Insurance plays a significant role in every aspect of life and business, helping to protect people’s belongings, property, health and much more against unexpected events such as fire, water, accidents, human error and natural disasters. The industry promotes investment in the future economic growth of the whole country by using the premium income received to provide long-term capital for investment. It helps to fund public services and company expansion, earn foreign currency and generate tax.

One quarter of employees in the financial services industry in the UK are employed in insurance, with 300000 insurance employees in the UK. As the third largest insurance market in the world, and number one in the EU, the insurance sector in the UK has remained strong in the face of the recession, with people keen to insure against loss. Since 2009 the insurance industry has seen a 38% increase in jobs, and 4% pay increase. Shortage areas include actuaries, underwriters, solvency II experts, regulation and IT.

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Insurance falls into four main categories:

  • Wholesale – Focused on Lloyds Market Association.
  • Retail – The buyer approaches the underwriter to take out an insurance policy.
  • Reinsurance - Insurance companies approach other insurance companies to get insurance for their business and to protect their assets and the claims made by their clients.
  • Specialist insurance - 
    • Credit and political risk (knowledge of worldwide political affairs is paramount)
    • Terrorism/piracy (liaison with experts in the area to assess risk of insuring)
    • Kidnap and ransom
    • Fine art

The main types of insurance are:

  • General insurance
  • Life and pensions
  • Health and protection
  • Investment

General insurance

General insurance plays a vital role in the modern economy. It lets individuals and businesses minimise the impact of unexpected and unwelcome future events, and helps them organise their lives and businesses with greater certainty. The insurance industry pays out £74 million per working day in general insurance claims.

Life and Pensions

Life insurers offer valuable financial protection in the event of your early death if members of your family are dependent on your earnings, as well as a variety of ways of saving for the future. The industry pays out almost £222 million per working day in pension and life insurance claims.

Health and protection

The insurance industry offers peace of mind by providing ways of paying for private medical care for curable or short-term illness or injury. It also enables you to plan for old age and to protect your financial assets, but still pay for appropriate levels of care. There is a range of policies designed to provide a monthly income if you are unable to work due to sickness, accident or injury, until you are able to re-join the workforce.


The insurance industry has £1,139 billion invested in company shares and other assets on behalf of millions of savers in the UK and elsewhere. It accounts for over 17% of investments in the London stock market.

Useful Information

Routes in

Employers like to see you have completed some work experience, whether this is in a customer service role or something more specific to insurance. They aren’t too concerned if you have done internships or not, as sports and voluntary work are seen as useful to have.

There are few internships available within the insurance world, so competition is high. Graduate training schemes are also popular. Entry requirements will depend on the role you are applying for and the company too.

Graduate training schemes and internships

Get experience

It is important to gain experience in order to put you in a good place when applying for graduate training positions.

Job roles


60% of insurance employees work in claims. Entry positions include claims handler with a move onto being a loss adjuster. A loss adjuster would investigate insurance claims to see how/if they can be settled, and will see the claim through to completion. They would liaise with a client and visit a site if necessary and must be calm under pressure, confident, have an enquiring mind, attention to detail, be people person/ empathetic /understanding and assertive. Certificate and diploma can be taken (same as claims professionals).

Life and pensions

Life insurance/assurance and the world of pensions is a growth area with the current pensions market and retirement age increases. Roles within life and pensions include


Advise clients on financial risks, especially in the area of insurance and pensions, using their understanding and expertise of economics, business areas and mathematical modelling. See actuarial careers.


Determine whether applications for insurance should be accepted, and, if so, at what price and if any special terms should be applied.

Financial advice and planning

Help customers make the right decision about their pension, insurance, savings and financial needs by giving sound advice based on the current market’s products.

Pensions management

Ensure the company you work for or the companies you are advising have the most effective pensions by ensuring they are run correctly and to recommended pensions guidelines.


Identify insurance requirements and find suitable insurance solutions for their customers. Customers may be for commercial companies or public sector organisations (e.g. LOCOG) or are retail clients who are individuals who need insurance policies (home, pet, car etc.). 80% of business insurance is sold through brokers. A broker would identify the needs of their client and then search the insurance market or the insurance company they represent to give the client the most appropriate policy for their requirements.

London market

Including Lloyds Market Association; a market that brings together members to create syndicates, to enable more than one syndicate to take the risk. It brings together underwriters and brokers who conduct business in the Underwriting room.

Useful links

  • Vault: Career insider
    Online exclusive careers library
  • Prospects
    Careers information including roles as insurance underwriter and insurance claims manager
  • TARGETjobs
    More information about careers in insurance