The insurance industry can offer you growth, stability and the opportunity to always be learning. We had the chance to speak with an Insurance Industry Professional, Bipasha Dhar, a Commercial Underwriter with nearly 10 years of experience in the sector. She shared her insights on how she fell into the insurance industry, why she loves where she landed, and her advice for anyone looking to hatch their career in Insurance!
Bipasha was born and raised in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and moved to Canada when she was 15 years old. Eager to learn, Bipasha completed her undergraduate degree in Business Economics from York University in Toronto, Ontario. After graduation, she encountered what many new grads go through – the job search! Bipasha decided to work in retail banking to align with her educational background.
“I did my undergrad in economics, I wanted to obviously pursue my career in corporate banking. That was my goal”, she says.
When she realized that retail banking was not the career path she envisioned, she decided to pursue something different. After doing some research, Bipasha found an opportunity with an insurance company as an Office Administrator. Insurance was never on her radar and she never thought that she would end up finding a rewarding career in the sector. “Like a lot of people out here, I fell into insurance”, she says.
While working as an Office Administrator she often worked with Underwriters, which led her to consider a possible career in underwriting. Bipasha decided to complete her Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) designation and pursue a development opportunity with her current employer as an Underwriter.
Finding Her Best Fit
Although Bipasha started her Underwriting career in Personal Lines, she was much more interested in Commercial. In Personal Lines she handled auto and home insurance, which she says is much more regulated by the government. She was drawn to Commercial where she could work with businesses and companies and have more autonomy to make decisions and assessments on her own.
She decided to shadow other Commercial Underwriters in her workplace to gain more insight into the area. She loved the variety and challenge of the role and chose to switch to Commercial Lines to work with small to mid-size businesses. “Underwriting in Commercial is not black and white. There are a lot of grey areas. You do have to think a lot outside the box”, she says. She is constantly learning in her role and has discovered there is room for continual growth and professional development.
An Atypical Day
In Bipasha’s work there is never a “typical” day. Every day brings something different for her. She can be found doing a variety of inspections, interacting with different people and businesses or going to events to meet brokers. She appreciates that she’s not stuck behind a desk every day. She gets to interact with and learn from a diverse group of people as well as many different Canadian small businesses, from retailers and salons to manufacturers and wholesalers.
In her role, Bipasha is responsible for protecting the client company by enforcing rules and assessing risk. She finds it incredibly rewarding to be able to provide a solution to a customer and meet their needs. “It gives me great privilege when I use the term ‘protecting’ because that is the bread and butter for insurance”, Bipasha says. “You’re satisfying the customer’s needs…insurance is peace of mind”.
Another exciting part of her role as a Commercial Underwriter is that there are many opportunities to grow. “… When I say I’m a Commercial Underwriter, I just don’t do one particular job – it’s a huge industry where I’m still able to explore. Right now, I’m in small to mid-size companies but I can pursue my career in a larger market or niche market. I’m not stuck in one place…”, she explains.
Helping To Educate Others About Insurance
It’s very important to Bipasha that she is able to help educate others about the insurance industry and the rewarding career paths it has to offer. Bipasha gives of her time as a Career Connections Ambassador, a role where she helps students and career changers to see how their skills, interests, and experience might add up to a great career in the insurance industry. She also helps them to better understand how insurance works and the important role it plays in our society.
“I feel that being a part of the Career Ambassador Program has really helped me put a positive impact on the insurance industry because a lot of people…[are] not aware of the different careers that are available in our industry”, she says.
Since Bipasha never imagined that insurance was a career option for her when she was in University, she wants to be able to open doors for those who may not yet be considering the insurance industry. Regardless of your educational background, the insurance industry offers something for everyone.
Advice & Insights
Bipasha encourages students and graduates to explore a career in the insurance industry. “You don’t always have to pursue a career that matches perfectly with the subject you’ve been studying for. There are a lot of different opportunities in the insurance industry,” she explains.
There are also many opportunities to expand your knowledge, something that Bipasha highly recommends doing. In a rapidly evolving society, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest trends in the insurance industry with continuing education. There are plenty of courses and certifications that you can take while you work, like the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) that will add value to your work, your company and your customer.
“Continuing education keeps you [in] the loop with what the industry is doing, where it’s going and what the future is going to be like”.