CAREERS IN GENERAL INSURANCE

MAIN PROFESSIONS IN THE GENERAL INSURANCE INDUSTRY

The insurance industry has a wide range of job opportunities for those who want to make insurance their career. There are lots of scope and opportunities for new entrants to the industry to use their skills, knowledge and intellectual and creative abilities, to achieve job satisfaction and career development. At the same time, working in the insurance industry will provide opportunities for people to find fulfilment in helping others through the benefits that insurance services bring to individuals, businesses and society as a whole.
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An employee of an insurance company will have the opportunity to work in the following common divisions within an insurance company:

MARKETING

Marketing involves looking into the insurance needs of clients for which market research may have to be done from time to time. As insurance is a service which is more often sold than bought, insurers require a strong and effective marketing force. Personnel in this department must understand and have an affinity to meeting and satisfying the demands of the customers. As customers become more demanding and sophisticated in their insurance needs, so too, the marketing personnel must be able to adapt to the changing

A marketing officer may also have to supervise and motivate the agency force of the insurance company. He or she will be required to provide them assistance, guidance and training and ensure that they achieve their business targets, and provide efficient after-sales services to the clients.

UNDERWRITING

The underwriter’s job is to assess the risks involved in the insurance proposals made to the company and decide whether to accept or reject the proposal. If the underwriter decides to accept the proposal, he also decides on the terms and conditions of the insurance contract depending on the degree of the risk. He may decide to pass on a part of the risk to another insurer. This is known as reinsurance.

As an insurance company is required to insure many different types of risks, one can imagine that the underwriter must have a multitude of skills and knowledge in order to understand the risks before he can decide on how to insure the risks. In the past, it was possible for a handful of  underwriters to serve all the needs of an insurance company. However, in today’s complex world, the role of an underwriter has become even more diverse and essential for an insurance company. There are also many specialist underwriters who are experts in certain fields and classes of insurance only e.g. in insurance of space-crafts, aviation or oil and gas platforms, etc. This is because some risks are so large and complex that only specialist underwriters have mastered the job.

REINSURANCE

Reinsurance is an insurance bought by the insurers. Handling reinsurance is a specialized job. In many insurance companies reinsurance is handled by a separate department. The reinsurance manager has to plan the reinsurance program of the company, negotiate the terms of the reinsurance contract with the reinsurers and supervise the administration and accounting of the
reinsurance.

A person specializing in reinsurance work has job opportunities in specialized reinsurance companies too. In Malaysia there are six general reinsurance companies but because reinsurance is such a global business, there is demand for good reinsurers from all corners of the world.

CLAIMS

A claims manager’s job is to process and settle the claims made on the insurance company under insurance contracts. Before settling the claims,
he/she ensures that:

a) the loss has taken place
b) the loss is covered under the terms of the insurance policy

To do this, he/she needs enough knowledge and evidence of the causes that led to the loss and the extent of the loss. In view that the world today is so complex and the types of insurable losses so numerous, the need for skilled and knowledgeable people with integrity and professionalism has become a vital part of any claims department.

INVESTMENT

After collecting the premiums, the insurers make use of the premiums to make payments towards commissions, administrative expenses and claims but there is a difference in time between receipt of the premiums and payments to be made. During this time lag the insurers are in possession of large sums which they invest carefully keeping in view the security of the investment as well as the income on their investments. The investment department’s personnel have to use their expertise to achieve a balance between secure investment and high returns.

The investment manager also has to ensure that the company is financially strong so that the company is able to settle all claims. The investments are spread out in government securities, shares and debentures of companies, fixed deposits with banks and finance companies, investment in land and buildings, etc.

There are times when the insurers may not make much profit from the underwriting (i.e. the surplus of premiums over commissions, administrative expenses and claims). Sometimes they may even suffer underwriting loss.

But they may earn enough income from investment which may outweigh the loss suffered in underwriting. Therefore, investment by an insurance company is of considerable importance.

