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What is Insurance?

Insurance is one of the tools available to mitigate risk. It enables one to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. It is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss from one entity to another in exchange for payment and was practised by Chinese and Babylonian traders as long ago as the third millennia BC.

Insurance can have significant effects on society through the way it changes who bears the cost of losses and damages. Insurance companies world-wide are often under media scrutiny for the manner in which they handle claims, particularly those associated with major natural disasters.

What is Risk Management?

Risk management is the identification, assessment, and prioritisation of risks (defined in ISO 31000 as the effect of uncertainty on objectives) followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimise, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events or to maximise the realisation of opportunities. Risk management’s objective is to assure uncertainty does not deflect the endeavour from the business goals.

How does Insurance work? 

Insurance works by pooling risk - a large group of people who want to insure against a particular loss pay their premiums into what we will call the insurance bucket, or pool. Because the number of insured individuals is so large, insurance companies can use statistical analysis to project what their actual losses will be within the given class.

They know that not all insured individuals will suffer losses at the same time or at all. This allows the insurance companies to operate profitably and at the same time pay for claims that may arise. For instance, most people have vehicle insurance but only a few actually are involved in an accident. You pay for the probability of the loss and for the protection that you will be paid for losses in the event they occur.

What are Risks?

Life is full of risks - some are preventable or can at least be minimized to acceptable levels, some are avoidable and some are completely unforeseeable. Risk is anything that matters. It can be a danger and an opportunity. What's important to know about risk when thinking about insurance is the type of risk, the effect of that risk, the cost of the risk and what you can do to mitigate the risk.

Why obtain an Insurance and Risk Management degree?

To prepare yourself for a dynamic career in the ever growing Financial Services industry. Learn about different types of Risks, Risk Identification, Risk Measurement, Risk Mitigation and Risk Transfer, the various jobs available within the industry and prepare the road to join the number of professionals and specialists in the area

The general aim of the Bachelor of Commerce degree in Insurance, the B.Com (Hons) Insurance and Risk Management, the MA Insurance and Risk Management and the MSc Insurance and Risk Management will provide the formal educational requirements for students to function competently in professional, specialist and managerial positions in both the private and public sectors.

Insurance and Risk Management touch every aspect of daily life and business. When we wake up in the morning, we accept risk of potential injury to others and ourselves. When we operate our business, we encounter risks to our business property, reputation, and livelihood. It is what allows our lives and the economy to operate smoothly in spite of the risks and the reality that “bad things” will occasionally happen and what makes us complete when things go wrong in both our personal and business lives and ensures business continuity. 

The Insurance and Risk Management programme is revised each year to ensure that it remains relevant and up-to-date with recent developments in the financial markets. It provides students with an excellent background with which to proceed to the MA in Insurance and Risk Management offered by the department or any other M.Sc., M.A. or M.B.A. programmes offered both locally and abroad. It will help prepare you for a number of different jobs including becoming an actuary, an agent or broker, a claims adjuster, a customer service representative, a field representative, a loss control specialist, an underwriter  a risk manager and internal auditor, compliance Manager, portfolio manager, portfolio analyst, portfolio advisor, ect.

As an Insurance and Risk Management professional, one’s life will be far from boring and the type of work that one can do is extremely varied. Insurance agents and customer service representatives are the front line in the business of risk management. Their objective is to match proper insurance products to the risks and needs of their clients. This requires getting to know and understanding the unique risks of each client, learning their business, and building a helpful and trusted relationship.

Risk analysts and risk managers spend their time identifying and analyzing potential risks, and working with others both inside and outside of their organization to treat the risks. Risk treatment may include creative approaches to control, prevent, and reduce the losses that can result from various risks, which may or may not include risk transfer arrangements such as insurance.

Underwriters spend their time evaluating insurance applications, analyzing the risks that their insurance company is being asked to assume, determining an appropriate scope of coverage and price, and building relationships with their agency partners. Underwriting analysis must strike a balance between meeting the insurance needs of the marketplace and maintaining a profitable insurance operation.

Claims professionals investigate the circumstances of incidents, determine insurance coverage, and settle claims to help people and businesses rebuild and get back to normal after a negative event. They are directly responsible for making the insured whole again. Whereas this is one of the most challenging careers you may ever have, it will also be the most rewarding.

Loss prevention activities help people and businesses to reduce the likelihood of negative events and losses by inspecting their property and practices, making recommendations, and coaching them toward safer operations.

Risk and insurance activities include a number of other activities that are common to many industries, such as data analytics, accounting, information technology, marketing, customer service, and more. There is something for everyone in the risk and insurance industry.

The goal is to prepare professionals for the risk and insurance industry in both the private and public sectors, by offering insights into today’s challenging and complex world, by formal education

(i.e. quality teaching aimed at developing quality graduates who provide tangible contributions to the organisations that employ them) and informal education (internships, field trips and Simulation games).

Work Environment

Insurance and Risk Management professionals typically find themselves working in office locations throughout the world.  There are numerous opportunities in Malta and major countries, as well as in smaller field offices located in more rural towns.  Some positions also offer flexible telecommuting options.  Insurance is a global business as well, presenting the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the world.  Some risk and insurance positions require the professional to be “in the field” meeting clients, examining facilities, and leading projects.

Entry-level salaries can grow with experience. Claims Adjusters, Loss Control Reps earnings can rise into the 60,000s; Underwriting managers and directors can earn up to 150,000; Risk Managers rise into the 100,000s, and Agents owning their own business may eventually sell their agency business for seven-figures.

Career Pathways

Claims Investigator, Loss Prevention Field Representative,  Risk Manager/Analyst, Sales Agent/Broker, Underwriter (Risk Selection), Marketing Representative, Customer Service Representative, Information Technology, Product Development, Finance/Accounting, Management Executive, Actuary Assistant.

 click here to watch video  Career Pathways   

Professional Organisations

There are numerous professional organizations associated with specific disciplines within the industry. For example, The Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII), Institute of Risk Management (IRM), Federation of European Risk Managers (FERMA), Public Risk Management Organisation (PRIMO), The Professional Risk Managers' International Association (PRIMIA), The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP), The Open Compliance and Ethics Group (OCEG),  Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters, the specialty “Lloyd’s of London” type of insurance business ect….to mention a few.


Perhaps the most meaningful aspect of the education process is the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. This is one of the primary objectives of internships, which afford students the opportunity to work for a risk/insurance organization where the student is exposed to real-world business activities, projects, and challenges. Student interns are able to gain professional experience, make valuable network connections, and usually receive wages for their effort – all while cementing and enhancing their understanding of the concepts they first learned in the classroom. In fact, many internships ultimately lead to permanent employment offers upon graduation. Because of the incredible value, that an internship experience provides this degree also promotes an internship as part of the degree requirements.

 Links to course Outline 

B.Com Insurance Go to More Details

B. Com (Hons) Insurance and Risk Management Go to More Details

MA Insurance and Risk Management Go to More Details

MSc Insurance and Risk Management Go to More Details


Networking With Professional Organisations and Universities

There are numerous professional organizations associated with specific disciplines within the industry. For example, there are several organizations for insurance agents, for claims professionals, and the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters caters to the profession of underwriting. The National Association for Professional Surplus Lines Offices supports the specialty “Lloyd’s of London” type of insurance business. 

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Last Updated: 24 January 2019

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