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Insurance Broker

Insurance-BrokerAs an insurance broker or agent, you would act as the link between insurance companies and customers. You would use your knowledge of the insurance market to find the best level of insurance cover at the best price for your customers.
You need to be a confident communicator, and a good negotiator. If you enjoy working with figures, have good report writing skills and are interested in financial services, then this job could suit you well.
To get into this job at trainee level, skills in maths and English are important, and you will also usually need Class XII passed certificate. If you have a degree in a relevant subject, you may be able to get onto a graduate training.

Work activities
As an insurance broker you would work in retail insurance or commercial insurance. In retail insurance you would find general cover for individuals or companies in areas of insurance like:

  • Motor
  • Home
  • Pet or travel cover for individuals
  • Property damage
  • Business interruption for companies.
  • In commercial insurance you'd deal with more complex, high value requests in the areas, such as:
  • Marine
  • Aviation
  • Oil and gas
  • Financial.

Commercial insurance also covers unusual requests, for instance insuring sportspeople and celebrities.

In your work you would typically:

  • Gather information from clients to look at their insurance needs and assess their risks
  • Research policies from insurance companies to compare features, level of cover and price
  • Arrange insurance cover for clients, and submit the details to insurers
  • Negotiate the best policy terms with insurers
  • Renew or change existing policies
  • Make sure that the insurance cover and paperwork you provide meets legal requirements
  • Collect insurance premiums and process accounts
  • Advise customers who are making a claim on their insurance policy
  • Keep detailed records using it systems
  • Issue documentation
  • Prepare reports for insurance underwriters and surveyors in complex cases.

You would offer products from more than one insurance provider, so your advice must be impartial.

Working hours and conditions
You would typically work standard office hours Monday to Friday. Some brokers open on Saturdays. Part-time work is also possible.
You would be mainly office-based, contacting clients over the telephone and by email, although in some jobs you may travel locally to visit client companies.
If you work for a company with overseas business, you may occasionally travel abroad.

Entry requirements
Employers usually prefer to take on trainees with a minimum of Class XII passed from any stream. You are required to pass an exam prescribed by the IRDA
You would usually start out in this role as an:

  • Insurance agent - advice people on which policy is the most suitable for a particular person dealing the terms and conditions of that policy. An agent is normally the first person to be contacted after an accident, fire or injury.
  • Assistant Administrative Officer (AAO) - deal with market and procure business, promote policies and getting contracts.

You would work your way up to broker as you gain experience and insurance industry qualifications.

If you have a bachelor's degree, you can become Administrative Officer. It is a class I officer. He/she is recruited on the basis of entrance exam conducted by Life Insurance of India or General Insurance Corporation or through promotion after three years from AAO. Next, you can become a Development officer (DO) which is a class II Officer. To be eligible for this post, you must be a graduate from a recognized University and between 21 and 26 years of age. After selection, you are required to serve as an Apprentice for a period of one year. Click Life Insurance of India (www.lic) and General Insurance Corporation for eligibility and recruitment procedure.

For colleges offering undergraduate course in Insurance, you may click www.lamton.org/universitie

Most degree subjects are accepted, but a business or maths degree (50% and above) may give you an advantage, as there is often a lot of competition for graduate training programmes. You will also find it useful to have experience in office work, sales or financial customer service.

Skills, interests and qualities
As an insurance broker you need:

  • Excellent spoken and written communication skills
  • Confident negotiating skills
  • Honesty and a fair and consistent approach to your work
  • An organised, methodical approach
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Report writing skills
  • The ability to gather and analyse information
  • Up to date knowledge about insurance and financial markets
  • Administration and computer skills.