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Insurance risk surveyors assess the potential financial risk posed by offering insurance cover for items or sites, and provide underwriters with information about how to reduce risk or whether insurance cover should be offered.

Insurance risk surveyors typically specialise in fire, theft, engineering insurance or accidents and public liability.

What does an insurance risk surveyor do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Insurance risk surveyors may work in a general capacity, but they usually specialise in a particular area, such as: fire, accidents and public liability, theft or engineering insurance. Typical responsibilities include:

  • visiting sites alone or with underwriters
  • assessing and evaluating risk to buildings, employees or customers by undertaking appropriate research
  • carrying out detailed site surveys
  • writing and proofreading reports for underwriters
  • providing advice to clients and making recommendations about required improvements
  • assigning quality grades after improvements have been made
  • liaising with health and safety inspectors, clients, insurance brokers and underwriters
  • collecting photographs as evidence
  • maintaining awareness of changes in legislation and trading processes.

Typical employers of insurance risk surveyors

  • General insurance or reinsurance companies
  • Local authorities
  • Specialist surveying firms
  • Insurance risk management departments
  • Life insurance or assurance companies and brokers

Vacancies are advertised online, by careers services, specialist recruitment agencies, in newspapers including The Financial Times and The London Evening Standard and in publications such as Insurance Times and Insurance Post, plus their online equivalents. Vacancies tend to generate strong competition, making early applications advisable.

Qualifications and training required

A degree is usually required for entry into the profession, though it is not absolutely essential. Qualifications in subjects such as business studies, law, management, insurance, mathematics, risk management, economics or engineering can be helpful. Previous insurance industry/underwriting experience is strongly advised. Some graduates enter risk surveying immediately after graduating and some large insurance companies run graduate schemes. It is advisable to gain professional insurance qualifications, such as those with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), as this will aid career prospects.

It is possible for school leavers to become insurance risk surveyors by starting in an entry-level position with a risk management team, such as an admin role. You can then progress by gaining experience and professional insurance qualifications. For more information, see our article on how to get into a career in finance on TARGETcareers.

Key skills for insurance risk surveyors

  • Commercial awareness
  • Diplomacy and negotiation skills
  • Strong time management skills
  • The ability to work effectively under pressure
  • Excellent IT skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Teamwork as well as the ability to work independently
  • Communication skills to explain complex ideas to people from a variety of backgrounds
  • Attention to detail

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