Insurance has sometimes struggled to attract sufficient supplies of talent because, not only has it been regarded as a relatively stolid industry to work in, but it’s also not regarded as a particularly high-paying compared to other financial sector roles.
As we’ve pointed to previously, the ‘grey’ image the insurance sector has as a place to work is largely unjustified in the modern era, and while the sector still doesn’t pay as much as the likes of hedge funds, investment banking or private equity, salaries are still quite high in some roles.
According to specialist insurance recruiters, these are some of the highest paying roles in the industry.
1. Partner in a consultancy (typical pay £200k, plus bonus)
There are two sides to this career path – firstly, there are the ‘career consultants’, which according to figures provided by recruiters Morgan McKinley, have increased in numbers by 60% during 2011. This basically means that many senior actuaries or risk managers have taken the contract route (largely as a result of increased demand around Solvency II) where it’s possible to earn £2k a day.
However, there’s also the option of working in a leading insurance consultancy, and this is one of the top paying roles in the industry, says Steve Sangha, consultant at Morgan McKinley Insurance.
“A partner level role with one of the leading consultancies where they would be expected to be on a basic salary upwards of £200k with a possible 200% bonus,” he says.
2. Senior broking roles (possible packages of up to £250k)
Starting salaries for account executives in the broking space are not great – usually coming in at £22-30k, depending on whether you landed a place on a formal graduate training scheme or not. However, the more senior and specialist you become (and, obviously, the more business you’re able to bring in) the greater your earning potential.
“If you’re a director-level broker, you should expect a salary of around £100k,” says Lloyd Rosenthal, director, Hays Insurance. “If you have a niche specialism – marine or motor, for example – you can add another £15-20k, and with bonuses included total packages can exceed £250k.”
3. Pricing actuary in the Lloyds market (£150-180k)
Actuaries are among the highest earners in the insurance industry anyway, but adding in both the Lloyds market and a specialism helps bump up your earning potential further, according to Mark Dainty, director at insurance-focused recruiters High Finance Group.
“In the very broad spectrum of actuarial roles, the typical salaries are around £110k in the UK, whereas a pricing actuary working in the Lloyds market should expect £150-180k,” he says.
“Typically a chief actuary operating in the London insurance market will demand a basic salary of anything between £150k and £240k,” adds Sangha. “With demand for growth and change with the implementation of the industries modelling system of Solvency II increasing, there’s also a considerable need for chief actuaries to be experienced in capital modelling and knowledge of Solvency II implementation.”
4. Class underwriter, Lloyds market (typical pay £125-150k)
Underwriting is not one of the higher paying roles in insurance; if you’re working in a regional office, even more senior positions offer salaries of £40-65k a year. However, if you’re a class underwriter in a London-based role – which involves a degree of business development and more strategic analysis of underwriting performance, pay can be good.
“A class underwriter with some business development responsibilities generally earns between £125-150k in the London market,” says Rosenthal. “Where there’s more emphasis on bringing in new business, and potential for bonuses, packages can be as high as £200k.”
5. Solvency II technician (£90-150k)
Any actuary working on a Solvency II project can expect to be paid a premium. As we noted above, some contract rates can pay £2k a day. However, pay is more tempered in the permanent market, but still better than most roles. Research by Morgan McKinley puts the pay for ‘Solvency II technicians’ at £90-150k. The upper limit for other actuarial roles in its survey is £120k.