Even though insurance is all around you, you may not know very much about the people who work in the industry. Within the insurance sector, you’ll find professionals involved in virtually every area of South African life, including business, government, entertainment and recreation. They work in offices, but also in the field as marketers, claims agents, expert appraisers and forensic investigators.

The insurance industry is one of the largest contributors to our economy with a diverse range of employers, ranging from small to very large companies. The bottom line for your career? Insurance has a multitude of career opportunities in a variety of settings. No matter what your interests or ambitions, the industry offers a world of possibilities.

When picking a career, ask yourself: what are you looking for in a career? Earning potential? Security? Having the chance to face a new and different challenge every day? Whatever you’ve learned in school and in life, you’ll have the chance to use it in the insurance industry. To sustain this industry at its current level requires around 3000 new recruits every year, and you could be one of them. Gifted at math? You could thrive as an actuary. A people person? Brokers work with clients to create a strategy to protect their assets. Good at listening? As a claims professional, you’ll help people who are coping with an accident, fire or theft. Strategic thinker? You could work as an underwriter and develop the products that keep people protected from unforeseen loss.

Insurance companies, aside from being fun, are also among the biggest supporters of various charity projects. So if you are looking for a job in an industry that gives back to the country and makes a difference in people’s lives, then those are other excellent reasons to choose insurance.

Now that you are aware of the possibilities of a career in insurance, the next step is to decide which area would best suit you and where you would be happiest. These decisions are largely dependent on your personality, talents, capabilities and any qualifications you may already have or are willing to get.

We can divide employment opportunities into four main categories:

  • Professionals (including actuaries, underwriters, senior financial staff and other specialists, such as IT);
  • Managers (employees in various positions will report to them);
  • Clerical and administrative workers (employees working under managers);
  • Sales personnel (including all individuals who advise and sell insurance products and services).

Skills and qualifications are needed in these areas, which means there is great opportunity for you, especially in the ‘professionals’ area. Put your mind to it and you can achieve anything. Now let’s look at the categories in a little more detail to give you a better idea of where you might fit in best.