Going for Broke….A recruiters insight into the insurance broking market

Cyber, Piracy, Event Cancellation…..Insurance is required across the globe, we need it to protect ourselves and our belongings from loss of finance….or worse. So how has this market changed over the years? As the flood waters continue to rise, devastating properties, businesses and lives across the UK, the light now begins to focus on the London insurance market.

The financial downturn saw the banking sector take a huge hit in terms of trust, reputation and reliability. Graduates and professional banking individuals began to move away from their beloved market, and look to alternative careers. The insurance market however, stood the test of time and although the recession (amongst other factors) halved the profits within Lloyd’s, Lord Levene (the chairman at the time), was quick to respond stating that the market was still in “good shape”. So how do people, in times of flood/financial crisis, view the insurance market as a potential career?

It’s astonishing how many senior brokers I meet who say “I fell into insurance”. This being said, there appears to be a slight shift as the new generation and non-insurance professionals are beginning to view the broking market as a great potential career path. More people are talking about this “hidden gem” within the City that is Insurance. Broking in itself is a people business and the opportunity of client interaction within the buzz of the Lloyd’s market has spread far and wide, building a positive image to potential new faces.

Being a specialist head-hunter within the broking market I am intrigued at the difference in approach to broking between well established brokers with years of experience and individuals now looking to establish themselves on the broking ladder. Senior brokers and directors in this industry predominantly left school at 16 and simply entered the insurance market on a whim, starting off at the bottom and working hard to become experts within their chosen field. Whilst the less experienced, new generation studied hard at University or worked long, unsociable hours within the damaged financial sector and are choosing insurance as a viable career option.

As the attractiveness of the Lloyd’s broking market continues to grow, how certain can one be on successfully entering this space? The competitiveness is at an all time high and one must go that “extra mile” to portray eagerness, self-motivation and a passion for broking.

What steps can one take to ensure they are successful in this market? Whether you are a recent graduate, a school leaver, or a non-insurance professional, there are significant actions you can take to guarantee a career in broking:

Do your research

Lloyd’s has been around for over 325 years and has a long and intriguing history. It is important when looking at this market that you understand how it all came about and how business is transacted. This will allow you to become immersed in your surroundings and appreciate the longevity and tradition of this industry, which always helps.

Knowledge is power

The terminology in this market can be daunting. The jargon will initially feel alien and confusing. Become familiar with this language. Speak it every day and it will become second nature. I meet hundreds of brokers every month and it is safe to say they have an indepth understanding of the area in which they specialise and the terminology relating to it. Remember knowledge is power and the more you understand, the easier the transition will be.

The Lloyd’s Experience

Experience is everything in this market. As a recruiter I see hundreds of CV’s every month, differentiate yourself by gaining work experience within a Lloyd’s broking house. Whether it is for one day or a week, the more experience you gain the closer you will come to moving towards your new career. Brokers are a friendly bunch of people; they love to share their knowledge and experiences, so just ask! If you don’t ask in this market you certainly don’t get. Experience on a CV portrays determination, a genuine interest in broking and highlights your ability to go “above and beyond” in order to succeed. Do this and I can almost guarantee you will get noticed amongst the crowd.

Be Realistic

It is vital that you enter this market with a focused yet realistic head on your shoulders. Understand that you are competing against other individuals with similar objectives. Remember you may need to start at the bottom in a technical support role before you can achieve broker status. The more realistic your focus the more of a chance you will have. If you are truly set on a broking career, you must be willing to take a salary cut or a step back in order to build the skills and knowledge you will need to become a successful broker. This can take time….but work hard and you will reap the benefits!

Exam time….again!

I bet you thought once school/university was over there would be no more exams….wrong! This market has grown and developed over the years and the increased supply of candidates entering the broking world is greater than the demand. With this competitiveness in mind, exams are now a crucial aspect of many Lloyd’s broking houses. They provide a foundation that reiterates to the employer your knowledge within this market.

Times have changed. The Lloyd’s broking market has changed. Broking is an exceptional choice for anybody looking for a fast paced, interactive and rewarding career. It is true; people no longer just fall into insurance!

 

Edward O’Dwyer

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