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Insurance and Superannuation

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Insurance and Superannuation sector, which is one component of the Financial Services industry, and includes personal injury management, insurance broking, general insurance, life insurance, personal injury and disability insurance, loss adjusting and superannuation.

Insurance provides Australians with protection for unforeseen expenses incurred in relation to health, housing and death. The three main insurance areas are health, life and general (mostly car and home) insurance.

Superannuation affects the lives of the majority of Australians and sound management of these compulsory savings are vital to ensure financial stability in retirement. In Australia, there are over 15 million members of superannuation funds, who collectively have over $2.7 trillion in superannuation assets.

Nationally recognised training for Insurance and Superannuation is delivered under the FNS – Financial Services Training Package.

For information on other financial services, see the Financial Services cluster page.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment in the Insurance and Superannuation Funds sector increased between 2001 and 2021. Employment peaked in 2020 at 120,400, however, it is projected to increase to 126,600 by 2025. In the Auxiliary Insurance Services sector, employment was more variable between 2001 and 2021, with peaks in 2005, 2011 and 2017. Following a sharp decline in 2018 to 12,800 workers, the employment level rose in 2019 and 2020. There were 22,500 employed in 2021 and employment is projected to increase to 23,000 by 2025.

The largest proportion of workers in a VET-related occupation in the Insurance and Superannuation sector are Insurance, Money Market and Statistical Clerks, an occupation that is projected to decline in employment levels between 2021 and 2025 by around 1%. Insurance Agents also has a projected slight decline of less than 1%. All other VET-related occupations in the sector are predicted to see employment levels grow over the same period. In the Auxiliary Insurance Services sector, Financial Brokers make up the largest occupational proportion, an occupation that is predicted to increase in employment levels between 2021 and 2025 by around 3%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Both program enrolments and completions in Insurance and Superannuation-related qualifications have been variable between 2016 and 2020, with significant decreases between 2019 and 2020. During 2020, the majority of enrolments in Insurance and Superannuation-related qualifications were at the certificate III and diploma or higher level, with no training occurring at the certificate I or certificate II level. In 2020, there were more enrolments in Insurance-related qualifications than Superannuation-related qualifications. Qualifications in the area of Superannuation have a single intended occupation of Financial Investment Manager. Qualifications in the area of Insurance have a wider range of intended occupations, with the most common being Insurance Agent.

In 2020, the vast majority of Insurance and Superannuation-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers (97%), and nearly all subjects were funded through domestic fee for service (97%). New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland had the highest proportion of students enrolled in Insurance and Superannuation-related qualifications at 27%, 18% and 16% respectively.

The majority of training was delivered in Victoria (84%), followed by New South Wales (11%).

Apprentice and trainee commencements in Insurance and Superannuation-related qualifications rose strongly between 2011 and 2013, before declining sharply during 2014 and remaining at similar levels to 2020. Completions have followed a similar pattern, though offset by a year, peaking in 2014 before falling sharply in 2015. Apprentices and trainees in this sector most often have an intended occupation of Insurance Agent. In 2020, Queensland and Tasmania reported the largest proportions of Insurance and Superannuation-related apprentices and trainees, with 32% each, followed by South Australia with 23%.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER's Data Builder.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Financial Services IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast suggests the top priority skills for the Insurance and Superannuation sector include health and safety skills, teamwork and communication, and problem solving skills. This is in addition to sector specific technical and multi-disciplinary skills. The top three generic skills focus primarily on soft skills including customer service, critical thinking, and learning agility. Data analysis is rated as the fourth most important generic skill for the sector.

According to the job vacancy data, the top generic skills requested by employers were communication skills and building effective relationships. The most advertised occupations were Management and Organisation Analysts followed by Insurance Investigators, Loss Adjusters and Risk Surveyors. The top employers were IAG and AMP Limited. The top locations for job advertisements were New South Wales and Victoria.

