Insurance technicians provide support and back up in all areas of insurance work. They carry out much of the clerical and administrative work, such as routine correspondence, updating records and dealing with enquiries from clients. Their contact with clients and other insurance staff can be face-to-face, by telephone, letter or email.
There are three main types of insurance technician:
- Underwriting or Processing Technicians
- Claims Technicians
- Broker Technicians.
Underwriting or processing technicians deal with requests for insurance. Their work involves:
Claims technicians deal with paying out claims to policyholders. This includes:
Broker technicians work for insurance brokers. Brokers act as intermediaries between people wanting insurance and companies that offer insurance. Broker technicians:
Give advice on the need for insurance and the range of cover available.
Study insurance proposals and claim forms, and make sure the broker has all the information that is needed.
Contact clients to check or clarify details on their proposal or claim form, and ask for more information if necessary.
Keep clients up to date on the progress of claims.
The working hours are usually 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Some technicians work flexitime. Part-time work is possible.
The work is office-based. Offices vary in size, but are usually light and airy. Some have areas open to the public.
Broker technicians might spend time out of the office, visiting clients or underwriters.
Starting salaries for new technicians tend to be between £12,000 and £16,000 a year. Some employers offer benefits such as medical insurance, pensions and life assurance.
Insurance technicians work for:
- General Insurance Companies
- Specialist Insurance Companies
- Insurance Brokers
- Lloyd's of London
There are just over 1,150 insurance companies in the UK. Most of them are based in cities and large towns. There are several thousand insurance broking firms throughout the UK.
Job vacancies are advertised in Post Magazine, Insurance Times, in local newspapers and on the internet.
There are no set qualifications. In practice, though, many companies ask for qualifications that will allow the trainee to study for The Chartered Insurance Institute's (CII) Diploma in Insurance. These include:
The CII also runs a Foundation Insurance Test (FIT). This does not require any formal qualifications.
Employers may require GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English and maths.
It may be possible to start in this work through an Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Training varies between employers. New insurance technicians are usually trained on the job by experienced technicians or team leaders. They may also attend in-house or external courses. They start by learning straightforward jobs under supervision, then take on more complex work as they gain experience.
Insurance technicians can study for the CII's FIT, Certificate in Insurance or the Diploma in Insurance.
The FIT is studied by distance learning. It covers the insurance market, legal principles, procedures and the major types of insurance. It takes 40 hours' study time and has a two-hour multiple-choice exam. Successful completion of the FIT gives six credits towards the Certificate in Insurance.
The Certificate covers essential basic knowledge of the insurance market, its key disciplines and products. It takes at least 50 hours' study time and can be worked for by distance learning. Successful completion of the certificate gives at least 40 credits towards the Diploma in Insurance.
The Diploma is a unit-based qualification. There are three compulsory units that all candidates must pass - insurance practice and regulation, business practice and insurance law. In addition, there is a very wide range of optional units that candidates can study to reflect their career requirements and preferences. The diploma takes at least 216 hours' study time and can be worked for by distance learning, online learning or through full-time, face-to-face tuition.
Technicians working with Lloyd's may take the Lloyd's and London Market Introductory Test (LLMIT), which is studied by distance learning. The test lasts 90 minutes and consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. Passing the test gives technicians 15 credits towards the CII Certificate in Insurance.
The CII has a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme that everyone with a CII qualification must follow. Members gain credits for CPD from a wide range of activities, including training courses, on-the-job training, online training and sitting exams.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
An insurance technician should:
An insurance technician may progress to become a team leader, responsible for a team of technicians.
Technicians can do further training and study for the CII's Advanced Diploma in Insurance. They may then be able to become an underwriter, claims manager or broker.
There are limited opportunities for self-employment.
The Belfast Insurance Institute,
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII),
42-48 High Road, South Woodford,
London E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8989 8464
Lloyd's of London, 42-48 High Road,
South Woodford, London, E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8530 0830
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.