Insurance is an exciting and varied career option. But for many outside of the industry, the misconceptions that exist about it dissuade them from joining. This presents challenges for the sector when it comes to diversifying and making sure it has the skills for the future.
Marie Cronin, wants to change that.
As an Executive working in the industry for 13 years, she wants young people coming into the industry and those thinking of a change in career to know that insurance is certainly one of the best options out there.
Marie, can you tell our readers a little about your own career to date?
Insurance wasn’t a sector I gravitated towards initially. Like many others, when I did my Leaving Cert I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wasn’t that keen on going to University and I wanted to get into the workplace. When I finished school I started working as a Post Room Assistant and I was constantly seeing insurance related letters coming in – this piqued my interest and before I knew it I was searching for what all the language and insurance related terminology meant – I was completely fascinated by it.
I eventually got a job with an Insurance Broker and began working towards my APA (I am now a CIP). I moved to McMahon Galvin 6 years ago and have had so many wonderful opportunities – including in 2019, when I was awarded Young Broker of the Year.
What do you enjoy most about working in insurance?
It’s a hugely rewarding industry to work in – you are providing people with a much needed service that enhances their lives and brings them peace of mind.
I think we can sometimes lose focus of just how valuable our industry is – you’re delivering a promise to your clients and you always want to help them in any way you can.
Why do you believe insurance is an interesting career choice?
I think there are a lot of misconceptions about insurance – I feel many believe it’s a boring career choice and that it doesn’t offer much variety. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s such a hugely diverse industry, with innovation and technology at its core. You need to have a broad skill set and you can have many different types of careers within insurance – there are so many options and paths you can take, and you never feel limited – there is always another opportunity or challenge on the horizon.
Is learning and development an important part of a career in insurance?
Yes, it’s essential to a career in insurance. The industry is constantly changing and adapting and new products, markets and legislation are always coming on stream and so you have an obligation both to your clients and your employer to always be on top of this learning and be as informed as possible.
Not only that, but knowledge is key to your own career development and provides you with both the confidence and the ability to be able to progress.
Is there much variety in the type of roles/jobs one can have within the insurance sector?
There is literally something for everyone in insurance and the role you start out in doesn’t need to determine the rest of your career. If for example, you don’t enjoy being in a client facing role, you can go down the product development route. Once you keep an open mind and have an interest in exploring all avenues you will definitely find what you’re most suited to. I think it’s also important to note that your background and education won’t determine where you end up or limit you – insurance provides such a level playing field for all, and once you have the right attitude you’re bound to succeed.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in insurance?
For anyone starting out in their career I would say don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out. Take some time to reflect on what it is you might like to do, and what roles within the industry might suit you.
Then I would suggest that you find a good mentor – someone who you can turn to for advice. I feel this is hugely important and something which we all need at every stage of our career. Lastly, I would say get out there and meet people in the industry – network and make connections – insurance is a people’s business and expanding your connections and making friends within the industry will provide such a positive influence to your career.
If you are looking for ways of developing your career, or like Marie are interested in studying for your CIP, head over to the website for further information, www.iii.ie