According to the above Skills Forecast there are a number of FinTech innovations impacting insurance and superannuation services, including:

  • Computer automated underwriting allows for the reduction of documentation and streamlines the approval process in risk modelling
  • Self-investment applications, like Stockspot and Selfwealth, allow for the easy comparison of funds and management of funds.

The Skills Forecast also outlines the potential impacts of demographic changes, specifically the ageing population, for insurance and superannuation services. The number of Australians over 65, the core demographic demanding these services, is projected to increase to 21% of the population by 2066. The ageing population will drive strong growth for health and life insurance and superannuation services over the medium to long term. This continued demand will require a growing number of health insurance workers across the board, specialising in services for over 65s. The ageing population will continue to drive demand on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS therefore presents a significant growth opportunity for insurance assessors specialising in assessments for people with disability.

The Skills Forecast states that superannuation assets are forecast to hit $4.3 trillion by 2032, exceeding the value of the banking sector, as the system matures and wages increase. Demographic changes will shape the Superannuation sector by:

  • Increasing the proportion of superannuation assets held in the retirement phase, which are forecast to increase from 30% of superannuation assets to 40% over the next decade. Given the typically conservative investment profile of retirees, this will increase the proportion of assets that are invested defensively (in products such as bonds) and bolster the use of derivatives and other defensive overlays to ensure a steady revenue stream. Understanding the needs of a client in retirement and communicating these risks will be vitally important to Financial Advisers in the sector.
  • Driving demand for self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs), with 85% of self-managed super fund members being over the age of 45 and over a third being over 65. SMSFs continue to grow, with the number of funds growing 13% over the last five years (from 521,510 to 587,100) and the number of members growing 12% (987,540 to 1,107,060). With this trend set to continue, financial services workers will play more of an advisory and transactional role in assisting SMSF members to manage their own funds, rather than managing the funds on the member's behalf.

The Deloitte Center for Financial Services report, 2019 Insurance Outlook: Growing Economy Bolsters Insurers, But Longer-term Trends May Require Transformation, states that robotic process automation and artificial intelligence that can automate manual tasks are rapidly infiltrating the Insurance sector, remaking or eliminating jobs that are labour intensive and even some with cognitive requirements. Insurers will be challenged to retrain and repurpose workers impacted by tech upgrades to make more productive use of their time and talent. To start, most insurers are decomposing jobs to analyse how work is currently performed, determine which capabilities can and should be automated, and establish what new skill sets may be required to maximize the value employees can bring in the wake of automation.

The Plan For Life Life Insurance Market Outlook Report, highlights the challenges for insurers which sell advice-based insurance. The inability of advisers to reboot their businesses and create new operating models, leading them to leave the industry (adviser numbers have halved between 2017 and 2020), represents a clear, ongoing risk to insurers’ future new sales. Similarly, the exiting of older advisers unwilling to meet the Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority (FASEA) standards, adds to the problem. To meet this threat, the authors recommend providing existing and new advisers with training, not only in product and sales techniques, but also in how to analyse their own business costs, achieve efficiencies, restructure appropriate fees for service, automate and use technology.

Life insurers in Australia have collaborated with the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) to launch an industry-wide Professional Standards Framework to unify professional standards and enhance industry trust and confidence. The Framework formalises standards for professional excellence by implementing a consistent foundation requirement for all life insurance claims and underwriting professionals. The framework comprises four Certificate IV competencies, including ethics, sustainability, products and services, and law and regulation – with the life insurers committed to achieving a Certificate IV level for claims professionals by December 2023 and underwriting professionals by December 2024. The framework provides life insurance companies with a measurement tool for their own existing internal training, while professional development for employees will provide a roadmap for long-term consistency across the life insurance sector.

