INTRODUCTION Insurance means being covered or protected against any hazards of life. It is a financial agreement that binds two people to certain obligations which is known as Policy. One who buys insurance/ gets insurance coverage is the policy holder or insured and the one who sells the policy is the insurer. From the time the insured signs the policy he/she has an obligation to pay a certain amount of money known as premium at regular intervals for a stipulated period to the insurer. In fact, insurance is a contract to pay a premium in return for which the insurer will pay compensation in certain eventualities e.g. fire, theft, motor accident, etc. The Indian insurance industry has witnessed exceptional growth with private participation. It has a mix of public and private players both in the field of life and non-life business. This sector not only provide a protective shield to the lives and assets of the nation but also generate thousands of jobs and career opportunities. The foremost choice to open a career in this field is to start as an insurance agent. They are the people who advice the individuals and enterprises about insurance protection to their health, life and properties and sell the policies to provide protection against financial loss. Depending on their educational qualification and strengths, the agents have a good chance of becoming an employee of the company. This industry also provide great opportunities in marketing, distribution, actuarial, underwriting operations and investing departments. There are about 30 insurance companies in India. The major government companies are Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation (GIC) and Postal Life Insurance. While LIC deals with insurance of life, GIC and its subsidiaries are concerned with non life aspects of insurance such as car, marine, accident, medical and fire insurance. Many multinational companies have come forward in the insurance field. ICICI Prudential, Om Kotak Mahindra, Birla Sun-Life, Tata AIF Life, Reliance, HDFC Standard Life-Insurance Co., Max New York Life, SBI Life Insurance, ING Vysya Life etc. are the top companies in the private sector. In non-life insurance segment, major private players are ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram, Cholamandalam, IFFCO Tokyo, Tata AIG etc. All Insurance companies come under the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which is established to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of Life and General insurance industry in India. Eligibility To pursue a career in the insurance industry, one has to pass the entrance examination conducted by the Actuarial Society of India, Mumbai. Students who have passed 10 + 2 or equivalent exam are eligible. License is needed to work in this field which can be achieved through a training programme. Insurance Institute of India conducts Licentiate, Associateship and Fellowship plus other training programmes for insurance services. Licentiate examination can be taken in Hindi and English on life and non life branches. Subjects covered are Principles of Insurance (Principles of Life Assurance), Practice of Life Assurance (Practice of Life Assurance), Insurance Business Environment (Elements of Modern Commerce) for the life branch and for the non life branch you need to take up Practice of General Insurance (Practice of General Insurance) instead of Practice of Life Assurance. The Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E.), in collaboration with the GIC and LIC have introduced insurance subjects at 10+2 as a vocational course. The same has been introduced by many universities at the graduation level. After the completion of graduation or post graduation in management one can work in the insurance marketing and sales of private insurance companies. The eligibility criteria for the varied posts in the Insurance industry are : Administrative Officer (AO) & Assistant Administrative Officer (AAO) : Graduate/ Postgraduate degree holders in any subject with minimum of 50% marks from a recognized university and age between 21 and 28 years can apply for these posts. Recruitment is through a written examination and interview. Development Officer : Graduates in any discipline between 21 and 26 years of age can apply for the post of Development Officer. Selection is based on written tests in English and Mathematics and an interview. Selected Candidates have to serve as apprentice for a period of 1 year. Insurance Agents : The minimum educational qualification for an insurance agent is 10 + 2. Before joining as insurance agents, one needs to undergo 100 hours of classroom training by the respective Insurance company based on the syllabus laid down by IRDA. After completion of training, they have to appear for the examination conducted by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA). Composite Agent : They are the one who sells both life and general insurance policies. Eligibility criteria is the same as that of insurance agents but they have to appear for one more test, also conducted by IRDA. Insurance Surveyor : Licensed by the Controller of Insurance, the surveyor can be engineers, accountants, medical graduates etc. To hold a license of a surveyor, one has to possess any one of the following : Fellowship or Associate ship of the Institute of Insurance Surveyors and Adjustors (IISA), Mumbai. Fellowship or Associate ship of the Institute of Chartered accountants or Cost and Works Accountants. A degree or diploma in architecture from a recognized university or institute. A degree or diploma from a recognized institute of engineering. A degree or diploma in Naval Architecture. Actuaries : Graduates with 55% marks in Mathematics/ Statistics/ Econometrics/ Computer science or MBA in finance, CA, CWA, MCA are eligible to join for actuary training. Training in this field can be pursued from the Actuarial Society of India (ASI), Mumbai or The Institute And Faculty of Actuaries, London, UK. To work as an Actuary, one has to pass an entrance exam conducted by these institutes twice a year, in May-June and October-November. The post of Assistants, Typists, Machine Operators, Stenographer, Telephone Operators, Clerks etc. are open to graduates and school-leavers and the age limit is between 18 to 25 years. The candidates applying have to go through a written test and interview. The eligibility criterion for recruitment to both the LIC and GIC is the same. Those who have passed the Licentiate Examination of the Insurance Institute of India, will get preference in LIC and GIC recruitments. Personal Skills This is a field which offers opportunities for people with varied personalities. Skills like sincerity, hard work, presence of mind, confidence, ability to persuade others and commitment for service towards the clients decide the growth of a person in the insurance field. Organizing skill, systematic approach, quick grasping ability, good communication skills and an analytical brain is beneficial for managers and officers. For being a successful insurance agent, the most vital skill required is to have a knack for convincing people. They must be self confident, outgoing, helpful, social and should be able to communicate with people at varied levels. Actuaries need to have a practical outlook, problem-solving skills, probing curiosity and business sense with highly developed interpersonal communication skills. Underwriters must be decisive, curious, perceptive and possess the ability to work carefully. Diplomacy, flexibility, communication skill, willingness to work outside the office for unsociable hours are the qualities required for surveyors. Back office operations personnel must be organised, meticulous, team players, proficient in handling computers with excellent communication skills.