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Is Specialty Insurers a Good Career Path?

Specialty InsuranceSpecialty Insurance
min read
August 21, 2023

Working as a specialty insurer can be an exciting and rewarding career path. You can get started in an entry-level position with a high school diploma and work your way up as you gain experience and education. 

The above-average pay will help you live the life you want. And in many cases, you can work from home, giving you some flexibility over your schedule.

So, let's get started if you're ready to explore your insurance market career options.

What Are Specialty Insurers?

Specialty insurers focus on unique or high-risk policies for businesses and people that can't get the coverage they need through standard insurance policies. A specialty insurer might cover an electrician who deals with really high voltages or companies that perform heavy machine operations, like oil rigging or mining.

Still, all different types of companies might want specialty insurance depending on the risks they face. For example, a restaurant on the banks of a river that has been known to overflow, may need flood insurance (which is considered specialty).

Let's look at a few examples of this type of insurance so you can get a feel for it.

Examples of Specialty Insurance

Specialty insurers also provide custom policies and services, such as insurance audits to ensure proper coverage or educational seminars for clients.

Since these insurers offer unique and specialized insurance products, they assess risks differently than those in more traditional forms of insurance. 

For example, regular homeowners insurance can use automated underwriting for most clients—a process that quickly determines risks based on a set of standard questions. 

But with specialized insurance, underwriters have to look more closely at the specifics of each client. What one person or business needs is going to be different from another, so the underwriting process is typically more hands-on.

What Do These Insurers Do?

Specialty insurers help clients get the unusual insurance coverage they need for themselves or their business. In doing so, they may carry out the following tasks: 

Should You Go into Traditional Insurance or Specialize? 

If you're not quite sure you want to stick with general coverage or dive into the world of specialty insurance, here are a few questions you can ask yourself: 

How Much Can You Make as a Specialty Insurer?

The pay in this field varies based on your job description, but you can expect to earn hourly anywhere from $23.96 as a sales agent to $50.91 as an actuary. This is an average hourly rate that's above the median wage in the United States, which is $22.00 as of the latest data.

If we're looking at yearly salaries, Indeed has the average insurance agent in the United States earning a base salary of $54,525 and actuaries averaging $118,159. So, these jobs pay pretty well. 

Additional data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that, overall, people working for insurance carriers and doing activities like underwriting, claims processing, or selling policies, worked an average of 37.9 hours and earned $41.52 per hour. PayScale reports that the average salary of everyone in insurance is $70,000 a year.

Of course, you may need to start off in an entry-level position that doesn't pay as high. But there's plenty of room to grow in this field, and as your experience goes up, so does your pay.

Is Specialty Insurers a Good Career Path for Everyone?

A specialty insurer is a good path for people with an analytical mind who like to dive deep into niche topics. The job can also let you be your own boss, have flexibility with your days, and make a good living.

Here are some other signs a career as a specialty insurer may be the job of your dreams: 

Of course, jobs in this industry aren't for everyone. Below are some signs that you may want to reconsider your career choice.  

Where Can You Work as a Specialty Agent?

Within the broad field of specialty insurance, you can work either for a company or for yourself. For example, you can work inside an insurance company as an employee in roles like claims adjuster or actuary. Or, you can work instead for the insurance company in a contract position, such as a loss control consultant or a sales agent.

As far as types of businesses, there are job opportunities at general insurance companies if you specialize in one of their more unique offerings. Or, you can find a job with a company selling only specialized coverage, such as flood, marine cargo (for shipped goods lost at sea), or cyber insurance.

You could even branch out and start your own insurance agency by selling one or more types of specialty coverage once you have the licenses you need. 

Either way, you have lots of options in this industry.

Career Opportunities for Specialty Insurance Professionals

It takes many different people to make an insurance company run smoothly. Underwriters, claims adjusters, risk managers, and actuarial analysts are some of the most common job titles. 

Of course, depending on the type of insurance you work with, you may have a more specific job title. For example, you might be a Marine Insurance Underwriter instead of just an underwriter. Or a Specialty Auto Claims Adjuster instead of just a generic claims adjuster. 

Let's dive deeper into some job opportunities you might discover on this career path and their average salary. But keep in mind that depending on what you specialize in, this number could go up or down.


Average salary: $76,390

An insurance underwriter is responsible for looking at the risks each client poses and determining their insurability. In this role, you'd help set prices for insurance policies and work with your company to determine what's specifically included or excluded for each one.  

To do well in this role, you need a strong understanding of industry policies and rules and be able to analyze data when creating or adjusting policies.

Claims Adjuster

Average salary: $64,710

When clients need to file a claim, they contact a claims adjuster. This person reviews the information provided by the client, inspects the damages, looks at any police reports associated with the incident, and gathers more information as needed. 

