Office Hours With Career Connections – February 22 2018

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Are you looking to hatch a career with meaning in an industry with growth potential? Look no further, the insurance industry has you covered!

On February 22, we held a live Q&A between Program Manager Trevor Buttrum of Career Connections at the Insurance Institute of Canada, and students like you from all across Canada. We explored a lot in the hour, from advice on getting work with no experience, to what skill sets the industry are looking for in candidates.

Unable to make the event? Not a problem. We’ve got the full transcript here!

TalentEgg

Hello everyone, thanks for joining Office Hours with Career Connections! To log into the chat, please follow the steps below:

1. Click the message bar above to activate (“send questions or comments”)
2. Pick a screen name – your first name will do!
3. Enter your question(s) into the chat – they’ll be accepted into our moderation system as soon as you hit ‘send’!

We will be starting the event promptly at 4 p.m. EST – stay tuned!

TalentEgg

Hello, and welcome to Office Hours with Career Connections! My name is Katrina and I’ll be monitoring today’s chat.

TalentEgg

We’re super egg-cited to get things rolling. Today, we have a very special guest joining us from Career Connections’ team who will be answering your career questions.

TalentEgg

Before we get started, I’ll quickly explain how this event works. Students and grads (that’s you!) will submit career questions over the next hour, and our guest expert will do their best to answer as many of them as they can.

If you pre-registered and submitted an advance question, then you can sit back and relax! If you have additional questions, you can submit them live during the chat.

TalentEgg

Before we begin, let’s introduce our guest from Career Connections! We’ll be speaking with Trevor Buttrum, the Career Connections Manager at the Insurance Institute of Canada. Trevor, could you share a bit about yourself?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Hi there! My name is Trevor and I am the Manager, Career Connections at the Insurance Institute of Canada. My team and I work to help career seekers like you to find your place in this rewarding and stable sector!! Egg-cited to meet you all virtually and engage in this discussion!! I am looking forward to your questions and some really great dialogue.

TalentEgg

Great! Let’s get started.

TalentEgg

Jesse, an Admin Marketing student at George Brown College

“How they figured out the insurance industry was right for them”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Thanks for the question Jesse! When making the transition from school to work, most insurance professionals who love what they do first took stock of what they liked to do and their skills (e.g. work with people, analyze information, provide advice, problem solve, manage projects, etc.) and applied it to roles they were applying to in the industry. They also thought a lot about what they were looking for in a career path (e.g. stability, variety, challenge, opportunity for advancement, a community, etc.) and made sure that the industry was able to offer it to them! You might find it helpful to take our quiz: www.career-connections.info… to help you in starting to understand how your education, interests and experience can add up to a great career in the insurance industry! You can also find full career profiles, links to 150+ insurance organizations, and videos of real life people with insurance careers sharing their experience and insights. I’d also suggest talking to people! Whether it is meeting a LinkedIN connection for coffee, seeking out a an alumni from your program or school who work in insurance, attending a networking event, etc… the more you talk to professionals in a variety of roles, the better! These career conversations don’t always need to net a job to be successful; sometimes it’s just about exploring whether the industry or a specific role is a good fit for you and your career goals!

TalentEgg

Boheira, an international Economics and Finance student at Ryerson University
“How can an economic major student get an opportunity within the insurance industry?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Boheira, those with an Economics background have a number of different possibilities to explore as starting points about how their education and skills can be applied in the insurance industry! I’d invite you to visit the Education section in the area of our website targeted to post-secondary students: https://www.career-connecti… to get a more indepth feel for what this might look like! What immediately comes to mind for me though are roles in underwriting, risk management, or even as a broker/agent. These all involve relationship building, trend spotting, problem solving, and making recommendations based on the information and data available.

Comment From Priyanka, University of Guelph

Is there a way to get experience in the insurance industry part time while I am still in school?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Priyanka – Thanks for that question! The short answer to that question would be, yes! There are part time roles in insurance organizations, particularly on the sales side (Brokers or Agents) or in claims. I’d invite you to check out our list of 150+ insurance organizations on our job site to help you start to explore which ones might have part time opportunities available in your community.

TalentEgg

Wow you guys are coming up with some egg-cellent questions! Keep them coming!

