- Useful Knowledge
- Entry Qualifications
- Professional Qualifications
Brokers, as the name suggests, are agents acting in the interest of their clients. Their prime responsibility is to identify insurance requirements and find suitable insurance solutions for their customers. As an insurance broker, your role is to negotiate the best level of insurance cover at the best price from insurance companies (larger risks are often spread amongst a number of insurers) for your clients.
- Commercial insurance brokers deal with more complex, higher value and sometimes really unusual requests, such as insuring a fleet of ships, footballers' legs, a space station, the Olympics and music events.
- Retail insurance brokers usually focus on sourcing general insurance cover for individuals or companies, dealing directly with them – typically motor, home, pet or travel cover for individuals or property damage and business interruption for companies, as well as employer’s liability and public and products liability.
Both broker types are widespread across the UK but the majority of the wholesale market is to be found in the London Market, based at Lloyd’s. Brokers here are often recruited because of their specialist background in risks not handled by retail brokers such as marine, aviation, oil/gas, power and financial risks. It is the broker’s role to discuss specific requirements with underwriters before preparing a formal submission document. This may involve conducting an assessment to identify potential liabilities for factoring into the policy terms. For larger risks, both retail and wholesale, brokers will provide a detailed presentation to potential insurers giving information of the risk, which may have involved a number of visits to the client’s premises to carry out a full risk assessment.
A trainee broker, joining a firm as a non graduate can expect to earn an annual salary of approximately £16,000. When fully qualified, and with the right experience and skills you could progress to earn in excess of £80,000 per annum. This does not include potential bonuses and additional benefits. Salaries may vary based on location and employer.
- Evaluating your client’s insurance needs, their current products and services, comparing the features, level of cover and price with others in the market
- Evaluating risks and proposing possible solutions
- Placing risks within your agreed level of responsibility, the authority given by the customer and your employer’s guidelines
- Referring any situations you are not authorised to deal with to the appropriate person/department
- Submitting details to insurers in a manner and timescale appropriate to the risk
- Informing the client of the terms and the cover provided and ensuring that they understand the main features and benefits of the policy in adherence with regulatory rules
- Processing proposals for new business, including obtaining any supplementary information and documentation required and resolving any discrepancies in the information supplied
- Ensuring all client information remains confidential
- Processing payment correctly and by the appropriate means
- Ensuring cover documentation is accurate, legible and meets legal and regulatory requirements
- Issuing insurance documentation to the customer
- Maintaining complete and accurate records at all stages
- Liaising with the client and the insurer
- Helping to resolve clients claims
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
- Clear and concise writing ability for report writing and correspondence
- Strong customer service ethic, always acting in your clients’ best interests
- Integrity, trustworthy and discreet
- Efficient and ethical
- Professional manner and respectful
- Strong negotiation skills
- Attention to detail
- Administration and IT user skills
- Organised with good time management
A new entrant will not always be required to have this knowledge. Employers usually provide training to acquire skills for:
- Market knowledge and legislative changes that may affect your client
- Strengths and specialisms of different insurers
- Risk analysis techniques
- Meeting the FSA Treating Customer’s Fairly requirements
- Working in insurance broking requires an understanding of numbers and the ability to communicate with customers verbally and in a written format, so English and maths are important. Whilst many employers do look to recruit graduates, with a 2:2 degree or above, onto formal training schemes, there can be entry level positions in support and administrative roles where it is possible to take professional qualifications and progress to a broking career.
In order to gain an entry level position, employers will look for people who have:
- A Levels, Scottish Highers or equivalent qualifications such as BTEC National Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate (BAC), SVQ Level 3 or Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7)
For people without experience or prior knowledge, the Foundation Insurance Test (FIT) Award offered by the Chartered Insurance Institute is a single unit course which requires the candidate to pass a multiple-choice style test which can then lead on to further professional qualifications.
Apprenticeships can be a useful way to gain entry and to progress on in the profession:
- Level 2 Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services, General Insurance pathway (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- Level 3 Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services, General Insurance pathway (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
- Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Insurance - (England & Wales)
Brokers would usually be encouraged by employers to follow professional qualifications, choosing units of study relevant to the insurance functions you are specialising in brokering; for instance marine, commercial or general insurance. Most people, particularly if they have passed the FIT Award, start their studies at the certificate level.
- CII Level 3 Certificate in Insurance
- CII Diploma in Insurance
- CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance, which leads to Associate (ACII) membership of the CII
Retail brokers may also study the Level 3 Certificate in Regulated General Insurance (CeRGI) from the Institute of Financial Services.
Employers range from small brokers to large multinational financial advice and insurance companies. Wholesale brokers also work for reinsurance companies. Many brokers work in London, although opportunities are nationwide, mainly in cities and large towns. The London Market is global in the risks that it underwrites.
- Association of British Insurers
- British Insurance Brokers’ Association
- Chartered Insurance Institute
- Institute of Financial Services
- Insurance Age
- Insurance Brokers’ Monthly
- Insurance Day
- Insurance Times
- Lloyd’s Market Association
- London & International Insurance Brokers’ Association
- Professional Broking
- National Apprenticeship Service
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