Risk managers can work within an insurance company or outside of one; in either case, they help insurance companies assess the potential risks involved in a project or business. They then provide the underwriters with information on levels of risk associated with each client, and the ways in which those risks could be minimised.
Some brokers recruit new entrants as trainee risk analysts, but a few companies take on new graduates as risk surveyors. Although a degree is not required for entry into the profession, most risk surveyors are graduates, and any degree is acceptable. Those who have studied risk management, economics, business studies, law, management, insurance or engineering subjects may succeed in gaining a training post. Previous experience in the insurance industry is usually necessary, often in the field of underwriting.
Communication skills are key, and you also need to be commercially aware, diplomatic and confident enough to deal with a wide range of people, from site workers to managing directors. You'll need to be a good negotiator with an analytical mind.
Client risk managers deliver the insurance needs of a project or business. They may also negotiate with contractors, and link with other uninsured risk evaluations. Those evaluations can relate equally to insured damage risks or uninsured financial losses which are dealt with either by contractual provisions or by prudent reserves.
Risk managers also set up a detailed claims handling programme with leading loss adjusters that can immediately start in the unlikely event of a major incident. They also welcome risk management teams from lead insurers, who will check for compliance and ensure that risk is properly identified and managed from the very top.
Risk managers may have a good legal knowledge and an understanding of current court practice either directly or through legal contacts. Good internal and external communication skills are important, given the sometimes huge scale of projects and numerous stakeholders.
A client risk manager might, on a major project, take a long term view of both risk and insurance, sometimes for over 10 years into the future, rather than dealing in annual cycles. So, being a strategic thinker with an eye for detail is a valuable part of the role.