“As a lot of people do, I actually fell into it,” says Cynthia Huang, an Underwriting Team Lead for Northbridge Insurance. “I applied for an underwriting assistant position when I was in university so I could get some real-life job experience. It seemed like a good industry, so I stayed in it even after I graduated. Luckily, it seems that things are changing and more and more people are choosing to go into insurance as they realize it’s a good industry to be in.”
10 years since beginning her career in the insurance industry right from university, Huang is thriving. Better yet, finds her mentorship position at Northbridge Insurance both rewarding and fun.
When people think of the insurance industry, often one thing comes to mind: Sales. However, contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot more to industry.
“I think a lot of people think it’s really boring,” says Cynthia, “they kind of think of the sleazy insurance salesperson.”
“I feel like there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the industry. People don’t really understand what the field is like or they don’t really know what kind of career choices are available. You deal with a lot of people and it’s a pretty small community, so you build a lot of lasting relationships. There’s a lot of events and functions within the industry that you attend, so it’s actually a lot of fun to go to these events and see people that you deal with on a daily basis.”
For Cynthia, a typical day is filled with meetings and mentorships. “A lot of my job is training and coaching the underwriters,” says Cynthia. “I attend a lot of meetings to go over processes and changes that need to be discussed and then relay back to the team.”
Although she still handles files to help her team when the workload gets too hectic, most of her workday is spent coaching her junior team members and acting as a technical resource.
“I’m a very curious person and I love to learn, so I think it’s really great to be able to learn about different operations on a daily basis. You become a bit of a generalist, which is great when you meet people and can converse on almost any topic.”
With the economic climate a whirlwind of ups and downs, it’s common to see friends and family laid-off due to the economy’s ebbs and flows. Unlike many other industries, insurance is as steady and safe as they come. In the height of the 2008 recession, Cynthia was not only employed immediately after graduation, but was recruited before even finishing school.
“It’s a very stable industry and, if you work hard, you can advance quickly. It’s also very flexible,” says Cynthia. “You can try a few different jobs in insurance if you don’t find one that fits, without losing your experience.”
“For example, if you try an underwriting role and it’s not really for you, you can then switch over to a broker role and you don’t really lose your experience. You don’t start off from the bottom again, because it’s transferrable. The same thing if you move to an adjusting role, you don’t lose that experience either.”
With insurance being a very broad industry, there are multitudes of positions and roles that fit just about anyone.
“I think anyone would enjoy a career in insurance,” Cynthia says. “One of the best things about insurance is the variety of careers available and the flexibility in moving from one job to another because the knowledge and experience is transferrable. So, if you like working with people and have an inquisitive mind, it’s definitely a great career choice.”