Investment Analyst at Insurance Co.

Anyone have any experience working for a large Insurance Company and would be familiar with what an Investment Analyst role entails or what to expect in the Insurance industry? 

The job description mentions supporting strategic investments from deal evaluation to asset management, but that is very vague. Deeper in the description it mentions quantitative financial analysis of the company's capital/surplus and risk-based capital positions, participating in manager search process, investment structure reviews and investment selection. 

Currently in Risk at a BB but looking to migrate to an asset management type role. Would like to put my best foot forward in the interview but also want to temper expectations if the job description is a lot of fluff compared to the minutia of the role.

I appreciate the advice. 

Comments (14)

Most Helpful
Jan 4, 2021 - 11:39pm
gbp.4.lb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You'd essentially be part of the insurer's investment function. Asset managers who manage insurance assets will often assist with analyses around surplus and RBC, but a lot of large insurers will perform these tasks in-house. Manager selection implies that they outsource some portion of their investments to external asset managers, which is common (particularly for alternative investments). Insurance investing has added complexity because of the regulatory constraints, so along with the technicals and fundamentals, insurers place an increased emphasis on capital efficiency. There's no fluff in the role (it seems). It'd be a good role to use to break into AM, but mostly in a role that manages assets for insurance companies (which are an important client base for large institutional AM such as BLK, GS, JPM, PIMCO, etc). Insurance investing tends to be a specialized skillset, so when AM look for people to work with insurance clients, they favor those that come from that industry since they know you'll understand the nuances of their investing style.

  • Intern in PE - Other
Jan 6, 2021 - 11:45am

I can't speak to this exact role, but I had a virtual SD for a very similar role a few weeks ago. One entire interview (about 30 minutes) was strictly about my experience modeling and excel skills. It wasn't on paper or a test, but I was asked very thoroughly to walk through a specific model I had done before, variables, formulas, uses of hardcoding, where I would find certain assumptions and why. They also asked if I had experience with macros/VBA. Take my experience with a grain of salt, because anything can happen in an interview.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Jan 6, 2021 - 9:17am

This role will probably vary depending on what type of insurance company you're talking about. For example insurance companies in the life and health space have longer time horizons (thus invest heavily into long-term bonds) and with the current low-interest-rate environment, many have been moving funds to alternative asset managers in search of higher returns. The role and therefore investment strategy may differ if you work for an auto carrier for example.

  • Analyst 2 in Risk Mnmgt
Jan 6, 2021 - 10:42am

Thanks, would be in the health care space so my assumption was the "strategic investments" the firm takes on would be in the IG Bond space. The Alt portfolio has been farmed out, like you mentioned, as the role involves participation in the investment manager search process. 

  • Research Analyst in AM - FI
Jan 6, 2021 - 12:34pm

Sounds like the description is blending a few roles. At a large insurer trying to do most things in house you have dedicated investment analyst roles that are pretty similar to what you would find at a mutual fund (IG or HY analyst covering a few sectors, securitized analysts, rates strategists etc). In addition, you generally have a 'strategic" investments team that focuses on niche strategies not done in house (so a lot of manager search). Separately you have an entire risk organization doing the things you reference on surplus and capital. Risk analysts certainly interact with the first two groups, but this is not their core function so not really an asset management role. They typically have a good shot at moving into the more traditional analyst roles internally at a junior level, but less so externally.

At smaller insurers these roles often get blended and folks take on more than one role, which seems to be the case you describe. Or they want you because of your risk background for a risk centric role and are trying to make it some sexier than what it is. Anyway if a true investment analyst role (even at an insurer) is what you seek you can do better than this opportunity based on the description. Nevertheless it may be worth it if you are spending say 50% of your time on security analysis so worth finding out. However, if the role is 50% risk function and 50% manager selection then it does not move you closer to a true security analyst role (this is how I read "strategic investments" because IG bonds are liquid so nothing "strategic" about them).

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jan 7, 2021 - 6:25pm

Absolutely spot on. Very similar model for other types of asset owners. 

Some asset owners are so small that there aren't any investment staff at all. Just an investment committee that outsources everything to a private bank / PWM house, O-CIO or set of asset managers (with the help of an engaged investment consulting firm helping with asset allocation / manager selection).

Jan 7, 2021 - 12:49am
gbp.4.lb, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Those "strategic investments" could mean different things, so I'd be keen to get more info on that (it may shine more light on the work you'd be doing). I've seen a firm refer to their illiquids (private debt, mortgage loans) as strategic because they were new to those asset classes. I've also seen a firm refer to their investment in an insurtech company as "strategic".

Apr 10, 2022 - 12:15pm
hypedmonkey210, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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