Based on recent conversations with employers about their recruitment plans, Hays has developed a list of The Most In-Demand Skills for 2021. Within Australia's insurance jobs market, the skills in greatest demand are:

  • Brokers with a tier 1 qualification and at least five years of experience – the lack of entry-level roles over recent years has created today’s shortage of experienced professionals.
  • Assistant Account Executives with solid experience who wish to remain in this role – most candidates advance to become Account Executives.
  • Liability and Professional Indemnity Claims Handlers at the consultant and manager level with specialised experience in liability and professional indemnity.
  • Dispute Resolution Officers with experience in specialist areas such as travel and life claims – such niche expertise is in short supply yet growing in demand as insurance companies move this function inhouse.

The National Skills Commission’s Skills Priority List: June 2021, lists the occupations of Insurance Agent as having ‘Strong’ future demand and Insurance Broker, Insurance Consultant, Insurance Investigator, Insurance Loss Adjuster, and Insurance Risk Surveyor as having ‘Moderate’ future demand. Research has not identified any significant difficulty filling vacancies for these occupations across Australia, except in New South Wales where there is a shortage of Insurance Agents.

COVID-19 impact

The Deloitte Australia article The Road to Recovery for Insurers, highlights the impact on Australia and insurers of the one in 100-year bushfires over the 2019–20 summer and the COVID-19 pandemic. These events drastically impacted insurers as they immediately responded to the needs of customers and shifted priorities and operations in innovative ways to meet the evolving health and economic crises. As a first responder, the Insurance sector, along with the Financial Services industry, acted as an ‘intensive care unit’ and helped financially support customers throughout the crises. Insurers will need to carefully consider what they can do to achieve real value creation in the recovery phase to meet the nation's increasing and constantly evolving expectations. Consideration of the 5 'C's is critical: Customers, Coverage, Communication, Claims and Complaints.

Throughout COVID-19, the insurance industry – along with all business – has experienced a time of monumental challenge. KPMG’s trio of New Reality for Insurance: Australia publications focus on the insurance value chains for commercial insurance, life and health, and personal lines. Ways of working have changed significantly requiring a new process for managing talent, with emphasis on: right-sizing the workforce, right skill sets and training. Shifts to remote operating models will require revised measurements for productivity/performance and access to training. The race to acquire digital, technology and data talent will heat up quickly. Access to talent will expand as location becomes less important under a more remote workforce. KPMG recommends organisations perform a skills-based assessment of current talent and use a scenario-based approach to shift talent to the future state: assess shortage of skilled resources in underwriting, claims and actuarial with the potential to utilise and access international talent pools leveraging remote working arrangements; and implement internal programs to build technical capabilities (e.g. partnering with reinsurers to provide training academies in underwriting and claims). KPMG expects that employee satisfaction and retention will prove to be a challenge in the post-pandemic era and will require insurers to redefine measures to support their workforce of the future. Investing in people (training, perks etc.) and skills-based hiring will reduce the time required for post-pandemic recovery. Acceleration in embedding digital capabilities across middle and back-office operations is expected to continue as Australia recovers from the pandemic.

KPMG's article A Spotlight on Risk for the Insurance Sector, highlights the significant impact of the pandemic on health, travel and landlord's insurance in particular. COVID-19 has seen some customers questioning the value of insurance, particularly in health and life insurance, and in the millennial customer segment. Since the start of the pandemic the adoption of digital solutions and technology has accelerated across the sector. The new post-COVID-19 reality will keep driving a renewed focus on digital first.

The Plan For Life Life Insurance Market Outlook Report, states that despite JobSaver payments in 2020, the impact of job losses and earnings is likely to have shifted life insurance further down the scale of preferred expenditure, at least in the short to medium term. With the roll-out of new COVID vaccines and the increasing return to work, the Australian economy picked up in early 2021. A return to more normal conditions and a continuation of rising employment, as well as an extremely low interest rate regime, have generated a return to retail spending, and a rush to buy houses with a corresponding spike in house prices. From a life insurance point of view these are positive signs especially as the property surge should increase the need for mortgage insurance cover, while with earnings growing, and in many cases restored to previous levels, consumers will be more inclined to return to insuring themselves.

