The number of job posting on a leading Bangladeshi portal dropped by 87 per cent in April this year, compared to the number a year ago, said a recent study. Another research showed that over 20 million workers are currently unemployed across 11 high-impact economic sectors of the country. In such a vulnerable situation, people are looking for alternative sources of income and opportunities that provide them financial security and flexibility as well.
The opportunity to work as a 'Financial Associate' in the insurance industry can be a promising career path for many candidates, especially the educated youth. They are the people who help customers with financial advice to find the right financial protection products. Often, they are the first point of contact for customers who are looking for insurance services. In such cases, 'Financial Associates' are the bridge between the company and the customer. This position offers a role that is different from traditional jobs.
Insurance has an important role in providing financial protection to people and by reducing the burden on the government's finances. However, the penetration of life insurance in Bangladesh is only 0.5 per cent. That means that the vast majority of people are not accessing all the financial planning options available to them.
But with the country's per capita income, now around US$2,000, more individuals are becoming interested in exploring advantage of covering risks by using insurance as means. So, working in the insurance industry is an opportunity to increase one's income steadily. 'Financial Associates' can do so as they gain experience and develop their expertise. MetLife Bangladesh, for example, tries to make sure all its 'Financial Associates' get proper training, guidance, and supervision to be fully supported as they grow.
Such a career offers an opportunity to protect other people from financial losses in case of unfortunate events. A 'Financial Associate' helps people identify their financial priorities and plans for the future with a suitable product. Customers would turn to 'Financial Associates' during some of the worst and best times of their lives. The position of a 'Financial Associate' offers scope to build deeper relations with members of the community.
Unlike other specialised careers, the insurance sector welcomes candidates with little or no prior experience, and of any age. Based on performance, a 'Financial Associate' can advance and become a 'Unit Manager' and then a 'Branch Manager' who can have his/her own branch and employees.
It may also be a part-time engagement. Unlike traditional desk jobs with 9am-5pm office timing, 'Financial Associates' can use the liberty to work in accordance with their preferred schedule. With the current technological advancements, MetLife's 'Financial Associates' can even work remotely, from home or any other location.
As the industry is undergoing transformation almost every day, energetic youth can take up this challenge and test their calibre and innovative capacity to see how prepared they are for serving an advanced, financially aware, and insightful client base. 'Financial Associates' are required to develop suitable agenda based on appropriate client surveys and to have farsightedness to track and utilise underlying dimensions from each customer relation that will serve the organisation's growth as well.
Each conversation with clients can be an opportunity to extract newer information and perspective, which may be deemed more than a real-time business school, but with real-life samples to learn from, throughout one's career.
Pursuing the career as a 'Financial Associate' boosts professional growth alongside well-esteemed social status and a reassuring lifestyle. As observed, people's interest in insurance is growing, and so is the demand for more 'Financial Associates' to serve the growing customer base. MetLife has simplified the hiring process for 'Financial Associates', with scope for searching for opportunities and joining from homes.
Jafar Sadeque Chowdhury is Chief Distribution Officer at MetLife Bangladesh