Insurance business analysts serve as the bridge between the information systems department and other departments in the company and are well versed in insurance industry standards, policies, trends and news. The analyst must remain cognizant of the changes and trends in the insurance industry and the impact of these changes on the daily activities of the departments supported and on the company.
The business analyst's prior experience often includes roles in operations areas and technical knowledge gained through formal or on-the-job training. Because of this experience, insurance business analysts move easily from operations units to information systems areas. Having an intimate knowledge of not only the department the analyst supports but also the insurance industry as a whole makes the analyst more able to research and to negotiate system changes that make sense for the supported department. The insurance business analyst position encompasses other roles in the company, including financial and trend analysis, training, reporting and project management functions.
The area the analyst supports determines the type of business analyst. Business analysts who support computer systems and data warehousing areas have more technical focus, while business analysts who support business areas may spend more time finding ways for these units to operate more efficiently through the use of technological enhancements. The International Business Institute of Business Analysts states that business analysts have many titles, including business consultant, business process analyst, data analyst, business architect, requirements analyst/specialist, systems analyst and management consultant.
Although emphasis is placed on business experience and technical expertise, insurance companies often require a bachelor's degree for an entry-level business analyst. Advanced degrees in business management, computer science or computer information systems and statistics are helpful in advancing business analysts' careers and garnering top salaries. The International Institute of Business Analysis certifies professionals with the Certified Business Analysis Professional designation, which signifies that the analyst possesses thorough knowledge and experience in the business analysis field.
In some insurance companies, the business analyst role is divided into several categories, including business staff analysts, technical business analysts, system analysts and relationship managers. Salaries can range from $40,292 to more than $100,000 per year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for insurance carrier systems analysts was $74,610 in May 2008.
Reading trade journals and insurance industry news is vital to maintaining up-to-date knowledge of insurance industry changes and laws that impact business processes and business outcomes. Able to define business processes in the minutest detail, the insurance business analyst must also ensure that the supported department and, ultimately, the insurance company is compliant with insurance industry standards, policies and laws.
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