Insurance brokers use their in-depth knowledge of risks and the insurance market to find suitable insurance policies and arrange cover for their clients
As an insurance broker, you'll act as an intermediary between your clients, who can either be individuals or commercial businesses and organisations, and insurance companies, and will offer products from more than one insurer to ensure that your clients get the best deal.
Policies for individuals include property damage (loss or damage to your home and contents) motor, house, travel or pet cover, whereas policies for companies are likely to cover damage to property and business interruption, motor fleet, business travel, employer's liability, professional indemnity, and public and products liability insurance.
There are also opportunities to deal with high-value and more complex insurance cover in areas such as marine, aviation, oil and gas and financial risks.
Small brokerage firms will often advise on all types of insurance, whereas the large firms may have trading divisions that specialise in a particular type of insurance.
As an insurance broker, you'll need to:
- gather information from your clients, assessing their insurance needs and risk profile
- research insurance companies' policies and negotiate with underwriters to find the most suitable insurance for your clients at the best terms
- arrange insurance cover for clients, and submit the details to insurers
- ensure that your clients understand the terms and the extent of the cover provided in line with industry regulations
- manage the annual insurance cycle, including policy renewals, amendments and mid-term adjustments, looking ahead to foresee your clients' insurance needs
- advise your clients on whether and when they need to make a claim on their policies
- arrange specialised types of insurance cover in complex cases. This may involve preparing reports for insurance underwriters and surveyors and negotiating with insurers
- advise your clients on risk management and help to devise new ways to mitigate risks, for example, by adding security measures such as fencing, surveillance cameras or lighting to commercial properties to reduce the likelihood of a break-in
- build and maintain ongoing relationships with your clients
- acquire new clients and win accounts against competitors
- keep detailed records and complete administrative tasks such as paperwork and correspondence
- develop relationships with underwriters, surveyors, photographers, structural engineers and other professionals
- keep up with changes in the insurance market and in your clients' industries
- collect insurance premiums and process accounts.
- At junior or trainee broker level you can earn around £18,000 to £22,000. If you're on a graduate training scheme, however, your salary can be around £22,000 to £28,000. The salary on the two-year Lloyd's Insurance Graduate Scheme is £30,000 a year.
- Salaries for qualified brokers can range from around £20,000 to £60,000.
- Senior brokers/account directors can earn around £40,000 to £100,000, with salaries rising to in excess of £100,000 for those in managing/client director roles or those handling more complex, high-value risks.
Depending on your success and track record, you can receive performance-related pay or bonuses on top of your salary, which can add significantly to your overall income. Additional benefits may include a company car, pension, gym membership and private medical insurance.
Salaries can vary significantly depending on your qualifications and experience, your location (salaries in London, for example, are usually higher), the size and type of firm you work for and your area of insurance.
Brokers with commercial clients may earn more than those with personal clients.
Salary surveys providing up-to-date information on current salary levels in the UK insurance and reinsurance sector are provided by a range of recruitment companies, such as:
Income figures are intended as a guide only.
You'll typically work usual office hours, although you may need to work some evenings or Saturdays to meet with your clients. There may be opportunities for hybrid working, for example three days working in the office and two from home.
Career breaks are also possible, but you'll need to keep up to date with changes in the industry.
What to expect
- Opportunities are available throughout the UK, mainly in cities and large towns, although much of the wholesale market is based at Lloyd's in the London Market.
- Although the work is mainly office based, you may need to visit clients at their place of business.
- If you're working for a large company you may specialise in a core area, but in a small firm you're likely to be involved in most functions, including new business development and acting as placing broker and claims broker.
- You'll need to feel comfortable interacting with a large number of different clients and working to set deadlines.
- If you work for an international firm with business overseas, you may need to travel abroad.
Although you don't need a specific degree to become an insurance broker, a degree in accounting or finance, business, management, economics or mathematics may be particularly useful. However, employers are generally more interested in your skills and personal attributes and what you can contribute to the role.
Some of the large insurance firms offer structured graduate training schemes. These are competitive and usually require a 2:1 or above, although some schemes, such as the Lloyd's Graduate Programme, will accept a 2:2.
