Insurance is a system whereby individuals, companies and institutions pay into a common fund, out of which the losses of individuals, companies and institutions, arising from various causes, are covered.
The insurance industry has grown in the past few years to become one of the biggest industries in South Africa. It offers a variety of career opportunities for matriculants and university graduates.
Insurance companies offer different kinds of insurance, as well as annuities. Life policies provide certain advantages to the beneficiary as indicated by the policyholder. Other policies provide policyholders with an income after a certain time period. Some policies are designed to help provide funds for the further education of children when they reach the end of their school career. There are also policies that can be used for savings or to provide an income when a person becomes disabled. Property liability insurance provides policyholders with protection against loss or damage to their property. It covers hazards such as fire, theft and flood.
A career in the insurance field encompasses more than the mere sale of policies. Some of these careers are highly specialised and require relevant academic qualifications. Matriculants can, however, consider most of these careers as they can acquire the required qualifications through part-time study while gaining in-service training.
The majority of careers in the insurance industry are clerical and sales by nature. Clerical workers keep records of premium payments, services and benefits paid to policyholders. Sophisticated computers process much of the industry’s routine work. The secretaries, typists, statistical clerks, office machine operators and general office clerks do similar work to that of their counterparts in other businesses. Employees selling insurance are first trained to sell policies to individuals and business firms. Their responsibility is to see that the policy will satisfy the client’s needs.
Accountants are responsible for maintaining the company’s financial records and producing the figures which are necessary for the compilation of the annual report. Safety and health specialists consult with industrial and commercial policyholders on matters concerning the health and safety of their employees and the safety of their property. Professional workers study insurance risks and coverage problems, analyse investment possibilities and prepare financial reports.
Lawyers interpret the regulations that apply to insurance company operations and handle the settlement of some insurance claims. Investment analysts evaluate property investments and the stock market. The directors receive reports on the investments of the company on a regular basis.
Insurance companies also employ public relations and advertising specialists. Training officers are responsible for the training of personnel. Systems analysts, programmers and other data processing specialists are also employed for work on the computer systems. Insurance companies also require custodial and maintenance workers in order to care for their property holdings. An actuary develops insurance packages and also determines premiums and payouts.