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 (2017)*||$49,710 (for insurance sales agents)|
|Career Outlook (2016-2026)*||10% growth (for insurance sales agents)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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 a growth of 10% for insurance sales agents for the 2016-2026 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 2017 was $49,710. 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 2016-2026 decade at 15%. The median wage of this career was $90,640 in 2017.
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. Four percent job decline was predicted by the BLS in these positions, from 2016-2026. In 2017, advertising sales agents earned an annual median salary of $49,680.