Entry without a degree is possible in a junior or trainee broker role, or as an insurance technician. You will usually need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, as well as A-levels or equivalent for entry-level posts. You can progress to the role of broker after gaining experience and insurance industry qualifications through, for example, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
It's also possible to gain entry via a Level 3 Insurance Practitioner or Level 4 Insurance Professional apprenticeship, which combines paid work with part-time study. Search find an apprenticeship for current opportunities. Lloyd's also offers an insurance apprenticeship programme.
Although employers usually provide training in insurance-related legal issues, you'll need to develop a good understanding of the insurance industry. Make sure you research the company you're interested in working for thoroughly and read the specialist press.
If you're interested in a particular company, it's a good idea to visit one of their recruitment events to speak to employees and find out about what they do and what they're looking for.
You'll need to have:
- excellent written and verbal communication skills
- the confidence to advise and negotiate with clients and underwriters
- the ability to build, manage and develop relationships
- customer service skills
- numerical skills
- business acumen and commercial awareness
- the ability to plan, prioritise and manage your time and to work on a number of projects concurrently
- strong problem-solving skills and the ability to seek out innovative solutions
- the ability to work well in a team
- a flexible approach to work
- resilience and self-motivation
- attention to detail
- an understanding of client confidentiality and how to be discreet
- administrative and IT skills
- a commitment to continuous learning and development.
Although it's not essential to have pre-entry experience, work experience with a broking house or insurance company can improve your chances. Many of the major insurance companies have work placement or summer internships programmes. Competition for places is strong and employers often ask for a predicted 2:1 or above.
Smaller firms may offer work experience but you may need to approach them directly to find out about opportunities.
Work experience in a customer services role in the financial services sector and sales experience may also be useful. Legal and administrative experience is also welcomed by many employers.
Find out more about the different kinds of work experience and internships that are available.
The majority of insurance brokers are employed by insurance broking firms. These range from small niche firms to large multinational insurance and financial advice companies.
You can also become a registered broker with Lloyd's, the world's specialist insurance and reinsurance market with a focus on particular risk categories. See the London & International Insurance Brokers' Association (LIIBA) for details.
Other employers include insurance companies and the insurance risk management departments of non-insurance companies.
Wholesale brokers also work for reinsurance companies.
Look for job vacancies at:
Specialist recruitment agencies also handle vacancies. Look for advertisements in the national press and specialist journals. The large insurance companies advertise vacancies on their websites. Jobs are also advertised on LinkedIn.
Training may be offered through structured graduate training schemes at large firms of brokers. These schemes provide experience of different areas of work over a period of around 18 months to two years. This generally includes attachments to a variety of departments in both technical and client-facing roles. Training usually includes courses covering the technical aspects of broking. Support and mentoring is provided by senior colleagues.
If you've got a place on the two-year Lloyd's Insurance Graduate Scheme, you'll get experience of the range of roles within insurance. You'll do four placements of six months duration - two within the Lloyd's Corporation and two within the Lloyd's market. You will also receive support towards achieving the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Advanced Diploma in Insurance as well as completing the Level 6 Senior Insurance Professional apprenticeship standard.
The Advanced Diploma in Insurance is a professional qualification providing an enhanced understanding of insurance practice and is the starting point for many graduate brokers. Employers will usually encourage you to follow professional qualifications, choosing modules relevant to the area you work in.
Once you hold the Advanced Diploma, you can use the designation ACII and can apply for chartered insurance broker status (subject to having five years' experience, not necessarily post-qualification) with the CII.
It's common for brokers to undergo general training and gain a few years' general experience before moving into a specialist sector, management roles or other functions within the industry. There is a clear career route within the profession with opportunities to move into other areas of insurance.
Specialist roles include:
- insurance account executive
- technical broker
- claims broker
- new business executive or manager (whose role is to find and develop new business relationships for a firm)
- sales manager (whose role it is to allocate new business once the initial client interest has been generated).
You may go on to specialise in one area of insurance, such as risk management, aviation, marine, household or motor. You may work in specialist departments in large companies or for small specialist firms.
Progression into management is possible, managing a team of brokers or several branches of a broking firm.
Opportunities also exist to move in to related areas of work, such as underwriting or loss adjusting.