TalentEgg

Mark a student at University of Waterloo
“How do I search for entry-level actuarial jobs for recent university graduates with no related employment experience?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Hi Mark! When it comes to entry level roles in the actuarial area of the business, it does not always come down to experience. In fact, more often than not, it can come down to the exams. If you have written 2 – 3 actuarial examinations, you are definitely well positioned to apply for some of the associate roles available at insurance companies across Canada! I’d also suggest that you do a LinkedIN search for actuaries who are graduates of the University of Waterloo. There is a long standing tradition there and likely a good opportunity to get connected to people who can help you better understand the process at their company and perhaps even help you network your way into opportunity!

Comment From Chris

Does a social science major student have any opportunities within the insurance industry?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Chris – Fantastic question! YES!! Social sciences are definitely degrees that equip students and new grads with skills that are in demand in the industry – critical thinking, analysis, communication skills, problem solving, and working as part of a team. The important piece of the puzzle is what YOU want to do… so, I’d invite you to explore that on our site in more detail. From there, you will start to see how your degree, your interests, and experiences you have had to date can easily translate into a variety of roles in the industry!

TalentEgg

Eva, a Mathematics/Business Administration and Computer Science student at University of Waterloo
“What kinds of full-time positions are most demanded?”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Well, the good news Eva is that many of the roles in insurance are in-demand! Why? Because up to 25,000 members of our workforce are eligible to retire by 2022. Simply because there are more of these types of professionals, need is expected to be greatest in areas like underwriting, claims, actuarial science/data analytics, and on the sales side of the business. Ultimately, what it comes down to is what you are interested in, what you are good at, and what you are looking for. Understanding these aspects of yourself will go a long way as you start to explore what area of the industry might be right for you!

TalentEgg

Chuka, a Management Economics and Finance student at University of Guelph
“what are the qualifications for an entry level position in underwriting”

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Chuka, typically, underwriting candidates will bring experience in building relationships, analysis, providing advice or making decisions, or problem solving. They are strong communicators, are curious, enjoy taking something that can be complex and making it accessible to others, detail oriented, and able to manage multiple priorities. Each company or speciality within the underwriting space may have their own perspective on the ideal candidate, but typically these are the base skills and experiences that are needed as a foundation to success in these roles.

Comment From Khang, a Business Student at the University of Toronto

What kinds of soft skills are required for entry level jobs in the insurance industry?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Khang – thanks for the question! Keep in mind that there are a wide array of roles in the industry. With this variety, comes a diverse range of skill sets needed across the industry as a whole. That said, here are a couple of key workplace critical skills that the industry is looking for in general: Strong Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Critical Thinking, Teamwork, Problem Solving and Decision Making, the Ability to Manage Multiple Priorities, and Resourcefulness.

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Khang, the trick is to understand how these skills are translated to the insurance context. This information is best obtained through exploring the roles in more detail on our website, visiting the websites of insurance companies to explore their roles and new grad programs, networking, coming to one of our insurance specific events on campus to connect with industry employers, connecting with industry professionals/alumni working in the industry, etc

TalentEgg

We’ve reached the halfway point in our chat, which means it’s time for a poll question!

Poll Question: What are you most egg-cited to learn about today?

Entry Level jobs 31%

Growth Opportunities 23%

Internships and Co-op programs 23%

Application and interview tips 23%

 

Comment From Phil

What kinds of roles in insurance do you think will be in demand in the next 20 or 30 years?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Phil – Great Question! Thanks!! Well, what is going to happen in the world around us is getting harder and harder to predict… but, here’s what research and anecdotal evidence is telling us about in-demand skills in the industry:

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Data Analytics is definitely a growing niche in our sector. Anything around building or developing technology… Insuretech if you will. Being able to solve increasingly complex problems and ensuring that everyone around you understands the nature of the issue – this might involve the ability to state things in plain language…

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

We also know that there is a strong focus on critical thinking, having an understanding of emerging trends and issues in society (e.g. cybersecurity, extreme weather, sharing economy, blockchain, etc.), and being responsive and comfortable with high degree of change.

TalentEgg

Keep the egg-cellent questions coming!

Comment From Danielle

What’s a typical career path for this industry? Does pursuing post-grad increase my chances of employment? Thank you!

