Become a Property Casualty Manager: Career Roadmap

Aug 10, 2018

Learn how to become a property casualty manager. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career in property casualty insurance. View article »

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  • 0:00 Property Casualty Manager
  • 1:10 Career Requirements
  • 2:01 Career Steps

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Video Transcript

Property Casualty Managers

Property casualty insurance covers loss or damage inflicted by natural disasters and accidents. It protects individuals and businesses from potential losses by providing insurance coverage for cars, businesses, and homes. Property casualty managers oversee the sales and claims of these types of insurance policies. Tasks generally include generating new business and developing new clients, hiring and supervising members of the insurance team, reviewing client benefits, and making sure that the team or department meets company goals and standards.

Property casualty managers usually work full-time hours, although overtime is possible. Some evening and/or weekend hours may be required in order to meet work demands or process time-sensitive insurance claims. The majority of work hours spent by such managers are within an office setting although some travel to see property damage may be needed. The career is not physically demanding and, though it can be stressful, usually offers competitive wages which may include incentives for insurance policies sold.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None; bachelor's sometimes required
Degree Field Any; courses in management, accounting, and marketing are helpful
Licensure Vary; most states require property/casualty insurance licensure
Experience 1-5 years
Key Skills Strong interpersonal skills; excellent written and verbal communications; analytical, customer-service, math, sales, leadership/management, and basic computer skills
Salary (2016) $77,607 (median for all claims managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Online job postings (February 2013), Salary.com (August 2015)

For these managers, no degree is required, but some employers may require a bachelor's degree. There isn't a specified major, but courses in accounting, marketing and management are helpful. Licensure requirements vary, but most states require individuals to be licensed in property/casualty insurance. Additionally, many jobs call for several years of experience. The key skills for property casualty managers are strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and verbal communications, analytical skills, customer-service skills, math skills, sales abilities, leadership/management skills, and basic computer skills. In 2016, claims managers earned a median annual salary of $77,607, stated Payscale.com. Now let's check out the career steps for property casualty managers.

Career Steps

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree Program

Although having a bachelor's degree isn't required in all cases, many insurance companies prefer hiring candidates with a degree. Aspiring property casualty managers can pursue any major, although taking business-related courses, such as business law, finance and statistics are helpful in preparing students for the rigors of the career. Additionally, some universities and colleges offer degrees such as insurance studies or risk management and insurance. These specialized degree programs are designed to prepare students for entering the insurance industry. They typically include courses such as business law, marketing technology, selling techniques, insurance operations, risk management principles, and insurance practices, as well as business courses and liberal arts courses.

Different degree programs may give students the background necessary to specialize in a particular aspect of insurance. An additional background in engineering or architecture can prove beneficial for property casualty work, which often deals with structural damage and its financial impact.

Step 2: Research Licensing Requirements

Although the requirements vary from state to state, many states require individuals working in insurance to become licensed. To be eligible for licensure, individuals typically need to complete pre-licensure education and pass a state licensure examination. Other requirements may include submitting to a background check and being fingerprinted.

In most states, insurance professionals must renew the license every 1-2 years. Renewal requirements typically include submitting an application, paying a renewal fee and completing continuing education.

Step 3: Gain Professional Experience

Gaining hands-on work experience is a crucial step in preparing for a management-level position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although the preferred amount of experience varies, most employers look for candidates with a minimum of 1-5 years of experience in insurance or a related field.

There are a variety of entry-level positions that can serve as paths into the insurance industry. A few examples include policy underwriters, claims adjusters and investigators. Entry-level insurance professionals generally work on smaller claims while receiving substantial supervision from experienced professionals. As aspiring property casualty managers gain experience and expertise, they receive increasing independence and start working on increasingly complex insurance claims. Similarly, beginning sales agents learn the nuances of writing policies and interacting with clients by working underneath a more experienced agent.

Step 4: Consider Earning a Certification or Professional Designation

Becoming certified isn't necessary, but it may offer a competitive edge in the job market, since certification demonstrates professional expertise. Likewise, having a college degree may offer increased job opportunities. Some certification options include designations such as the Associate in Management (AIM) designation. There is also the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which is issued by the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters. To earn the AIM designation, individuals must complete specific management-oriented courses and pass an examination. To earn the CPCU designation, candidates must have 2 years of experience, take a CPCU course and a CPCU ethics course before taking the multiple-choice exam.

It's important to research the requirements for maintaining the designation or certification. Requirements for certification renewal vary depending on the organization. Most certifications and designations need to be renewed periodically. Renewals may require completing an application, paying a renewal fee and completing some form of continuing education.

To recap, with a post-secondary education, licensure, and on-the-job training, as well as possibly certification, a property casualty manager can earn about $78,000 a year to oversee the sales and claims of property and casualty insurance policies.

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