Salary Outlook + Best Things You Can Do with a Risk Management Degree

With the growing complexity of business operations and global operations today, risk management is more important than ever. Risk management professionals try to identify, analyze and document the various risks that are related to an organization’s business practices. They also monitor the effectiveness of risk management processes and make any needed changes.

Risk management is most common in finance and accounting-related careers. Some of the most promising job opportunities for professionals with a risk management degree include:

#1 Actuary

An actuary analyzes the financial costs of uncertainty and risk for a business. They specialize in the use of statistics, mathematics, and financial theory to assess the possibility of risks. They also help clients and businesses to devise policies that minimize the financial cost of those risks.

The most common duties in the actuary field are:

  • Compile statistical information about risks for further analysis
  • Estimate the chances and economic costs of major events such as death, sickness, natural disaster or accident
  • Design and test insurance policies, pension plans and investments to reduce risk and to maximize profits
  • Make charts, tables and reports that explain proposals and calculations
  • Explain findings and various proposals to company stakeholders, shareholders and clients

The majority of actuarial work is completed with technology today. Actuaries need to be experts in the use of software and databases to compile risk data. They also use highly advanced statistics and modeling programs to forecast the chances of an event happening and the possible costs of the event if it does happen. This type of work is of great importance for insurance companies because the firm needs to be sure that it has enough money to pay claims.

Actuaries usually work with teams that feature managers, and various professionals from other fields, such as underwriting, accounting and finance.

This is a very quickly growing field with 18% job growth anticipated by 2024. A strong growth area in particular is in enterprise risk management or ERM. This is the specialty of helping a company manage its own risk.

The median salary in this field is $100,600 per year.

#2 Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters must decide whether to provide insurance to a person or entity and under what terms. They are responsible for evaluating insurance applications and determining what the premiums and coverage amounts should be. Some of the most common duties of insurance underwriters are:

  • Analyze the information that is provided on insurance applications
  • Determine what the potential risk is for insuring the person or entity
  • Screen insurance applicants based upon predetermined criteria
  • Evaluate the recommendations from the underwriting software used
  • Talk to field representatives and others to obtain more risk information
  • Determine what the appropriate amounts of coverage and premiums will be

Underwriters are the major link between the insurance company and the insurance agent. Underwriters today use software to determine if the applicant should be approved. They must take certain information about the client and enter it into the program. That program then provides various recommendations for coverage and premiums. Underwriters need to be skilled in evaluating the various recommendations and decide if it should be approved.

Most insurance underwriters work in either life, health or property and casualty.

The median salary for insurance underwriters is $67,600. This field is in declining in demand due to the use of underwriting software, but there is still a need for insurance underwriters in more complex fields, such as in boat insurance.

#3 Claims Adjuster

A claims adjuster is responsible for evaluating insurance claims that clients make. They must decide if the insurance company is going to pay the claim, and if they are, what they will pay. The most common job duties of claims adjusters are:

  • Investigate insurance claims and provide evaluation and settlement services
  • Determine if the policy covers the loss that has been claimed
  • Ensure that a claim is not fraudulent
  • Contact doctors and employers associated with the claimant to get more information if there is a question about the claim
  • Negotiate a final settlement
  • Authorize the payment to the client

People who work in this field can be claims adjusters, examiners, appraisers or investigators. This will depend upon the type of insurance company that employs you. It is always important to know a lot about they types of products that the company insures. For instance, an adjuster in property and casualty has to know a lot about construction and housing costs to be able to assess damage from fires and floods.

Adjusters most often work on homes,  businesses and automobiles after property damage occurs. They have to interview the person making the claim and any witnesses. They also must inspect the property in question and perform additional research to know if the claim should be paid and for what amount.

The job growth for claims adjusters will be only 3% by 2024, and the median salary is $63,600.

#4 Accountant

An accountant is responsible for the preparation and examination of financial records. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that tax and financial record documents are completely accurate and that all taxes have been paid on time. Accountants also must assess the financial operations for the company to ensure that the company is run in an efficient manner.

Accountants have the following duties:

  • Examine recent financial statements and ensure that they are completely accurate, also that they are in compliance with regulations and laws
  • Compute the taxes that are owed, and prepare tax returns
  • Inspect all accounting records to ensure everything is being recorded accurately and efficiently
  • Assess the overall financial operations of the organization and make recommendations to upper level management

All accountants need to have excellent communication skills because they need to be able to explain their financial findings to people who are not accountants.

Accountants will see a strong rise in demand by 2024 of 11%. The median salary for accountants in 2016 was $68,100.

#5 Financial Analyst

A financial analyst is responsible for providing guidance to companies and individuals who need to make investment decisions. They generally must assess how stocks, bonds and other investments are going to perform in the future.

The job duties of financial analysts include the following:

  • Recommend individual investments and portfolios of investments
  • Evaluate financial data so that accurate investment recommendations can be made
  • Examine the financial statements for the company to come up with an accurate value
  • Assess what the strengths are of the management team
  • Write reports about investment decisions and results and present to stakeholders

Financial analysts tend to focus on the financial and investment trends for certain industries or regions. For instance, one financial analyst may focus his work on the energy field, or on western Europe.

There is a specific field of financial analyst known as a risk analyst. This professional must evaluate the level of risk in a specific investment decision, and to determine the best ways to manage the unpredictability. This job is done while making investment decisions that could include choosing stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

Jobs for financial analysts will grow by 12% by 2024, and the median salary is $81,000.