How to Start Your Career and Thrive in the Insurance Industry

Success in the insurance industry requires both academic and professional commitment. “Focus on how you can develop yourself outside the classroom,” says Jeff Brzozowski, university relations manager for Travelers field programs. “A lot of employers want to see a balance between academics and experience outside the classroom, such as internships, volunteerism and on-campus involvement.”

Success in the insurance industry requires both academic and professional commitment. “Focus on how you can develop yourself outside the classroom,” says Jeff Brzozowski, university relations manager for Travelers field programs. “A lot of employers want to see a balance between academics and experience outside the classroom, such as internships, volunteerism and on-campus involvement.”

How can you get started and thrive in careers in the insurance industry? Professionals from Travelers Insurance, one of the nation’s leading carriers, discuss what it takes to have a rewarding and versatile career in underwriting or claims. Check out their tips and info on internships with the company.

An aging population, regulatory changes, increases in meteorological disasters and a booming economy make insurance one of the growth sectors of the American economy. While insurtech – the use of technological innovations to maximize efficiency in the insurance process – is changing the landscape of the industry, today’s college graduates are prime candidates for positions such as underwriters and claims professionals as older generations retire.

Mihaylo College’s Center for Insurance Studies (CIS) is committed to providing education and networking opportunities for Cal State Fullerton students seeking insurance careers. Among their main annual events is iDay, which draws thousands of students and company representatives to the largest insurance career fair in Southern California.

This year’s event on Oct. 18 featured 30 companies, as well as three speakers from sponsor Travelers Insurance, including Nicky Nguyen ’09 (business administration), middle market commercial lines underwriter; Jeff Brzozowski, university relations manager for Travelers field programs; and Kenneth Harrison ’07 (MBA), managing director of commercial accounts for Travelers. They discussed the current state of insurance markets and how students can best leverage themselves for careers in the field.

Intern at Travelers to Prepare for an Insurance Career

Travelers Insurance has a major presence in Southern California, employing more than 1,000 people in their mission to provide comprehensive and affordable coverage for individuals and businesses.

“You can have a full 20- to 25-year career with our company,” said Nguyen. “There is a lot of opportunity in Southern California, with offices in Diamond Bar, Irvine and Glendale.”

The company provides 10-week, full-time paid summer internships, with specializations available in such areas as actuarial science, business intelligence, claims, financial management, human resources, information technology, insurance operations, product management, risk control and underwriting. Due to high demand, students are encouraged to apply for summer 2018 opportunities this fall.

Cal State Fullerton’s annual iDay, which connects thousands of students with industry professionals, is the largest insurance-themed career fair in Southern California.

Cal State Fullerton’s annual iDay, which connects thousands of students with industry professionals, is the largest insurance-themed career fair in Southern California.

Tips for Success

As with most industries, today’s insurance employers are looking for both academic success and professional experience.

“Focus on how you can develop yourself outside the classroom,” says Brzozowski. “A lot of employers want to see a balance between academics and experience outside the classroom, such as internships, volunteerism and on-campus involvement.”

The rise of technology is transforming insurance careers, particularly for underwriters, who now often have a data collection and decision-making role. “Resourcefulness, accountability, resilience, communication skills, customer focus and decision-making abilities are most in demand,” says Harrison.

Making a strong impression during the interview process is also vital, particularly because many underwriting and claims positions require multiple rounds of interviews. “Promising applicants often ask us why they did not advance to the final round of interviews,” says Harrison. “We find that displaying confidence and knowledge is often a determining factor.”

For More on Insurance Careers

For more on preparing for insurance careers, visit CIS at SGMH 4280. The center hosts various speakers and offers academic undergraduate and graduate insurance programs, scholarships, and job-placement resources.

About dcoats

I'm Daniel Coats, a CSU Fullerton Communications graduate student
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