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Graduate Insurance & Pensions Jobs

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        Helping you find a career in the insurance & pensions industry

        The insurance and pensions sector is a specialised, regulated area within the UK's financial services sector. The insurance market in the UK is worth c. £40 billion per year and employs c. 300,000 people - mostly based outside of London.

        Pensions firms help organisations and individuals financially plan for their (or their employees') retirements. There are over 5000 businesses offering some form of pension financing in the UK. The pensions sector is becoming increasingly important to the UK's ageing demographics, and government policy over the last few years has created a number of opportunities and challenges within the sector.

        Insurance offers services to consumer and business clients to help them minimise financial risk, typically in the wake of an unexpected event. There are a number of different forms of insurance, with the most common consumer markets being vehicle, house and life insurance. However, there are also firms which specialise in insuring ships, planes and skyscrapers.

        While many graduate roles in insurance will be working within large insurance businesses, there are also roles available in smaller insurance brokers (which operate between an insurance business and the customer) and in high-street banks. There are also positions in the London Insurance Markets (for instance the world-famous Lloyd's of London) where insurance policies are traded on a global scale. Reinsurance is also an important market within the insurance sector - providing insurance policies for insurance firms which allows them to manage risk.

        Roles within insurance and pensions can be in:

        Underwriting (assessing what policy to offer to a client and what premiums to charge) Claims management (assessing claims made against policies) Loss adjustment (calculating losses to a policy claimant) Actuary (modelling the finances of policies and forecasting for funds) Broking (advising clients as to which policies will be most appropriate for them) Business development (attracting new clients) Product management (developing and launching new Insurance policy products) Support functions (e.g. Accountancy, HR, Marketing)

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        Skills & interests required for a career in Insurance & pensions

        The insurance and pensions sector is fast-paced and requires excellent numeracy, client-facing skills and attention to detail.

        You'll also need to have the self-discipline to work well independently and strong communication skills to explain complex insurance systems to clients. Although you may be working towards your own set targets, it's important to have a strong team spirit to help the company reach their wider goals. Communication skills will also come in handy for working well in a team environment.

        Some other skills that will benefit you include:

        Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Insurance & pensions

        Most larger insurance or pensions providers run annual two-year graduate recruitment schemes (typically the applications window is between November and January) while smaller businesses may recruit graduate staff throughout the year on an ad hoc basis.

        Most graduate schemes in insurance will specialise in specific functions, though you may also rotate across different functions to build a broad base of experience before inviting you to specialise in a particular function. There may be opportunities to travel overseas for part of the programme.

        During your graduate training programme you may be invited to study professional qualifications - for instance the Certificate in Regulated General Insurance (with the IFS School of Finance) or the Certificate in Insurance (with the Chartered Insurance Institute, known as the CII). In order to practice, actuaries will complete the Associate level with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, which will take between 3 and 6 years.

        Once you have completed your graduate scheme and have selected a specialisation, you will be able to progress your career through the organisation either by becoming a subject-matter expert (e.g. Property or Fraud) or by focusing on a particular function (e.g. Client Management or Underwriting). Your progression to more senior roles may involve managing teams or larger clients.

        Tips for getting into the field

        Arrange a meeting with your university's careers department to discuss your interest in working in the insurance and pensions sector.

        Many larger firms will offer summer internship programmes which, although they are not essential, can be very helpful in both giving you experience of the insurance and pensions sector, as well as potentially leading to a permanent job once you graduate.

        How much can graduates earn in Insurance & pensions?

        Salaries for those joining on a graduate recruitment scheme in the insurance industry are typically between £22,000 and £30,000 per annum. If you join in a trainee role which isn't part of the graduate programme your starting salary will likely be between £18,000 and £25,000.

        Once you complete the graduate programme and begin to work your way up through a business, you can typically expect a salary between £30,000 and £45/50,000. Opportunities to continue growing your salary exist through taking more senior management roles.

        What qualifications do I need for a career in Insurance & pensions?

        While most insurance or pension providers do not insist that you complete an undergraduate degree in a particular subject, degrees in Finance/Business/Economics/Maths can be particularly advantageous to securing you a graduate position. Often you will need to secure a 2:1 or above, though some schemes will accept applicants with 2:2s.

        Read more about the Insurance & pensions industry

        Chartered Insurance Institute
        Institute and Faculty of Actuaries