If you like helping people and getting them through tough times, you’re the perfect candidate for a career in insurance settlements.
Helping to process the vast amount of insurance claims that come through every day, a settlements insurer oversees and investigates each case and tries to resolve them as quickly as possible.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Similar to a customer service job, your role revolves around the claimant, from advising them on their policy conditions to arranging for professionals to immediately repair the damage so they don’t get any cowboys in who take months to arrive.
Like most insurance jobs, there is plenty of admin and paperwork to do too, so expect to be doing some of these duties frequently:
- Logging the claim and checking details
- Issuing claim forms
- Checking the premiums are paid
- Looking out for any fraudulent claims (they do happen)
- Ensuring a claimant’s policy covers their claim
- Investigating the claim by gathering information (photos, receipts, proper Sherlock stuff)
Become a manager and you’ll be given different roles and responsibilities, including overseeing other settlers and ensuring they are processing claims correctly. You’ll also deal with the more complicated or unusual cases that settlers will pass onto you.
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The nitty gritty
Working the standard 35-40 hour week that allows you to have a work/life balance, you’ll be based in a contact centre, spending a lot of your day either on the computer or answering the phone.
If you’re looking for a job that offers flexibility, you’ve come to the right place. Not only is shift and weekend work common, but there’s also part-time opportunities available too as many insurers try and operate a 24 hour service.
If you reach the heights of management, then you’ll get to leave your desk behind occasionally to go and visit brokers, solicitors and potential clients.
Because there are such a huge variety of insurance types, it’s unlikely you’ll be dealing with them all. It’s common for settlement insurers to specialise in particular areas (e.g. home, motor, life etc).
Just like there are lots of insurance types, there are a range of claims that you could be dealing with too, these include:
Third party liability - covers damage or injury suffered caused by the insured person (e.g. car accident)
Employee liability - if an employee is injured at work
Professional indemnity - if someone has provided inaccurate advice, e.g. a solicitor or financial adviser
Complex property claims - e.g. quantifying loss of stock and business after a major incident like a flood
Product claims - e.g. claims against unsafe toys or faulty electrical goods
Money, money, money
So you’ve helped claimants put money into their bank account, but how much can you expect to earn?
When you first start out, you’re looking at earning around £13,000-£17,000 a year. But gain more experience and this rises to around £18,000-£30,000.
Reach senior heights and for being the big cheese you’ll take home anything from £30,000 to £60,000.
Of course salaries will change depending on your employer, your location and your level of experience and job title.
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The good points...
If a case reaches you, chances are it’s going to be a pretty straightforward case to deal with; it might even have a payout limit to make things even easier for both you and the claimant.
This means you won’t be dealing with any complicated or suspicious cases, so most will result in a payout, which is sure to give you job satisfaction.
...and the bad
Not all claims are valid, and even if someone has accidentally broken the terms of their policy, it means the insurance company is unlikely to cover them. Telling a claimant they won’t be receiving any money to repair or replace their prized possessions isn’t a pleasant part of the job but someone’s got to do it…turns out it’s you.
Is there study involved?
Whether you’re a graduate from university or left school the minute your GCSEs were over, this career is open to you.
A great entry level job into the world of insurance, many employers will look for at least 4 GCSEs, preferably in English, maths and IT, even for apprenticeships.
If you’re looking to really impress employers though, many like applicants to have official insurance qualifications from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) as it teaches related skills you’ll use on the job. Useful for career progression, insurance qualifications include:
- CII Certificate in claims
- CII Diploma in claims
- The Institute of Financial Services (ifs) Certificate of Regulated General Insurance
- NVQs/SVQs Levels 2, 3 and 4 in customer service
- NVQs/SVQs Levels 3 and 4 in management
Some of the larger insurance companies do run graduate training schemes, which can teach you many of the transferable skills that you’ll need to know before you become a settlement manager. To get on these schemes, it helps if you’ve studied a relevant subject, which includes:
- Business studies
Looking to eventually become a manager? Then this is the right place to start, as you’ll need to work for around 3 years in this job (or similar, such as an underwriter) and gain some supervisor experience along the way.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Being able to deal with claimants who’ve had possessions damaged takes both empathy and patience, so if you’ve got excellent customer service skills and a passion for helping people, then you’ll fit right into this job.
As well as knowledge of the insurance world, other handy skills include:
- Being assertive (not everyone will accept they won’t be receiving money)
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work calmly under pressure
- IT skills
- Good communication skills