ACCOUNTING

The accountant’s job in an insurance company is to record all business transactions according to the principles and practice of accounting followed in the insurance industry, with the object of showing the results of the business (profit or loss) and also to show the true financial position (assets and liabilities) of the company. The accounting must be in compliance with various laws such as the Companies Act, Income Tax Act, Financial Services Act 2013 etc.

The accountant needs to be qualified and must have experienced in this specialized field. Almost all, insurance companies use computers for their accounting and therefore most personnel in the accounting division are required to possess sufficient and good working knowledge of computer operations in relation to accounting.

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Computers are widely used in the insurance industry not only for accounting and policy production but also for obtaining and collating all information required by the management. Most management decisions are based on the data or information obtained through computers. The efficiency of the management of an insurance company depends to a large extent on how effectively the computer is programmed bearing in mind the needs of the management. The person in-charge of computing must possess sufficient knowledge and skills required for programming and be fully aware of the needs of the company. This is a specialized field and only persons qualified in computer programming are employed.

HUMAN RESOURCE/HUMAN CAPITAL & TALENT

Human resource management is one of the important branches of management in an insurance company. This includes manpower/human capital planning, selection of the right persons for employment in the company, their training, placement, salary, administration, promotions, transfers, disciplinary actions, employee counselling and other aspects of human resource management.

The human resource/human capital manager must be highly skilled in human relations. He/She should know how to solve workers’ problems and get the best out of them in order to benefit the company and also the employees through job satisfaction, etc.

The human resource/human capital manager must possess adequate knowledge of the laws concerning employment of persons.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

This job may involve administration of office operations such as printing and stationery, building administration, furniture and fixtures, compliance with local municipal laws and rules, fire department rules, etc.

COMMUNICATIONS

The mission of the Communications Department is to manage relationships and create, develop, and communicate messages in ways that advance company brand and reputation and help drive business results. The broader department is comprised of:

Strategic Communications

This area of Public Affairs provides communication consulting, strategy, online communications, as well as speech support. Through collaboration with other communication efforts throughout the company, Strategic Communications informs, educates, and motivates employees and agents.

Public Relations

The Public Relations team works closely with other departments to proactively secure earned and owned media coverage for the company. Their goal is to build the company brand and drive sales by getting media interested in the many positive things the company does.

Digital Media

The Digital Media area monitors and response to online mentions of the company across all social assets and collaborates with other departments to recommend social media direction for the company.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN GENERAL INSURANCE AGENCIES

The job of an insurance agent is to act on behalf of an insurance company to acquire insurance business from the customers or prospective customers of the insurance company.

Insurance agents can act on behalf of not more than two general insurance companies at a time. To be a general insurance agent, one must sit for and pass the Pre-Contract Examination for Insurance Agents (PCEIA), Part A & Part B. The examination is conducted by The Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII). The PCEIA assures that any person who becomes an insurance agent has the necessary basic knowledge to promote and sell insurance to the general public on behalf of the insurance company which they represent.

After passing this examination, the general agent will have to register himself/herself with the Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) before he can transact any insurance business. Upon registration by PIAM, general insurance agents are required to comply with a set of rules known as the General Insurance Agents Registration Regulations (GIARR) and a code of ethics for general insurance agents.

An insurance agency can be operated either on a part-time basis or on a full-time basis. However, in today’s highly competitive environment, more and more agents have become professionals who operate their agency business on a full time basis. This enable them to concentrate on the business and provide the best services to their customers. Traditionally, insurance agents are paid by the insurance companies they work for by way of commissions on sales.

TRAINING AND QUALIFICATIONS IN THE GENERAL INSURANCE INDUSTRY

Training is normally provided by the companies and new entrants to the insurance industry can obtain professional qualifications through the examinations of either The Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) or other recognized institutions.

The Malaysian Insurance Institute,
No 5, Jalan Sri Semantan 1,
Damansara Heights,
50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Telephone: +603 2087 8882/3
Fax: +603 2093 7885
Email: customercare@mii.org.my
Web: www.insurance.com.my