Fund management is a part of the insurance industry that more senior hires typically enter, said Martyn Drage, a careers consultant for finance at Henley Business School.
He admitted that insurance groups have been behind the curve in proactively and aggressively recruiting MBA students, but said that there is huge pent up demand for talent. “The industry is getting up to speed,” Martyn said.
He added that Lloyds of London, the world’s leading insurance market, competes effectively with investment banks for employees.
Insurers are also pitching themselves as offering wealth management opportunities, said Pauline Ma, senior finance career coach at GWU School of Business’s Career Center.
Private wealth management has been an area of career growth across sectors for business graduates.
At INSEAD, a global business school with campuses in Europe, Singapore and Abu Dubai, insurance companies Zurich and Liberty Mutual have been active in recruiting MBAs, said Adrian Wu from the school’s Career Development Centre.
Liberty, a US insurer that has a big presence in Singapore, has also been hiring MBA students for leadership roles in Asia Pacific, said John Gurskey, director of the Career Management Centre at Melbourne Business School.
Insurers are investing heavily in data to hone their digital edge, while some fund management groups using computer-driven investment processes.
Large listed insurance groups like Standard Life, Prudential and Old Mutual have fund management units which are benefiting from the financial sector’s mining of big data.
With more data underwriters may be able to write policies for those they have previously turned down.
It could also help insurance companies to attract more corporate clients who are looking for products that will help them manage the risk of workers who live longer in retirement than they were expected to.
Insurance firms are using sophisticated data analytics techniques to analyse how consumers behave.
Data are changing the way car insurance units assess customers and price policies, for instance, with some even using telematics technology, which allows insurers to monitor driving habits.
“MBA students really need to understand the implications of big data,” said John at Melbourne.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, asset managers have begun to organize their approach to big data to improve performance, with many hiring specifically in this area.
The Chartered Insurance Institute, the professional body, estimated that 73% of insurance employers had a skills deficit in 2014, up 15% on the year before, and 62% found it difficult to attract new talent.
Ashwin Mistry, president of the body, said that the findings “lay down a challenge” to the industry. “We need to work together to tackle shortages and recruitment issues,” he added.