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From the frontline: good and bad of an insurance career 

The 2023 Insurance News Wellbeing Survey received thousands of frank and insightful opinions from brokers, underwriters, claims experts and other professionals who make up the sector.  

You can read a detailed review of the findings in the latest Insurance News Magazine. Many comments did not make it into that article though, and today we share some of those opinions. 

We asked what you like about working in insurance – and what you don’t. The replies offer candid viewpoints on management, discrimination, remuneration, technology, interpersonal experiences, motivation and other relevant issues. 

We asked respondents to be frank about what they would change about their job in insurance. These answers generally related to compliance woes, lingering bias and gender pay gaps, dated technology and manual processes, onerous workloads, in-house politics, the hard market, and being painted as bad guys.  

On the plus side, you told us you value the variety (“no two claims are the same”), the sense of community, being challenged and problem solving, and making a difference. 

Here is a selection of the many comments we received – starting with the bad news and ending with the good. We hope the feedback can be a constructive force for positive change: and thanks to all those who participated. 

STIGMA: ‘An easy whipping post’ 

  • “It has a terribly negative reputation outside of the industry which is largely unjustified, perpetuated by the media who highlight the bad not the good that we do every day.” 
  • “Others outside insurance don’t understand what I do, there are negative connotations.” 
  • “There is a stigma that we are all about ripping people off.” 
  • “We are an easy whipping post for the media.” 
  • “The public think we look to deny claims.” 
  • “The whole industry can be tarred with the same brush when one player does something.” 
  • “Negative stereotyping and media stories when 99% of claims are covered.” 
  • “Insurance is an easy target for the media and it actually doesn't help customers to tell these stories when it’s not the case for the majority of customers.” 
  •  “The perception could improve with more standardised entry requirements.” 

THE COAL FACE: ‘I manage bad news all the time’ 

  • “There can be angry or upset clients.” 
  • “Out of touch executive management have lost the understanding of what is impacting brokers at the coal face.” 
  •  "Angry customers call about the huge increases in their premiums.” 
  • “Incumbents are drowning in legacy systems and technology. It affects employee experience and customer experience terribly.” 
  • “Salaries for frontline staff are too low.” 
  • “People at a higher level who have never been brokers tell us how to do the job better. You need to have got your hands dirty.” 

WORKLOADS AND BURNOUT: ‘It’s a tough environment’  

  • “There is too much work after all the storms, extreme pressure to get the claims sorted.” 
  • “The hours people are working is abuse.” 
  • “Overload. I feel like I constantly live in a state of stress and client demands can be a real challenge.” 
  • “It's a tough environment for our people – more aggressive customers, economic stress, legacy systems.” 
  • “Good workers are punished with more expectation.” 
  • “We need to better reward and better invest in our people.” 
  • “In a connected environment, everyone wants something yesterday.”  
  • “Employees expected to be on call 24/7. It’s abusive behaviour.” 
  • “Constant pressure to do more with less.” 
  • “Some claims are complex and some insureds and brokers have unrealistic expectations as to how long this should take.” 
  • “Very behind on technology, way too much admin is still required in 2023.” 
  • “Boards have no diversity of thought and representatives from the frontline workers.” 

REGULATION: ‘Extremely unrealistic and stressful’ 

  • “Compliance and regulation is strangling this industry.” 
  • “Over regulation based on Hayne – a few bad eggs doing rotten stuff to consumers but a massive over reaction from government and regulators.” 
  • “It’s making some aspects of the role tedious and frustrating.” 
  • “Compliance is extremely unrealistic and stressful. ASIC is ignorant of the stress it’s created.” 
  • “Intense demands on workforce in an increasingly regulated environment.” 
  • “Compliance is killing the industry, does not help the consumer.” 

DIVERSITY: ‘Slow moving and resistant to change’ 

  • “It still feels very male dominated/boy’s club. The progress is very slow.”  
  • “Very resistant to change and the gender pay gap is appalling.”  
  • “It's cumbersome, slow moving and difficult to get new ideas and innovation over the line due to conservative policies from head offices based overseas.”  
  • “Patriarchy behaviour – still very much a golf and drinking culture.”  
  • “Sexism still pervades and an outdated culture of doing deals over lunch refuses to die.” 
  • “Dinosaur management practices. Preach diversity, practice conformity.” 
  • “Still too many chauvinists!” 
  • “Improving the metrics beyond gender are dire. Just look at all the conference photos, everyone looks the same.” 
  • “The whole industry needs to modernise and realise drinking beer and chatting isn't what will take the industry forward. Even the dress code is behind, too formal still.” 
  • “Change can be slow, it's still pale male and stale.” 
  • “Status quo: a bit bloated and slow moving.” 
  • “I am in the majority (middle aged white male). I understand the need to balance out gender within the business, however that then reduces my ability to grow into the next level of role.”  
  • “The gender pay gap and inappropriate behaviour hasn't been handled well but this is slowly improving and I suspect will improve rapidly in the next five years.” 


  • “The perception makes it tricky to attract good talent.” 
  • “The younger brokers of today are not getting the mentorship and knowledge passed down from their seniors.” 
  • “The wealth of knowledge in the workplace is reducing year by year and the inexperience and lack of knowhow is alarming.” 
  • “Qualifications don't seem to mean much and I worked so hard for mine.” 
  • “As an industry, we do not succession plan very well – or promote ourselves as a career option, hence we have not a lot of young talent to build.” 


  • “It's the industry that no one ever strives for at school but delivers so much back to the community and those who work in insurance.” 
  • “We get to do the best job in the world and make great friends doing it.” 
  • “It is an intense, rich and vibrant environment to be part of. One of the best kept secrets of the workforce.” 
  • “You can have many different careers: actuarial, reinsurance, claims etc. Not many industries offer that.” 
  • “You can do well for yourself financially but won't be working 80-hour weeks like you would in law or banking. Also it is a very social industry.” 
  • “Insurance is very much underrated as a career.” 
  • “It is not seen as ‘fun’ but it is a fantastic profession.”    
  • “I would not change. Opportunities to progress and satisfaction of helping people when most in need.” 
  • “It is starting to develop a good vibe and has become less conservative.” 
  • “I like helping ordinary Australians navigate life's curve balls.” 
  • “You will be involved in amazingly interesting processes that the general public may not ever be aware of.” 
  • “No day is ever boring.” 
  • “Insurance companies will never go extinct.” 
  • “I really love helping customers with empathy, without ego, with kindness and intelligence, authenticity and knowledge.” 
  • “In 41 years, I have been exposed to the best and worst of what mother nature and the industry has had to offer and loved every minute of it.” 
  • “It’s a wonderful career, I feel like I belong and that there is always a place for someone who wants to work and likes a varied and diverse job.”  
  • “It's fascinating. No other industry touches every part of society like insurance does.” 
  • “There are some stellar people working in the industry and I'm glad I've been able to get to know some of them.” 
  • “Everybody in our little network/family understands each other’s pain points, it's a very tight-knit community.” 
  • “I have not long started and I love everything about it. I am still learning but hope to be here until retirement time.” 
  • "Worked 50 years in the industry, struggling with retirement.” 
  • “Many of the people in the industry are good – not just likeable but have strong ethics and judgement and also consideration for other human beings.” 
  • “Will always be needed. It's about people, it matters.”