!

We have time for a few more questions!

Matthew, a student at NAIT asks:
“Do you need a university degree?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Matthew – good question. The answer is – not necessarily. In fact many colleges (10 in fact) offer insurance programs a a part of their business offerings. Also, Insurance organizations have stated that they value post-secondary education in general… not, just university degrees.

Take a look at the job postings and benchmark against the roles that require college diplomas. This will help you determine if what you have credential wise will get you the role you are ultimately after.

Comment From Stacy
What’s the outlook like for the insurance industry? Do you envision there being more opportunity in the near future?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Stacy – the future for insurance is looking bright… both on a talent front and in terms of the exciting times ahead! Up to 28% (or more than 25,000 people) of our workforce will be eligible to retire by 2022. This means that there will be an almost constant need for talented, creative, and motivated people to join our industry. Needs will be across the sector and thus, a wide range of experience profiles and backgrounds will be require to help us meet our recruitment needs. One note, this does not take into consideration the growth and expansion that takes place in the industry organically as the risk landscape continues to shift and evolve.

TalentEgg
Brad asks:
“What are the benefits of working in this industry?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
Brad – Insurance professionals tell us all the time about the benefits that they experience over the course of their career working in the insurance sector. Things like, stability, variety, challenge, reward, recognition, a sense of giving back, opportunity for advancement, etc. are all things that are commonly talked about as what keeps people engaged and egg-cited to be working in insurance.

TalentEgg
And that’s all the time we have for Office Hours today. Thanks for your egg-cellent questions everyone.

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections Program Manager
A big thanks to you all for your thoughtful questions and engagement in this session! It has been a pleasure speaking with all of you!! A big thanks to Veronica and the TalentEgg team for putting this together and for inviting us to be a part of Office Hours today. Keep the conversation going with us on Twitter @Find_Your_Place and on our FB page: /careersininsurance.

TalentEgg
Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming Office Hours events on our website.

We hope you learned some valuable information about the insurance industry today. Thanks again for joining us – have an egg-cellent day!

Ready to look into an Insurance career? Check out our Career Connections’ page for more information!

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