Insurance Risk Surveyor

The Job and What's Involved

Insurance risk surveyors, also known as risk analysts or risk advisers, carry out surveys of buildings, machinery, transport and other sites or items that need to be insured.

As a risk surveyor, you would produce reports to help underwriters decide on the terms and conditions of insurance policies. You would normally specialise in one of the following areas:

Fire and Perils – examining plans, construction and fire protection systems to assess the risks to a building and its contents.

Accidents and Liability – assessing the possible risks to employees, customers and visitors to a building or site.

Engineering Insurance – surveying mechanical and industrial plants, machinery and equipment for faults and risks.

Burglary and Theft – inspecting business premises to check security and storage methods.

In all areas, a key part of your work would be to make sure that companies have identified and implemented appropriate risk management strategies, considered possible scenarios and introduced health and safety systems and procedures that address and minimise risks

You would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, although you may sometimes need to work unsocial hours as part of an 'on-call' rota.

Your time would be split between an office and the inspection sites. The job could sometimes involve working outdoors in all weather conditions and at heights.

Trainee salaries are around £22,000 a year. With some risk management and surveying experience, earnings can be between £22,000 and £44,000.

A risk manager can earn between £30,000 and £70,000 a year, potentially much more with board level duties. Top salaries for specialists and managers can reach £100,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

To become an insurance risk surveyor you will need one of the following backgrounds:

Substantial experience in the insurance industry (usually as an underwriter), or

Qualifications and experience in a related profession like building surveying, health and safety, engineering or fire safety.

You could work for insurance companies or brokers, specialist insurance surveying firms, or risk management consultancies.

In addition, medium to large commercial companies, local authorities, health trusts, fire and rescue service, police authorities and central government are large employers of risk management professionals.

Education and Training

Although risk surveying is not normally an entry-level job, some larger insurance companies run graduate training schemes for new entrants, often requiring at least a class 2:1 degree.

Although any degree subject is acceptable, qualifications in risk management, actuarial science, insurance, business studies, sciences, building surveying or engineering can be particularly useful.

If you are coming to risk surveying from an insurance background, employers will expect you to have achieved professional insurance qualifications, such as the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Insurance during your career.

For school and college leavers, there may be some entry-level administrative jobs within risk management teams, giving you the opportunity to progress. The Diploma in Business, Administration and Finance can provide a useful introduction to working in this sector.

See the related insurance profiles and online careers resources like Directions from the Financial Skills Partnership (www.directions.org.uk) for more information about getting into the insurance industry.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You will be trained on the job, working with an experienced surveyor to gain experience before working alone. Some companies offer in-house training schemes.

If you do not already have professional insurance qualifications, most employers will expect you to qualify as an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII), by studying for the CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance. You can do this through day release, evening classes or distance learning – see the CII's website for more details.

You can also study professional qualifications specific to risk management through the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), including:

  • International Certificate in Risk Management (broad introductory qualification).
  • International Diploma, a postgraduate-level qualification, leading to IRM membership.
  • Risk Management in Financial Services, comprising nine units, leading to Specialist membership of the IRM.

You could also progress to the CII MSc in Insurance and Risk Management. In addition, some people study for National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) qualifications.

Continuing professional development is usually needed to maintain membership status with professional bodies.

The CII and IRM run courses and seminars that can help you to keep your knowledge and skills up to date throughout your career. See websites for details.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An Insurance Risk Surveyor needs:

  • Excellent observational skills and attention to detail.
  • An enquiring mind.
  • A methodical approach to gathering information.
  • Good communication skills.
  • An assertive but tactful and persuasive manner.
  • An understanding of technical information and plans, and the ability to explain them clearly to non-experts.
  • Report-writing skills.
  • Computer skills.
  • The ability to work alone and also as part within a team.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to senior surveyor, head of a risk management department, or compliance and governance.

You could also move into insurance loss adjusting.

Get Further Information

Financial Skills Partnership,
51 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HQ
Tel: 0845 257 3772
Website: www.directions.org.uk

Institute of Risk Management, 6 Lloyd's Avenue,
London EC3N 3AX
Tel: 020 7709 9808
Website: www.theirm.org

Chartered Insurance Institute, 42-48 High Road,
South Woodford, London E18 2JP
Tel: 020 8989 8464
Websites: www.discoverrisk.co.uk and
www.cii.co.uk

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