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Danielle – Thanks for the question! Education is never a bad thing or a waste. And, sometimes increased specialization can give you a level of subject matter expertise that can make you a hot commodity in the job market… That being said, I would suggest that you benchmark your current education and experience to see where it positions you in the industry currently. It might be exactly where you want to ‘hatch’ your career… see what I did there TalentEgg friends?! – so, be sure to take a look at this piece before making a decision to pursue additional education. Danielle, there are also post-graduate certificate programs available in Insurance. Humber College or Fanshawe College for example offer these… Grant MacEwan in Edmonton also offers a 13 month diploma program. So, a few possibilities to explore…

Comment From Christina, Trent University

What is the most rewarding part of your job, or being in the insurance industry?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Christina – I think for me when I have the opportunity to speak with industry professionals, it is clear that what is most rewarding is being a part of an industry that is there when people need us the most. If you think about it, insurance touches virtually everything we do in life and in business. When risk becomes a reality, whether it is a vehicle accident, a flood, a fire, an issue of liability… we’re there! It is a people driven business. It is satisfying that insurance can offer peace of mind, stability, and assistance to those who need it.

TalentEgg

Be sure to follow Career Connections on Facebook and Twitter for more egg-cellent opportunities!

Comment From Derek, Marketing student at Ryerson

Are there any companies that have more of a start up culture? I’m interested in entry level opportunities but in a company that is innovative and lets students show what they can do.

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Derek – Thanks for the question! Insurance companies are becoming more innovative each and every day!! But, I hear what you are saying… the nice thing is that there are all different types of insurance organizations. They range in size from 5 – 10,000 employees. Some are small niche start-ups, where as others are a part of global entities. Some are in urban centres. While others might have offices in rural communities. Essentially, you can find an employer who is tailor made for what you are looking for. With the advent and increase of technology impacting our distribution and sales, claims, data modelling, and even underwriting… there are also bound to be innovative environments. The rise of insuretech as a part of the broader fintech space has also brought a lot of interesting opportunities into the industry…

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

I’d just caution Derek, not to rule out larger companies. Some of these companies have fantastic rotational programs, new grad trainee programs, etc. that are designed to help students show what they can do and have the opportunity to launch their career in a really great way. In the end, it is all about finding the right fit to ‘hatch’ your career!

Comment From Christoph, Studying business at UBC

Are there mentorship programs to help students advance their career in insurance? Is it easy to advance your career?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Christoph – Mentorship has both formally and informally embedded itself into the industry for many years. There are a number of insurance organizations that do offer mentorship programs to help their employees in their on-going professional development and learning. There are also organizations that offer programs that are specifically designed for new entrants into the industry – some offer accelerated learning opportunities towards earning your insurance designations (e.g. Chartered Insurance Professional – CIP), others may have rotational components, and some are focused on growing your expertise in a particular specialty or niche area of the insurance business lines. So, yes, there are a few formal programs that make it easy to advance in the early stages of your career.

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Another important thing to note, is that the majority of insurance employers invest heavily in the development and learning of their employees. Whether it is covering the costs associated with designations, offering performance incentives, helping with career planning, what have you… there is quite a bit of wanting to ensure you have all the tools needed to help you be successful in your role!


Comment From Patricia, University of Toronto

What are the benefits of working in insurance? I’ve never thought to pursue a career in this field…

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

There are so many benefits to a career in the industry! Here are my top 5… 1. Stability – the industry isn’t looking like it is going anywhere. in act, in times of economic downturn, we typically see positions being added to the workforce. 2. Variety – there is opportunity to steer your career exactly in the direction you want to go and career mobility is common/highly encouraged. 3. Challenge – the world around us is ever-evolving! The industry needs to be at the forefront of the game changing issues in society. Right now that is things like climatic change, the sharing economy, big data, cyber risk, etc. So, there is always the opportunity to learn something new! 4. Community – 120,000 Canadians work in the sector. They represent the face and values of our society. 5. Reach. Insurance touches virtually everything we do in life and in business. There are so many niche areas of the business to explore – entertainment, sports, fine art, hospital, boiler and machinery, etc… you can literally touch almost any aspect of our labour market and economy!

TalentEgg

That’s all the time we have for today! Thanks everyone for your egg-cellent questions.

TalentEgg

I think we covered a ton of ground today – hopefully you’ve all taken away some useful information about some of the awesome career opportunities in the Insurance industry!

TalentEgg

A very special thanks to our guests today – the past hour just flew by! Do you have any final advice to give our students and grads?

Comment From Trevor – Career Connections

Thanks so much everyone! We really appreciate your time, great questions, and enthusiasm! Keep the conversation going with us on Facebook, Twitter, and on our YouTube Channel… Egg-cited for you and the next steps in your career! Look forward to seeing you on campus!!

 

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