Career as an insurance broker
Andrew Turner is an account executive, specialising in professional risks.
Describe your career as an insurance broker?
My job is to talk to commercial clients, highlighting their risks and the type of insurance protection they need. This involves negotiating premiums with the insurance underwriters. I try to educate clients about risks and safety, assess where their exposures lie, and use my expertise to secure the widest possible cover. I won't sell insurance if they don't need it, as cover is very expensive.
Is there a strong focus on sales in your career as an insurance broker?
People assume there is constant pressure and targets, but I am looking to develop long-term relationships. It's more about service than sales.We are strictly regulated by the Financial Services Authority and clients need to trust us. Once insured, I don't abandon clients until the next renewal date; I build on relationships and help out if there is a claim. Continuity of cover is very important.
How much of your time is spent networking?
Corporate entertainment is a big factor in insurance. Generally, it's easier to talk to underwriters and clients in a relaxed environment.
How do you approach insurers?
Companies each produce a 'risk appetite sheet' and this enables us to see what they like and don't like before we contact them. I also make a habit of calling an underwriter before preparing what could be up to a 50-page submission document. There's no point wasting their time reading a submission if it's not something they will want to be involved in.
Do you work alone?
In some ways yes, but I'm part of a large and expanding team of specialists.We frequently work together to achieve goals and we all share ideas, which is good for business growth and for the clients. Other account executives frequently feed me professional leads, so we can deliver a complete package.
Do you travel outside of London much?
I go anywhere the client takes me, but mainly it's within London or the Home Counties. The business is expanding rapidly at the moment and the appointment of a new account handler should allow me more time to focus on pursuing contacts. I anticipate spending 30 per cent of my time out and about, forming new business deals.
What do you enjoy most about your career as an insurance broker?
The buzz of dealing with people is the best part. My pub experience was certainly good training for talking to customers!
What is the work/life balance like?
The job and networking can have an impact on family life. You need to balance the two very carefully. My core hours are 9am to 5pm, but with commuting, I leave home before 7am and rarely get in until after 7pm. Examinations can disrupt free time further. I can occasionally work from home and manage my own time, providing the client never suffers.
Andrew's route to his career as an insurance broker
- A levels.
- NVQ Levels 1 and 2 at catering college.
- Various catering jobs in pubs and theme venues.
- Motor insurance tele-sales marketer.
- High Street insurance broker.
- Commercial specialist broker.
- Professional risks insurance executive.
Andrew's insurance broker tips
- Get into the business early and work up through the levels to gain experience.
- Make lots of contacts and maintain them.
- Have fun and enjoy the job. There's no point in working in this industry if you don't like it.
Insurance broker related jobs
- Financial consultant/adviser
- Insurance broker consultant
- Insurance technician
- Insurance underwriter
- Pensions adviser/manager
- Sales manager
Salary of an insurance broker
- Starting salaries range from £10,000 to £22,000, rising to £40,000 with experience.
- Senior specialists dealing with commercial accounts can command salaries of more than £65,000.
Career as an insurance broker
- Many employers prefer candidates with A levels/H grades, or the equivalent. Personal characteristics, especially communication skills and confidence, are considered important.
- Training is usually on the job, working under the supervision of a senior broker or team leader. Brokers are encouraged to study for Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) examinations part time. There are clear progression routes via the Award, Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Insurance.
- Industry competition means that experienced insurance brokers are in high demand. Opportunities are good for those who specialise.
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