Helping insurance agencies and carriers identify and solve business problems is one of the main responsibilities of business analysts in the insurance industry. Also known as operations research analysts, these problem-solvers collect a ton of data to arrive at the best course of action to improve the overall operations of a business. Though salaries are comparable to the national average, those working in the insurance industry don’t often earn as much as analysts working with securities and commodity firms, computer systems designers or the federal government.
In 2012, business analysts earned an average of $79,830 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $129,490, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $40,550. But none of these figures account for employer -- a factor with some bearing on earnings. Those working for insurance agencies earned closer to $71,400. Salaries at insurance carriers were slightly higher, at an average of $72,330.
As with any career, earnings vary by location. By state, business analysts as a whole earned the highest wages in New York, at an average of $111,570 a year. Those working in New Jersey were a close second, earning $103,600, while analysts in the District of Columbia ranked third, averaging $98,670. The lowest wages reported were in Montana, where the average was $49,490 a year.
Employers typically seek candidates with a master’s degree in operations research, management science or related disciplines, the BLS reports. But some employers will fill entry-level positions with applicants holding a bachelor’s degree in similar majors. Companies in the insurance industry often prefer that applicants have a background in the business.
The BLS expects employment of business analysts to grow by as much as 15 percent through 2020. This is faster than the growth rate for all U.S. occupations, an average of 14 percent. With a combined total of almost 5,200 analysts working in the insurance industry, the 15-percent growth works out to the creation of nearly 780 new jobs over the decade. Expect some competition for available jobs.
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