The field of insurance employed more than 2.3 million Americans in 2008. Those who work in this profession are entrusted to insure homes, cars and businesses belonging to Americans, and must therefore be knowledgeable enough to undertake such a task. Of the employees in the insurance industry, many are required to undergo formal training in a classroom or self-study environment. Those with licenses are often required to undergo additional training biannually.
The first step in property and casualty insurance training often involves pre-licensing. Pre-licensing occurs when potential insurance professionals take 20 or more hours of training in preparation for the state licensing examination. The course covers automobile, home, commercial, business liability, boat, and worker’s compensation insurance. It has historically been taught in classroom settings, but can now be taken entirely online. Self-study courses are also available. The examination itself is taken in the presence of a state-approved proctor and is often administered via computer.
The most important experience any property and casualty professional can gain is on-the-job training. Those who wish to work in the highly technical field of insurance should start as quickly as possible on their career path. Entry-level positions in insurance sales, claims, underwriting and customer service can be found by searching the online listings on Monster or CareerBuilder. Practical experience will help aspiring insurance professionals apply the information gained in classroom settings. Those who haven’t had classroom training will gain invaluable knowledge about best practices, state insurance laws and terminology.
Continuing Education Courses
Licensed insurance agents are required to update and maintain their knowledge by taking continuing education courses. These courses can be taken at home, online or in traditional classroom settings. Some states allow agents to earn their continuing education credits by attending approved seminars with no testing required. Those who wish to pursue designations such as the chartered property casualty underwriter will earn credits toward their continuing education requirements. Professionals who wish to pursue designations should consult the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriting for a full listing of programs.
Property and casualty training can be obtained in various undergraduate and graduate level college programs. For instance, the University of Georgia and the University of Connecticut both offer undergraduate programs in risk management and insurance. Students who participate in these programs can get in internships and may earn credit toward the various designations available in the insurance industry. Likewise, the University of Wisconsin’s business school is widely known for its MBA in risk management and insurance. According to its website, students who attend often progress to roles in advanced management within the insurance field. Florida State University’s College of Business offers a master of science in risk management online.
Insurance professionals who wish to work in business-to-business sales, marketing and underwriting will need to learn as much as possible about the current state of the insurance industry. Doing so will help them to better understand their competitors and the nature of the financial market as it relates to insurance. It will also help them to discuss their products credibly and thoroughly. This kind of knowledge can easily be obtained by reading periodicals such as the Insurance Journal.