Top 7 Skills You Need To Get Into Insurance

If you’re considering a career in insurance or if you’ve made your decision and want to increase your chances, take a look at these seven skills you need to succeed in the sector. If you can develop them, you’re well on the way to landing the role you want.

Need more advice? Check out our article on Recognising & Developing Your Skills.

What skills do you need to get into Insurance… and how can you demonstrate them during the application process?

1. Customer service

Whether as a broker, claims manager, loss adjuster or underwriter, you’ll be negotiating with clients or on their behalf – and the key to your success is providing excellent customer service. While actuaries have less direct customer contact, these same skills will help you interact with your colleagues.

Gathering examples

If you have a part time job in a customer service role, such as retail or working on a customer helpline, ask your boss for feedback. Also make a note of any time you feel you offered excellent service.

Volunteer to help on campus tours for prospective students. Put in extra effort to research the information they’re likely to need.

During the application process

Smile at your interviewer and use open, friendly body language.

Come prepared and informed about the industry.

Show your ability to connect with people. Find common ground with your interviewer or ask what they like about working at the company.

2. Numeracy

Some insurance roles are more mathematically demanding than others. Actuaries work with statistics and computer modelling, while claims handlers just need to be comfortable with numbers.

Gathering examples

Luckily, you use numeracy all the time in daily life. For students, the big one is budgeting food, rent and bills, especially if these are split with other housemates.

You can also volunteer as a treasurer of a club or society.

During the application process

Don’t be afraid to use prosaic examples on your CV or at interview. If you can explain your successful budgeting techniques, that’s plenty.

If you’re faced with a numerical question, take a deep breath and think through how to approach it before you dive in.

3. Organisation

Because you’re likely to be dealing with a large number of customers or clients, it’s important that you keep organised, accurate records.

Gathering examples

Everyday examples of organisation often involve technology. Think about the apps you use to keep yourself organised. How did you select them and what do they allow you to do?

Take on managerial responsibilities at a job, such as setting up shift rotas or allocating tasks.

Get involved in organising an event for a student society.

During the application process

Don’t be afraid to think aloud. When you’re asked to solve a problem at interview, explain your thought processes. Even if your answer isn’t perfect, your interviewer can see your methodical approach.

4. Problem-solving

In any insurance role, you’ll come across problems that need a creative solution. As a broker, you might have to find cover for a client with unusual insurance needs. As an actuary, you could be faced with calculating a new and unpredictable risk.

Gathering examples

You solve problems all the time in your everyday life. Think about times when you’ve hit a snag – maybe a funding shortfall for a trip, a member of a project group who called in sick at the last minute or two staff members at your job who wouldn’t stop arguing. What did you do to fix it?

The more you try to do, the more problems you’ll run across! Get involved in anything where you have to take on responsibility. Problem-solving examples are guaranteed.

During the application process

At some interviews you’ll be given tasks and problems to solve and be watched as you work. Don’t let it fluster you. Think carefully, take your time and be creative.

5. Attention to detail

As with any job involving payments and calculations, attention to detail is vital. The ability to pick up on little errors can save you from a disaster caused by a misplaced decimal point.

Gathering examples

Science students have it easy here – experimental techniques and computer programming require attention to detail and give evidence of your success.

Take on tasks such as proofreading for the college newspaper or keeping records for a student society.

During the application process

Proofread your application thoroughly – weed out every tiny spelling or punctuation error.

When your interviewer asks you a question, make sure you’re clear what you need to do. If you’re not, ask for more detail.

6. Analytical skills

Analysing information is an important part of insurance, whether you’re looking at the risks a client faces or analysing different insurance options to find the best policy for your customer.

Gathering examples

If you’re a business student, social scientist or statistician you should have experience analysing statistical data. Look back on challenging assignments and describe how you succeeded.

Analysis doesn’t have to include numbers. Any essay where you analyse the evidence to choose and support a conclusion is a valid example for your CV.

Volunteer for tasks where a decision needs to be made based on evidence – for example, choosing a venue for an event based on factors like location, suitability and price. 

During the application process

You may need to do online tests to demonstrate your analytical skills. Find sample tests online and in careers advice books to help you understand the types of question you might face.

7. Communication

When you work in insurance, you’re the expert – your clients and customers know much less about the topic. You need to be a strong communicator to get key information across in a simple, jargon-free way.

Gathering examples

Telephone jobs, such as calling alumni for donations or volunteering for a peer support line, develop your verbal communication skills and grow your confidence. 

Join a debating society, a student council or even an improv group.

Join a student magazine or take responsibility for a society website. Successfully advertising an event online is a great example of your written skills.

During the application process

Don’t rush your application questions. Make sure your answers are clear and well-structured. The same goes for your CV. Use the STAR method – Situation, Task, Activity, Result.

In your interview, speak clearly and confidently and connect with your interviewer through open, relaxed body language and eye contact.

And finally…

Remember that you have to work your way up through the company. As with any business role, in your first year or two you’ll need patience and determination while you progress. 

Next: Are You Right for a Role in Risk Management?