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Industry Spotlight: Insurance

This field offers Soldiers more opportunities than meets the eye

Let’s talk about insurance. 

Did your eyes just glaze over?

If so, you’re not alone, says executive recruiter Russ Hovendick. Insurance is one of the most misunderstood industries among job-hunting service members.

“With their commitment level and communication skills, Veterans have had great success as insurance agents; however, insurance companies also offer exceptional careers for Vets outside the realm of sales,” says Hovendick, president of Client Staffing Solutions, a recruiting firm in Sioux Falls, SD.

Many Soldiers don’t realize that their Guard duties fit perfectly into the insurance industry, or that the field offers stability and job security. Last year, insurance companies grew. By July, the unemployment rate for the insurance and finance industries was 2.1 percent, compared to 5.3 percent for all nonfarm sectors, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2014, median earnings were $47,860 for agents; $64,220 for underwriters; and $62,220 for claims adjusters, examiners and investigators.

What jobs fit your skills?

  • Military Police. As an MP, your responsibilities parallel those of insurance claims appraisers, examiners and investigators. People in these roles evaluate claims, deciding whether an insurance company must pay a claim, and, if so, how much. Another option: Loss control specialists inspect job sites, shops, warehouses, etc., looking for hazardous working conditions and ways to fix them.

  • Law. JAG Corps members have the knowledge and experience needed to serve as legal counsel for customer claims and resulting lawsuits.

  • Finance. “The Adjutant General Corps fits nicely with what insurers do,” Hovendick says. The industry offers myriad finance opportunities, such as accounting and payroll. For example, State Farm—the 79th-largest bank in the U.S., with over $17 billion in assets—employs many Veterans. Also, consider becoming an actuary or underwriter, both of which determine risk involved in insuring a client.

  • Information Technology. Insurance jobs for Soldiers with this skill set run the gamut, Hovendick says, including data mining, data processing, claims processing, customer service and data support.

  • Logistics & Warehousing. “A lot of [insurance companies] have printing centers, document centers or hubs for distribution materials,” Hovendick says. “Someone in logistics—managing material or equipment flow, or transporting items to and from places—has an easy crossover.


Qualifications to Consider

Here are a few certifications that can help advance your job search:

  • Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR). This designation shows potential employers that you understand the vast array of coverage options, how policies work and customer service best practices. Classes are offered by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.

  • Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC). Certification options include agency management, life and health insurance, personal lines insurance, commercial casualty insurance, and commercial property insurance. Also offered by The National Alliance.

  • Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). To meet the minimum experience requirement, you must have worked in the industry for at least 17.5 hours per week for any two of the last five years. Program is offered by The Institutes. 


At a job fair, look for … 

  • Companies you’ve researched. Do your due diligence on job boards before the fair. Find out which companies will be present, and search their websites for keywords that apply to your Guard job, like “financial” or “investigative.” Bring a list of available positions that interest you to the fair, then seek out those employers’ booths, explain your experience and ask if you’re a fit.
  • Someone able to discuss how your Guard duties and job skills translate to opportunities at their company. After hearing you describe your expertise and experience, the recruiter should have suggestions on open jobs that correspond with your skills, executive recruiter Russ Hovendick says.


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