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The insurance industry is one of the fastest growing industries in Canada. That’s why it should come as no surprise why this industry is sparking the interest of so many new grads.

The insurance industry offers a plethora of careers. From underwriters to advisors and everything in-between, the insurance industry has the right spot for almost anyone. We took the time to speak with insurance recruiters to find out exactly what they are looking for from new grads. Whether you’re currently in school, just graduated, or just looking for a new career path, the insurance industry might be right for you.

Why the insurance industry?

As Denise Thompson, Vice President, Human Capital Management at Intact Financial Corporation, said, “Insurance is an evolving industry that supports communities and the economy. There is a multitude of career paths, and we have many opportunities for a younger demographic to have motivating career opportunities and obtain competitive compensation and benefits packages.” The insurance industry is always looking for fresh faces and ideas to keep them ahead of the game.

If you like being challenged and never want to be bored, the insurance industry has a spot for you. “There’s always something to keep you engaged. The insurance industry is interesting, there’s always something new to learn or a new challenge to face every day, whether it’s a unique claims situation, practising sales techniques or figuring out how to place coverage for a difficult risk. You get to use your creative problem-solving skills on a daily basis,” Thompson says. With so many options and departments to choose from – the insurance industry is welcoming young, creative professionals with open arms.

Who’s the best fit?

We asked Anu Kashyap, Human Resources Director at Gallagher, what type of traits and characteristics they are looking for in their candidates.  She shared with us they want candidates who think critically, have exceptional time management, a desire to learn and pay attention to detail.

Kashyap also went straight to the source, early career talent in her organization - Melissa Jones, Rhian Griffith, Cara Nelligan, Janay Bracken and Lauren Bell, to get their perspective on what has helped them to stand out in their respective roles. They offered that that being honest, trustworthy, friendly, dedicated and loyal can go a long way. And, depending on the role, customer service can also be a big part of the insurance industry, so having a great attitude in the frontline of business is always favourable.

What type of schooling is needed?

The short answer is because insurance touches virtually everything we do in life and in business, the industry looks for and values talent from a wide array of educational backgrounds.

Kashyap gave us the heads up that programs which incorporate credits from the Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP), Canadian Risk Management designation (CRM), or the Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker (CAIB) designations can offer a distinct advantage but are not required as they are most often earned while you are already working in the industry.   

And, if you are interested in pursuing additional schooling before joining the workforce, look for courses in business, risk management and/or operations management to add to the foundation of your diploma or degree.

What should you expect?

If you decide that a career in insurance is right for you, there are a few things you should expect in your new role. You will most likely be exposed to a lot of information at once; a lot happens in this fast-paced environment. As Thompson says, “it can be a lot at once, but once you learn the basics, you can build from there.” She continued by saying new candidates are most likely going to have a lot of questions about insurance concepts and the computer systems they will be using. There will be a lot of new procedures and regulations. However, as long as you’re eager and can quickly adapt, most new grads flourish in the workspace.

Is it right for you?

If this sounds like the place for you – Visit the Career Connections site – to learn more about how you might fit in to this vital and stable industry!  There’s even a quiz you can take to help you narrow down which area of the industry might be a good starting point for you!!

Then, start getting involved! Join a professional association, attend a seminar or workshop, take a course, volunteer your time at an industry event, go to an insurance event on campus, or even connect with insurance professionals who graduated from your school or program!

And, start looking for the type of insurance company you wish to work for. Thompson suggests researching companies that might offer what you are looking for in an employer and then, “focus on why you think you would be a good fit and how that fits in with your career path. You want to be able to discuss your career goals.”

The insurance industry is constantly growing and expanding – get involved in a new, exciting, and ever-changing career!