They must have excellent customer service skills and be able to assess the accuracy of claims to ensure they're processed correctly for policyholders.

Risk Manager

Average salary: $84,201

Risk managers develop strategies for minimizing risks for the insurance firm as a whole, helping to keep costs down and protect against potential losses. 

These people need to have a good understanding of the insurance industry and be able to identify risks the company could be engaging in. Then, they'll need to recommend changes in a way that aligns with their employer's goals.


Average salary: $105,900

Actuaries play a critical role in helping insurance companies set rates for their policies. They review risks, determine the probability that events are going to occur, and analyze data to make decisions.  

You'll need strong analytical skills to help insurers set appropriate policy prices.


Average salary: $61,030

A liability analyst determines if a filed claim falls within a policy's scope of coverage and if the insurance company has to pay the claim. 

With this responsibility, they must know industry regulations for the type of insurance involved and have excellent critical thinking skills to make sound decisions under challenging circumstances.

Insurance Agent or Broker

Average salary: $49,840

Like traditional types of insurance, specialty insurance companies often employ insurance brokers and agents to market their products and act as insurance sales representatives.

People in this role must be knowledgeable about the industry and have excellent customer service skills.

Loss Control Consultant

Average salary: $80,859

Risks abound when it comes to insurance, so insurance firms hire loss control consultants to try to minimize risks for the company. People in this role must be able to think on their feet to identify risky situations and brainstorm solutions to help protect the company. 

These consultants must have a strong understanding of the industry in general and the specific types of coverage being offered. 

What Skills Do You Need?

Working as this type of insurer requires excellent problem-solving skills, strong attention to detail, and a solid understanding of the industry you're working in. Let's look at these and other vital skills you'll need in this field.

Educational Requirements for Specialized Insurance Professionals

The kind of education you'll need will vary depending on the company and specific job title. For example, the requirements for an actuary are going to be higher than for an entry-level insurance agent position. 

Typically, you can enter the field with anything from a high school diploma to an advanced college degree. If you're required to have an associate's or bachelor's degree, you'll want to get one in a related field, such as: 

You may also need to get an active insurance license or other credentials from professional organizations. 

And since insurance is constantly changing, plan on attending continuing education classes throughout your career to keep your skills sharp. Many states have laws requiring insurance professionals to complete a certain number of training hours each year.

Top 6 Tips for Finding a Job with a Specialized Insurance Company

Is the world of specialty coverage calling your name? If you want to give your clients the best customer service, being knowledgeable and skilled in your chosen area is essential. 

This skill set often comes with experience. So depending on the type of specialty insurer you want to become, you may need to get some related experience under your belt before you are hired for your dream job. 

These tips can help you get your start. 

Tip 1: Consider Internships

One way to increase your chances of landing a job is through an internship with an insurer. Internships can give you experience and make you more competitive in the job market.

Tip 2: Take Classes

Each type of insurance has its own jargon. So even if you have some experience in insurance, it's wise to take specialized classes focusing on the specific type (or types) of coverage you want to break into. 

This way, you know the vocabulary to use when you interview and work with clients. It also shows that you're proactive and willing to keep up with changes in the industry. 

Tip 3: Network

Contact insurance professionals through LinkedIn, attend industry events and join professional organizations. This is an excellent way to let people know you're looking for an opportunity in this field.

Tip 4: Be Willing to Advance

Your dream job might not be available in your initial search. That doesn't mean you can't get there eventually, though. Take on entry-level positions and take advantage of any training or education to advance yourself within a company.

Tip 5: Search Online for Jobs

You can look on insurance company websites or scour their social media profiles. When you find a job opportunity, customize your resume and cover letter for that specific company. Don't send out a blanket resume for every opening. 

This takes time and requires research, but it can help you stand out from the competition.

Tip 6: Follow Up

After submitting your application, take the time to follow up with a phone call or email. This can show employers that you're serious about getting the job. Then, if you land an interview, send a thank you note within 24 hours. It may seem old-fashioned, but it can help keep your name at the top of their list.

So Many Possibilities!

When you start a career as a specialty insurer, so many possibilities lay before you. It's like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels you read back in middle school. 

You can pick a specific type of coverage to focus on. Or you can work with a company that offers several different kinds of policies to add some variety to your day. 

Then, you can decide what position you're interested in. You can start as a broker or agent and work your way up. Or you can spend some more time in college and apply for a job as an actuary or loss consultant. 

No matter what choices you make along the way, specialty insurance is a good career path with plenty of room to grow. So send out some applications and land your dream job. Your future in insurance is bright! 

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