Health Insurance Professional: Job & Career Information

Health insurance professionals sell insurance coverage, process claims, assess risk, and design policy plans. They may work as agents or customer services representatives for large insurance carriers or as self-employed brokers. Read on to learn about the training, skills, salary, and employment outlook, to aid your career decision.

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Career Definition for Health Insurance Professionals

Health insurance professionals provide and evaluate coverage for individuals, families, and large groups. Agents may spend much of their day making sales calls and presentations to companies shopping for group plans. Claims specialists and customer service representatives often work on the telephone with policyholders, resolving issues and collecting information to process claims. Claims examiners review medical claims to control costs and underwriters evaluate policies for risk. Brokers often own their own agencies, selling plans from different carriers to their clients.

Education High school diploma or GED for administration, bachelor's degree for sales, management, underwriters, and actuaries; licensure is required for most upper level positions
Job Skills Problem solving, business management, interpersonal skills, data entry, marketing ability
Median Salary $48,200 (2015) for insurance sales agents
Career Outlook 9% growth (2014-2024) for insurance sales agents

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Educational and licensing requirements vary greatly in health insurance professions. Administrative positions generally require a high school diploma, while sales and managerial positions often require a bachelor's degree and licensure. Underwriters typically have a bachelor's degree in accounting or business administration, and actuaries generally have a bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics. Brokers, examiners, and sales agents must obtain state licenses, and most health insurance professions require continuing education to maintain certification and licensure. The National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research provides courses and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) certification.

Career Skills Required

Health insurance professionals need a variety of skills, depending on their position. Administrative personnel must have good office, computer and data entry skills. Sales and marketing professionals must be creative with good interpersonal skills and the ability to follow through on leads and with clients. Claims examiners and customer service reps must have good phone and problem-solving skills. Underwriters and actuaries need strong mathematical aptitude and must be detail-oriented. Independent brokers need good business management skills and marketing abilities.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts growth of 9% for insurance sales agents for the 2014-2024 decade. Demand is expected to grow for those that work in the health and long-term care insurance sectors as baby boomers age and Congress pushes carriers to make medical insurance more affordable. The BLS reports that the annual median salary for insurance sales agents in 2015 was $48,200. Compensation in health insurance professions varies by occupation, with workers earning commission, salary or hourly wages.

Alternate Career Options

Similar careers are:

Personal Financial Adviser

These advisers normally have at least a bachelor's degree, and some licensing, certification or registration may be required in order to sell certain types of products, in this profession that offers investment, tax, and insurance advice to people. Much faster than average expansion of jobs was forecast by the BLS for the 2014-2024 decade at 30%. The median wage of this career was $89,160 in 2015.

Advertising Sales Agent

With a high school diploma or the equivalent, in addition to on-the-job training, these agents sell advertising space to businesses and individual clients. 3% job decline was predicted by the BLS in these positions, from 2014-2024. In 2015, advertising sales agents earned an annual median salary of $48,490.

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