Like many others within the industry, account executive Hetal Parmar (pictured), at Willis Towers Watson, never planned for a career in insurance. Many of those working within the sector started out across different backgrounds – law, banking, other areas of financial services – and in Parmar’s case it was pharmaceuticals.
Parmar spoke to Insurance Business about how her career path led her into insurance, and how the traditional view of insurance by the public is increasingly being challenged as insurers shift their focus towards the customer.
“I’ve had several turning points in my career,” Parmar said. “One was when I started in the insurance industry; I was a pharmacist, and so I decided to apply my knowledge in that field to life and medical underwriting. I never thought after doing pharmacy that I would land in insurance, I just fell into it, and I guess that’s what happens with most people in the sector. They fall into it, and they choose to stay there.”
“That’s how I started, and, back then, it was all about sales,” she continued.
“That’s not so much the case anymore, because clients are getting educated about what insurance is and how to deal with it. With the internet everywhere now, people have more access to knowledge and information – and because they know better, we have to provide better.”
Parmar says that a lot of the general population still has a view of insurance and brokers as entities that want to take money, and are reluctant to return it when a time of need arises. But she says working within insurance has solidified the inaccuracy of that perception for her, and that insurers always strive to be a vital support framework that kicks in when clients need it most.
“This perception is really not the case for us because we work within insurance in and out, and we ensure that the clients are looked after,” Parmar said. “If there’s an illness or death in the family, we give all our attention and support to that client. So as far as those of us who work day-to-day within insurance are concerned, that perception really doesn’t reflect what we do.”
“When it comes to entering the industry, people know that there’s a lot that you can do,” she concluded. “But there are often no clear career pathways to guide them through that, because insurance is still a fairly new industry. We need a clear starting point, and a clear path towards where people want to be.”