Insurance and superannuation

Insurance and superannuation is a large and lucrative industry—and a place to thrive for professionals with a strong understanding of risk management.

An insurance company offers the insurer, or policyholder, a policy with a guarantee that if certain, unforeseeable events occur, they will compensate the insurer (according to the terms of the policy). In return, the insurer pays a premium to the insurance company to minimise large risks in the future. Risks may include natural disasters, property damage, premature death or chronic illness. Insurance is now perceived as necessary and sometimes even required to have, the insurance industry, therefore, offers many career opportunities.

Most insurance can be divided into separate categories of life insurance, general insurance and health insurance. Many insurance companies will specialise in only one type of insurance, however its becoming more common for them to offer multiple insurances and sometimes offering financial services as well. Life insurance services include term life insurance, disability income insurance and superannuation investment packages. General insurance typically cover liability insurance including "compulsory third party" automotive insurance, public liability, business insurance and workers compensation. It also covers property insurance such as home owner insurance, travel insurance and motor vehicle protection. The last type of insurance is health insurance. Some degree of health insurance can be covered by the government or employers, while others are private plans.

Insurance and superannuation careers facilitate sales, process services and claims and distribute earnings. Insurance agents sell a variety of insurances to customers on behalf of insurance companies. Insurance investigators and loss adjusters evaluate insurance claims and determine the value of lost or damaged property and businesses. They also examine insured property to ensure they are meeting with conditions and preventative measures and regulations. Risk managers are vital to the field as they assess the risk of a variety of factors from buildings to financial investments.

Individuals in the field should have strong customer service and critical thinking skills and be able to investigate the possible causes for loss and identify fraud. They also use statistics to calculate the measured probability that certain events will occur over a given population. Professionals typically work Mondays to Fridays but may be required to work evenings or weekends in the case of an accident or site area that needs to be examined immediately. Investigators may need to travel to evaluate damaged property or equipment sites to determine losses, while insurance sales agents and superannuation professionals typically work in office settings processing insurance payments, claims and reaching out to potential clients. Insurance companies hire many graduates from business or finance backgrounds, but they also hire individuals with liberal arts backgrounds who are analytical and good at dealing with people.

Related degrees

Related subjects

Professional associations and industry bodies

Australian Institute of Management 

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees 

Australian Securities & Investments Commission 

Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance 

Finance Sector Union  

Insurance Advisers Association of Australia 

Insurance Council of Australia 

Superannuation Australia 

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

Skills and personality

  • Ability to comprehend large amounts of information and make sense of it
  • Ability to work for long periods of time in an office or customer service environment, issuing payments of premiums and following up with customers
  • Analytical skills to identify the most important concerns for customers and convince them of the benefits of insurance plans
  • Calculate risks and develop premiums for clients
  • Empathetic to customer and clients concerns or losses when illness or damages occur
  • Highly organised to maintain customer/client files and handle multiple tasks at once
  • Problem solving abilities when dealing with losses and damages
  • Strong communication skills to work well with clients and present options in a clear and cohesive manner
  • Strong customer service abilities to work with clients considering insurance policies
  • Thorough attention to details and policy terms
  • Understanding of insurance policies and limits of coverage