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In-Depth Jobs

Voloume-51, 23 - 29 March, 2019

Careers in Insurance Industry

Vijay Prakash Srivastava

Sometime back in these pages of Employment News there was an article about careers in Actuarial science. In fact  being qualified as an actuary,  one is most likely to enter into  insurance profession. However there are many more opportunities and roles available in  the insurance industry and this article is a humble attempt  to explore the same.

Zindagi Ke sath bhi, Zindagi ke bad bhi (जिंदगी के साथ भी, जिंदगी के बाद भी) you might have come across these lines in  the advertisement of an insurance company. Benefits of Insurance may be  available to a person in life, and if situation changes the benefits are  available to immediate family.

Insurance has a direct correlation with risk, perceived risk to be precise. Risk which is considered to be an integral part of life and business, is defined as a probability or unexpected threat that may result  in injury to or death of a person or damage to or loss of a property. Whenever an untoward incident like loss of  a life takes place. The family may be affected in many ways. There are emotional upheavals and the family may have lost the comfort of a regular income, needed to support the family, which was earned by  the deceased person. Similarly, when a person is injured resulting in temporary or permanent disability, the financial loss, likely to occur, could be on account of  medical expenditure and loss of earning due to disability. When it comes to property, movable or unmovable ,the financial loss can be assumed  in terms of money required  to repair, rebuild  the asset  or buying  a new one.

In all the above cases insurance is a big support and this supporting role  encourages people to take insurance policies. Insurance is defined as a special contract between the insurance company, called insurer and the person or entity, known as insured/client , opting for the insurance. Insurance is a mechanism by which the affected party is able to get a compensation for the financial loss suffered by her as a result of unexpected or unforeseen incidents. Under  an agreement of insurance, the client is required to pay insurance  fee/charges to the insurance company. This  fee/ charge in the insurance vocabulary is known as premium which can be one time  or periodical payment depending  upon the terms and conditions of insurance undertaken. In lieu of this premium the insurance company agrees to make certain payment to the client or bear the costs of a client in case of an unforeseen event, defined in the policy.

Insurance, in fact, is a model of sharing of risks and financial losses. Losses of few people are divided among large number of people. So all of  those who have bought insurance  would share the loss of few who have  actually incurred the loss.

Insurance Business in India

Compared with global standards, reach of insurance is considered to be low in our country. However more and more people are now realising the importance  of insurance for self and family. Many organizations also  offer insurance coverage to their employees. Demographic factors like growing middle class , young insurable population, organizational initiatives and  government participation are driving the insurance penetration and as per trends  the  overall insurance industry is to reach US $ 280 by 2020.

Types of Insurance

Insurance has broadly two segments-Life insurance and  non-life insurance which is also termed as general insurance . Life insurance provides  coverage to the  life of individuals. Life Insurance Corporation of India, incorporated in 1956,is the only government company in this sector. It has about 115  Divisional and 3700 other offices in the country.

 Under general insurance the major categories are

Health Insurance

Travel Insurance

Motor/Vehicle Insurance

Household Insurance

Fire Insurance

Marine Insurance

Crop Insurance

Insurance is also provided for export, engineering goods etc.

The following are non-life insurance companies promoted by the Government of India

National Insurance Corporation Limited

New India Assurance Company Limited

General Insurance Corporation of India

United India Insurance Company Limited

All the  above five companies advertise   for requirement of manpower in the following positions:

Assistant Administrative Office (AAO): This is a position similar to   that of probationary officer in public sector banks. While for all public sector banks the vacancies are pooled and a common selection test is held, AAOs are recruited by individual insurance companies as per the employment notice issued by them.

Graduates from all disciplines are eligible to apply for the position of AAO. The selection process is divided into three stages, first being  the preliminary examination. Containing questions of reasoning ability, quantitative aptitude, English language (grammar, vocabulary, comprehension).

Merit list for interview is prepared based on score in main examination only.

Assistant: The position of Assistant is a clerical position and usually vacancies for them are more than that of AAOs. Here also all graduates are eligible. While AAOs are selected on all India basis and can be posted anywhere within the country, applicants for assistants' positions have to  indicate the state/union territory for which they are applying. Upon selection they get their posting accordingly.

Assistants who perform well  may get promoted to officers cadre after putting in required number of years, subject to available vacancies.