During the peak of the COVID-19 disruptions, the federal government allowed Australians early access of up to $20,000 of their superannuation contributions. Upon announcement, there was a surge in the number of members calling their funds, meaning call centres were overburdened, according to KPMG’s article Risk Transformation for the Superannuation Industry. In the end, superannuation funds had to quickly realise some $36 billion of their investments. This activity also drove a large uptick in fraudulent activity with phishing and other scams becoming an issue for members. The nature of a pandemic such as COVID-19 naturally creates a lot of uncertainty which financial markets do not like. Geopolitical tensions, alongside continued impacts of COVID-19 means an increased uncertainty in the markets, making it more challenging for funds to continually deliver strong performance. As the amount of money these funds controls continues to grow, there continues to be an increasing amount of attention on them from would-be cyber attackers. In KPMG’s Fraud Risk Survey 2021, 72% reported the risk of fraud and corruption had increased during the pandemic and 85% said they did not expect the risk to reduce in 2021. Managing the risk of fraud and cyber threats needs to be a high priority. The survey also found that businesses are increasingly turning to technology to help identify the fraud and corruption that was occurring in the new remote working world.

Securing the Future: Protecting Australia's Superannuation Ecosystem Against Cybersecurity Threats by Gateway Network Governance Body (GNGB) and PwC Australia, warns that we cannot afford to be complacent. The cyber landscape is changing: digitisation and remote working have accelerated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the changes we are seeing are here to stay. The superannuation ecosystem is complex, relying on a range of stakeholders including members, employers, advisers, payroll providers, gateway providers, administrators, investment managers, regulators and super funds to all work together to safeguard the superannuation savings of retired and working Australians. The post COVID-19 pandemic acceleration of digital initiatives in 2020, coupled with the increased options for members to interact with, and access their superannuation early, has also multiplied the nature and range of cybersecurity risks for the industry. Three key considerations for organisational leaders are: upskill on cybersecurity, drive a cyber risk-aware culture and commit resources to maintain a secure environment and protect their members; place cybersecurity at the forefront of business strategy; and plan for skilled resources, processes and tools to meet requirements for baseline controls.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Insurance and superannuation IRC

 

Relevant research

2019 Insurance Outlook: Growing Economy Bolsters Insurers, But Longer-term Trends May Require Transformation – Deloitte Center for Financial Services

A Spotlight on Risk for the Insurance Sector – KPMG

Finance and Insurance Workforce Insights – South Australian Training and Skills Commission (TASC)

Fraud Risk Survey 2021 - KPMG

Life Industry Come Together to Launch ‘First Ever’ Industry Wide Professional Standards Framework [media release] – Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)

Life Insurance Market Outlook Report – Plan For Life, Actuaries and Researchers, Asset International Australia

Life Insurers to Launch ‘First Ever’ Professional Standards Framework – Insurance Business Australia

New Reality for Insurance: Australia – KPMG

Post-COVID-19: Insurance and Wealth Sector Consumer Trends – KPMG

Responding to a Changing Landscape: General Insurance Industry Review 2020: With the Top 10 Trends Impacting the Sector – KPMG

Risk Transformation for the Superannuation Industry – KPMG

Securing the Future: Protecting Australia's Superannuation Ecosystem Against Cybersecurity Threats – Gateway Network Governance Body (GNGB) and PwC Australia

Skills Priority List: June 2021 – National Skills Commission

The Most In-Demand Skills for 2021 – Hays

The Road to Recovery for Insurers – Deloitte Australia

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA)

Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF)

Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST)

Insurance Australia Group (IAG)

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA)

National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA)

Self Managed Super Fund Association (SMSF Association)

 

Government bodies

Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA)

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

 

