Insurance Pros Offer Insight to Working in the Industry

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On Wednesday, September 11, Ohio Insurance Institute held an Insurance Executive Panel at the University of Akron, which added a Risk Management and Insurance major to their curriculum in the fall of 2017.

The purpose of the panel was to provide students with an idea of what it is like working in the insurance industry, what kind of jobs are available, address misconceptions, and answer questions they may have about entering the field. 

To open, each panelist introduced themselves and told the audience a bit about their career journey. Panelists included: 

Chuck Crist – Claims Business Leader, Progressive
Susan Kent – Vice President and Chief Analytics Officer, Ohio Mutual Insurance Group
John Kessler – Senior Vice President and Strategy Officer, Encova Insurance
Jim Merz – Chief Actuarial and Analytics Officer, Westfield
Elise Spriggs – Senior Vice President, Associate and External Relations, State Auto

Changing the Industry for a Changing World

The first topic discussed was how the insurance industry addresses new types businesses, specifically Airbnb and Uber.

For instance, typical car insurance does not usually cover vehicles used in ride share companies such as Uber and Lyft, but since these companies don’t own the vehicles, insurance companies have been presented with a unique challenge to figure out how to insure these vehicles and the people within them.

The audience learned that the insurance industry is constantly evolving as the rest of the world and technology evolves more rapidly than ever before, making insurance an exciting career for solving problems and turning ideas into action to keep up with consumer needs.

Insurance and Technology

Throughout the panel, the topic of technology continuously made its way into the discussion.

The audience learned how the insurance industry embraces technology in their work, including using drones to review a claim, which also mitigates risk by using a drone to complete a job rather than a human.

Closing Tips for Students and Interviews

Toward the end of the afternoon, the panel was asked what the insurance industry is doing to encourage students to pursue insurance careers.

All panelists agreed that the industry is working to make itself more attractive to potential employees, with more and more companies offering flexible jobs and hours and a more casual dress code. And with so many insurance companies, of all different sizes, operating all over Ohio, there is no better state to look for an insurance career.

Insurance is also an industry where employees can find meaning and see the value of their work.

Panelist Elise Spriggs summed up what working in the insurance industry is like by saying “you are there for people in some of their worst times to help them, and that’s a meaningful thing.”

When asked what students can do to stand out from their competition, John Kessler replied “Attitude and aptitude with a focus on attitude. Soft skills, interpersonal skills, and relationship building skills are just as important as you knowledge of insurance.”

Other career tips included taking advantage of internship opportunities, making sure you research the company you are interviewing for, and if you are offered a job, know exactly what your role will entail before you commit, and networking by asking someone who works in the industry to meet for coffee.

With 29,000 insurance jobs in Ohio needing to be filled by 2024, there is no better time or place to pursue a career in the insurance industry. Take our Career Survey to find an insurance career that’s right for you!


  1. Smith Miller's avatar
    Smith Miller
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    Alchemy Insurance Agency provides free insurance quotes for commercial insurance, life insurance, home insurance, auto insurance, farm insurance, business insurance, etc in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas & Oklahoma locations.

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