Specialist positions: There are many  specialists position in insurance companies though its number is much less when compared with generalists positions. Since specific qualifications are required there are lesser applicants and the competition takes place accordingly. The following are the most common specialists positions in insurance companies:

Actuary: Graduates who have passed the required papers in the examination conducted by Institute of Actuaries of India/Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, United Kingdom  are eligible to apply for this position.

Law officer:  A degree in law and being registered for practicing law, by Bar Council of India is the common requirement for the position of Law officer in insurance companies. You should have pursued Law  either after your graduation or 5 years integrated course  after 12th.

Information technology officer: Insurance companies are adopting Information Technology in a big way and to strengthen their related infrastructure need Information technology officers. To apply the candidate should at least be a graduate in Engineering in Information Technology/ Computer Science  or Electronics. Those qualified as Master of Computer Applications (MCA) or Master of Computer  Science (M.Sc. Computer  Science) are also considered eligible.

Human Resources officer: A postgraduate Degree or Diploma in Management with specialization in Human Resources  or a similar qualification is required for this position. In some cases candidates with  Master of Social Work are also considered eligible.

Official Language officer: All central government departments and public sector undertakings need to have Official Language officers as prescribed in relevant acts/rules. This is applicable for the above insurance companies also. Postgraduates in English/Hindi with Hindi/English at graduation level are considered. Sometimes postgraduates in Sanskrit with English and Hindi at graduation level are also allowed to apply. Some experience/certificate in translation may be required/an advantage.

Specialist vacancies also exist in finance function for which qualifications like MBA (Finance), Chartered accountancy are considered. For specialists positions candidate has to appear in an additional test of professional/ subject knowledge. For example  the one who has applied for the position of HR officer will have to appear in the test of Human Resource Management. 

Jobs in private sector Insurance companies: There are more than    50 private  companies in life and non-life insurance business. These companies  generally don't follow a single or standardized model for recruitment as government insurance companies. Sometimes these private companies  go for campus placement for students of insurance related courses and for specialised positions in actuarial science, marketing, law,  finance etc. Opportunities can be checked with their websites.

Working as an Insurance Agent: Insurance is a matter of solicitation and most of the insurance policies are mobilised through agents identified/ accredited by insurance companies. Those who are at least matriculate (10th pass) and over 18 years of age  may opt to become an insurance agent after obtaining the required certification. In many cases the insurance company arrange classroom training for agency aspirants after which the candidate has to appear in the certification test prescribed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). The other option is to attend the online course, pass the certification examination and then apply for agency .The certification has to be renewed after prescribed intervals for which one is required to attend refresher training and then pass the required test.

Courses related to Insurance: At few institutes you may find an undergraduate  course like B.Com. (Insurance) or BBA (Insurance). At postgraduate level you have the opportunity to pursue a management course (MBA/Postgraduate Diploma in Management) with insurance. National Law University has MBA in Insurance & Risk Management. Banaras Hindu University has a similar course. BIMTECH, Noida offers PGDM in Insurance Business Management. Aligarh Muslim University has a PG Diploma in Banking, Risk & Insurance Management. These are just few (indicative) examples.

Institute of Insurance & Risk Management  is joint initiative of IRDAI and Government of Telangana. It conducts courses like PG Diploma in Management, PG Diploma in Investment & Risk Management,PG Diploma in Actuarial Science, PG Diploma in Analytics & Actuarial Science.

Insurance Institute of India: Insurance Institute of India(III) at Mumbai is the pioneer in continuing  insurance education in the country. It conducts  courses like PG Diploma in Health Insurance, PG Diploma in Insurance Marketing, International Certification in Life & General Insurance, Executive Diploma in Insurance Management, Certificate in Compliance, Governance & Risk Management in Insurance, Certified Insurance Anti-Fraud Professional (jointly with North American Training Group, USA). III also offers online training for licensing of insurance agents/brokers.

National Insurance Academy at Pune offers Postgraduate Diploma in Management with emphasis on Insurance. Brokers online learning course is also  available with the academy.

Role of IRDAI: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI),headquartered at Hyderabad,  is the regulator of insurance business in the country. It plays the same role as RBI for banks and SEBI for stock markets.IRDAI also has opening for insurance professionals, usually at senior level and for experienced candidates. Working here is considered to be highly prestigious.

One may also get associated with insurance industry as a loss surveyor or loss assessor by obtaining required certification from a body recognised by IRDAI. Job opportunities also exist in specialised agencies like Agriculture Insurance Corporation of India and Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation.

(The author is a career counsellor based in Mumbai Email: v2j25@yahoo.in)

Views expressed are personal.