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What you need to know about insurance

The most noted advocate of the modern insurance policy would be Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. His quote describes its noble aim: “If I had my way, I would write the word ‘insure’ upon the door of every cottage and upon the blotting book of every public man, because I am convinced, for sacrifices so small, families and estates can be protected against catastrophes which would otherwise smash them up forever,"

"It is the duty to arrest the ghastly waste, not merely of human happiness, but national health and strength, which follows when, through the death of the breadwinner, the frail boat in which the family are embarked, founders and the women and children and the estates are left to struggle in the dark waters of a friendless world.”

In historic terms, the concept of insurance is almost simultaneous with the advent of human society. One primitive form of it was in the banding of clans to ensure safety and in the event of a breadwinner’s death, elder members of a family are expected to take over.

In fact, the practice of risk distribution can be traced back to the third and second millennia when the Chinese and Babylonian traders would distribute wares and pay lenders additional sums of money for shipping loans in exchange for guarantees that repayments would be exempt in the event that shipments were stolen or lost at sea. Today, the scope has widened considerably.

Types of insurance can extend from the very common like auto, accident, fires, life and health to cushion against career adversaries like unemployment. In a nutshell, insurance companies may be classified into two groups: life insurance companies, which sell life insurance, annuities and pensions products and non-life like general or property, and casualty insurance companies, which sell other types of insurance.

It is unfortunate that over the years, the insurance industry has been tarred by a negative brush. Insurance agents were accused of using scare tactics to coerce people to sign up for policies and the more conservative society regarded them as harbingers of doom for touching on taboo subjects like death and accidents.

Nevertheless, the opportunities available in this industry are manifold. In an insurance company, there are easily about 10 main job families, both in the technical and functional areas. The technical areas would be actuarial, investment, underwriting and claims.

New job families that are attracting specialists are in the area of compliance and risk management. Therefore, there is a constant lookout for candidates in business development, investment, compliance, training, risk management, IT, marketing and operations.

Soft skills such as ability to articulate thoughts, adapt, multi task, make decisions, persevere and work in a team are a boon. Fresh graduates with majors in actuarial science, biomedicine, accounting and finance, risk management, law, business administration, statistics, mathematics and economics are commonly sought after by insurance companies. Engineering degrees are also popular choices by general insurers.

SHOW WHAT YOU ARE MADE OF The criterion to succeeding in this industry is no different from any other vocation. Analytical ability, influencing skills, resourcefulness, multitasking ability and adaptability are some of the ingredients for success. A good tertiary education, great communication skills plus innovation will make you stand out above the rest. Also, being able to work smart will be key to your success.

Graduates must be prepared to embark on a journey of life-long learning to gain indepth knowledge of the business. There must always be an awareness that change is the only constant in any industry, and it is very important to know what consumers need today to protect herself and her family’s future for tomorrow.

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

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