This is the first in what will be a series of interviews with DAS team members show casing why they love insurance. Our goal is to reinforce why Millennial and Gen-Z individuals should consider a career in our dynamic industry.
Richard Karim, DAS Underwriter
“Insurance was never something I thought I would want to be in, however I quickly learned that insurance plays a huge role not just for my career, but also globally.”
Do you have any advice for aspiring insurance professionals?
Similar with many jobs, underwriting is a skill best acquired through experience, so make mistakes early on so you can learn and grow from them. Also try your best to connect with your boss to learn and get advice. This will help you gain the confidence you need in order to do your job better. Also, I’ve realized that in my generation, working in the same company for 25 years won’t get you ahead like working around many different companies and learning new business models, missions, and tactics will. It’s essential to take skills learned from one job and apply it to another”
What do you love most about insurance?
“I really enjoy networking because I love meeting new people. However, although networking can be challenging for some, when people get to finally see that other side of you, that’s when you’re able to create a bond with them. As a result, this can have a long lasting impact in both your personal and professional life.”
What is the biggest misconception about insurance?
One of the biggest misconceptions about insurance is that it’s boring and repetitive. However, there are many hats to be worn and skills to be gained, for instance one day it might be customer service, another it may be pricing and statistics –it all depends. There are about a dozen skills you need in insurance, and while some may be more elevated than others, depending on what specifically you are working on, at the end of the day they’re all important.”
What has been your favourite memory of DAS so far?
“The networking events, working at DAS has allowed me to branch out and network with very interesting spaces. This is very rewarding because it allows you to expand your knowledge and leverage it as a reference.”
How did you get into insurance?
“Like most people, I kind of fell right into it. When I was finishing up my last year at Ryerson University, I found that a lot of people including myself, went into financial roles which all hovered over insurance. Although it wasn’t my initial ambition to get into insurance, around the 2008-2009 financial crisis I was working at a bank and a lot of jobs started to get cut. At that point, I applied to any business related jobs outside of what I would typically apply for, and that’s how I landed a job in insurance. On the contrary, teaching is also something I love, and as per my advice earlier, I applied the skills I learned while teaching to my other roles.”
What do you love about teaching?
“As a teacher, giving back to students new to the industry provides me with a sense of purpose. Many people "fall" into the insurance industry and my objective is to debunk the myths surrounding the industry. Students have little exposure and knowledge to why insurance is beneficial – from running the economy to giving peace of mind to the everyday small business owner.
I currently teach ‘Insurance Against Liability’, and ‘Human Behaviour in Insurance’, a course I designed and only offered at Centennial College that teaches students about personal, social and emotional factors impacting the insurance industry from various perspectives. I'm currently in my 2nd academic year, with prior teaching experience at the Insurance Institute of Canada.”