Insurance Salary Survey & Employment Overview 2016

January 27

Stephen O'Connor

Insurance Market Overview 2016

We believe that we are at the beginning of an “Up” cycle in the Insurance sector in Ireland. Our Insurance sector is experiencing a period of growth and it is estimated that most of it’s International insurance leaders based in Ireland expect to experience a healthy 2016.

The most significant thing to note in the Insurance market is the hardening of rates after a long “soft” cycle. We can certainly say this has been long overdue. After experiencing a “soft” market in the Insurance industry for nearly a decade, the market has started to bottom out and we are now seeing clear signs of a “hard” or “sellers” market such as increasing premiums unrelated to loss experience and new coverage restrictions and/or exclusions for customers. A “hard market”, although bad from a consumer perspective, does create a positive impact on the workforce in the industry; increased profits and available capital supporting the industry will bring additional investment into the workforce.

“We believe we are at the beginning of an “Up” cycle in the Insurance market in Ireland”


The Broker market in particular has seen a big improvement in the level of activity. Many of the small to medium sized brokers have started to hire again as a result of increased demand for their services. As the general publics propensity to spend increases, people are now assessing their options in terms of life, pensions and investments and as a result this has increased the demand for good brokers quite quickly. The goal now, especially for smaller to medium size brokers, is to be in a position to gain a significant share of this market by hiring top talent who can help them grow their business.

Actuary, Underwriting

In areas such as Actuary, Quantitative Analysis and Risk and Compliance, candidates are highly sought after and salaries have started to increase quite significantly in niche areas. This section of the Insurance market has always been short of candidates and we expect this to get progressively more pronounced as the candidate pool really starts to tighten. Outside of this, the Broker Development sector is also in significant demand as these are the people who are really going to drive the business forward and establish long-term broker relationships.


In recent years, as a result of streamlining by many Insurance companies and uncertainty in the market, Claims and Operations has been an area that has taken a hit. There was certainly and oversupply of candidates in this space pre-2015 but we have seen a shift in the second half of 2015 where the supply of candidates dried up considerably. It’s important to note that there is still an oversupply of Claims candidates in the market but this is slowly being corrected with a small percentage moving outside of Claims into Client Service and Account Executive positions.


The International and Reinsurance market have definitely seen more revenue growth compared to the domestic market. There has also been comparable growth in recruitment. However, this gap is closing and will continue to close as domestic companies start to make more money as a result of increased premiums.

Skill Shortages

In 2016, the competition for staff is going to occur in income-generating positions (Broker Developer, Development Underwriting, Financial Advisors and Sales) and Actuary, Risk & Compliance. Then, to a lesser extent, Claims and Underwriting. You can be certain, however, that there is going to be competition for talent across the board within Insurance.


Salaries in the insurance market are expected to increase this year. Strong Financial Advisers, or Commercial and Personal Insurance executives looking to the market could expect to receive pay increase for the right move in the region of 10-15%. Our survey data reflects that 58% of Insurance candidates received a pay increase in 2015, and the primary increase received (52%) was between 1-5%.

Salaries have stayed steady for Core Underwriting and Claims Functions. This has really been a result a slight oversupply in the local market and will change once the candidate supply dries up which we have seen already this year. Underwriting has also been slow to show an increase in salaries although good candidates are becoming particularly hard to source, especially at current salary levels.

Unfortunately, at the senior end of the market, Underwriting, Claims and Operations salaries have taken a drop. In general, however, this is off the back of historically high salaries.

Generally speaking, Insurance candidates in the market are relatively happy with their severance packages. According to our survey response, 62% are happy with their levels of compensation. This year, we would expect employers to offer a better package in order to entice high-calibre talent to their firms. Bonuses, whilst very much discretionary, are coming back into play across the board and employers have recognised that to retain staff they need to, at a minimum, keep in line with the market.


To summarise, the Irish Insurance market, from a recruitment perspective, is on an upward trajectory. Whilst this market has taken a bit of a hit in recent years, the growth we have seen in 2015 coupled with the positive sentiment around the market suggests we will see the market presenting ample opportunities for experienced Insurance professionals and valuable long term career opportunities for people looking to enter the market. That said, it will be a competitive year for companies in sourcing for and retaining top talent. For candidates, however, it should be a great year to explore the significant opportunities therein.

For a full list of opportunities in Insurance, please click on the following link, you can also contact us on 01-661 0444 or email an updated CV to

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About the Author

Lincoln Recruitment (1) 661 0444


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