Many workers in the insurance industry-especially those in administrative support positions-work a 5-day, 40-hour week. Those in executive and managerial occupations often put in more than 40 hours. Many insurance sales agents, claims adjusters, and investigators work irregular hours outside of office settings. Often, sales agents and adjusters arrange their own hours, scheduling evening and weekend appointments for the convenience of clients. This accommodation may result in these individuals working 50 to 60 hours per week.
Insurance sales agents often visit prospective and existing customers’ homes and places of business to market new products and provide services. Claims adjusters and auto damage appraisers frequently leave the office to inspect damaged property; occasionally, claims adjusters are away from home for days, traveling to the scene of a disaster-such as a tornado, flood, or hurricane-to work with local adjusters and government officials. Insurance investigators often work irregular hours to conduct surveillance or to contact people who are not available during normal working hours.
A small, but increasing, number of insurance employees spend most of their time on the telephone working in call centers, answering questions and providing information to prospective clients or current policyholders. These jobs may include selling insurance, taking claims information, or answering medical questions. Because such centers operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, some of their employees must work evening and weekend shifts. The irregular business hours in the insurance industry provide some workers with the opportunity for part-time work. Part-time employees make up 8.5 percent of the workforce. As would be expected in an industry dominated by office and sales employees, the incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses among insurance workers is low. In 2002, only 1.6 cases per 100 full-time workers were reported among insurance carriers, while just 0.9 cases per 100 full-time workers were reported among agents and brokers. These figures compare with an average of 5.3 for all private industry.