Employee associations

Finance Sector Union (FSU)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 & 3 digit Insurance and Superannuation Funds Industry and Auxiliary Insurance Services Industry, employment projections to May 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • Financial Brokers
    • Financial Investment Advisers and Managers
    • General Clerks
    • Insurance Agents
    • Insurance Investigators, Loss Adjusters and Risk Surveyors
    • Insurance, Money Market and Statistical Clerks.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 August 2021 https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021/EQ08.xlsx

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 & 3 digit Insurance and Superannuation Funds Industry and Auxiliary Insurance Services Industry, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 & 3 digit Insurance and Superannuation Funds Industry and Auxiliary Insurance Services Industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • FNS Financial Services Training Package
    • FNS30511 - Certificate III in General Insurance
    • FNS30515 - Certificate III in General Insurance
    • FNS30610 - Certificate III in Insurance Broking
    • FNS30615 - Certificate III in Insurance Broking
    • FNS30215 - Certificate III in Personal Injury Management
    • FNS30220 - Certificate III in Personal Injury Management
    • FNS30210 - Certificate III in Personal Injury Management (ClaimsManagement)
    • FNS41410 - Certificate IV in General Insurance
    • FNS41411 - Certificate IV in General Insurance
    • FNS41415 - Certificate IV in General Insurance
    • FNS41420 - Certificate IV in General Insurance
    • FNS41710 - Certificate IV in Insurance Broking
    • FNS41715 - Certificate IV in Insurance Broking
    • FNS41720 - Certificate IV in Insurance Broking
    • FNS41512 - Certificate IV in Life Insurance
    • FNS41515 - Certificate IV in Life Insurance
    • FNS41611 - Certificate IV in Loss Adjusting
    • FNS41915 - Certificate IV in Personal Injury Management
    • FNS42115 - Certificate IV in Personal Injury Management
    • FNS42120 - Certificate IV in Personal Injury Management
    • FNS40310 - Certificate IV in Personal Injury Management (Claims Management)
    • FNS40410 - Certificate IV in Personal Injury Management (ReturntoWork)
    • FNS51110 - Diploma of General Insurance
    • FNS51115 - Diploma of General Insurance
    • FNS51120 - Diploma of General Insurance
    • FNS51210 - Diploma of Insurance Broking
    • FNS51215 - Diploma of Insurance Broking
    • FNS51220 - Diploma of Insurance Broking
    • FNS51312 - Diploma of Life Insurance
    • FNS51315 - Diploma of Life Insurance
    • FNS51410 - Diploma of Loss Adjusting
    • FNS51415 - Diploma of Loss Adjusting
    • FNS51420 - Diploma of Loss Adjusting
    • FNS51915 - Diploma of Personal Injury and Disability Insurance Management
    • FNS51920 - Diploma of Personal Injury and Disability Insurance Management
    • FNS50110 - Diploma of Personal Injury Management
    • FNS50115 - Diploma of Personal Injury Management
    • FNS60110 - Advanced Diploma of Insurance Broking.
  • Superannuation
    • FNS40910 - Certificate IV in Superannuation
    • FNS40911 - Certificate IV in Superannuation
    • FNS40915 - Certificate IV in Superannuation
    • FNS40920 - Certificate IV in Superannuation
    • FNS50710 - Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS50711 - Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS50715 - Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS50720 - Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS60510 - Advanced Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS60513 - Advanced Diploma of Superannuation
    • FNS60515 - Advanced Diploma of Superannuation.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 program completions.

 

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

FNS Financial Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills/Occupations
    • 63 Insurance and Superannuation Funds
    • 642 Auxiliary Insurance Services.
  • Employers
    • 2247 Management and Organisation Analysts
    • 5996 Insurance Investigators, Loss Adjusters and Risk Surveyors
    • 2211 Accountants
    • 6113 Sales Representatives
    • 1339 Other Specialist Managers
    • 63 Insurance and Superannuation Funds
    • 642 Auxiliary Insurance Services.
Updated: 25 Oct 2021
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