Earlier this year, I was honored to serve as an industry “mentor” at a lively speed mentoring event for aspiring leaders, hosted by the Insurance Institute of Canada, Greater Toronto Area Chapter. As each mentor presented their personal career journey to the attendees, I noticed that an interesting pattern began to appear.
Although the specifics of our backgrounds were different, one aspect was the same – our career path was more like climbing a jungle gym than moving straight up a ladder. When it was my turn to speak, I echoed the same theme as the other mentors. I fell into insurance without planning for it, and a non-traditional career journey within the industry has taken me from a trainee in commercial insurance through niche markets and an incredible training program to build technical expertise, all the way to my current role as Vice President of Human Resources for CNA Canada.
As many organizations become “flatter,” there are more opportunities to move laterally and expand your skills and responsibilities – and that is certainly true of CNA and the insurance industry. There are so many roles and specialized units within each organization, I often recommend exploring multiple areas to develop a wide-ranging professional skill set.
I believe the insurance industry provides the perfect environment to use a wide variety of skills, do meaningful work that makes a difference, and develop knowledge and leadership roles that advance your career. Here are four reasons why the insurance industry is a great option for almost any professional:
1. There's a job for your skills and interests – whatever they are.
From underwriter to data scientist to claims adjuster, there are jobs for many different skill sets and opportunities that go far beyond the traditional agent and broker roles. Do you have a degree in social science or a background in nursing? You might make an ideal claims professional. Wearing different hats as a marketer, problem-solver and analyst makes underwriting exciting and appeals to those who enjoy continuous learning. Working as an adjuster, appraiser, examiner or investigator taps into communication, empathy and deductive reasoning skills. And if you’re in engineering, you could transfer your creativity, problem-solving and design skills to work in risk control or as a risk manager in outside industries such as the public sector, technology, healthcare, retail, hospitality or gaming.
2. Industry changes are creating significant growth opportunities.
The insurance industry will be hiring thousands of positions in the next few years due to the demographic shift in our industry. As current managers retire, there will be opportunities for future leaders – talented professionals who will need to find new ways of operating, making strategic decisions, and fostering an inclusive, adaptable culture.
This is a top priority and CNA is committed to ensuring employees’ professional development, whether it's through on-the-job learning, defined courses, self-study or educational reimbursement. We want to continue to engage our talent and create enterprise leaders who can work in any part of the business.
3. The work is flexible, exciting and rewarding.
There's no "typical day" for insurance professionals. Whether it's a new client or business risk, each day will bring its own challenges for you to solve. It’s likely your insurance job won't entail sitting behind a desk 24/7. Insurance is a relationship business and depending on your position, in any one week you could be out in the field, doing a marketing presentation, meeting with clients, taking part in training, analyzing a risk or collaborating with colleagues.
Wherever they work, insurance professionals have high job satisfaction and engagement with the industry, according to the most recent Insurance Institute data:
- 97% believe they contribute to their company’s success
- 94% are proud to work in the insurance industry
- 90% see a clear link between their work and the company’s goals
- Over 80% are excited by their work
4. You'll help make a difference for the common good.
Insurance is driven by service and is there for people in some of the most difficult moments of their lives. You will play a role in helping others restore their property or business when catastrophe strikes. Within Canada, the Fort McMurray fire in 2016, according to a media release by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, generated over $5 billion in damages. Insurance companies continue to remain committed to helping those who suffered a loss rebuild and getting the resources they need.
The property & casualty insurance industry is also driven by charity, donating more than $560 million annually, with an emphasis on education, health, and social services and community, according to a report by the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation and McKinsey and Co. For example, WICC (Women Insurance Cancer Crusade) has raised over $17 million for cancer research and education by holding collaborative events that bring together the insurance industry and its supporters in Canada.
Insurance is everywhere, and the industry is large enough to have a place for people with all types of skills and backgrounds. I love speaking with new professionals about how CNA can help them reach their career goals, and look forward to watching the next generation of leaders drive our business forward in a constantly changing world.
To explore opportunities at CNA Canada, visit our Careers page and follow our conversation on LinkedIn.
A blog created for Canada. Reference: Aguinaga L. (2017 Feb 1). 10 Reasons Why an Insurance Career is Great for Millennials. [Blog Post].