For many professionals, the flexibility and independence of contracting work can be appealing compared to permanent staff positions. The insurance industry in particular offers various opportunities to take on short or long-term projects as a contractor rather than a direct employee.
This guide provides an overview of common contractor roles within insurance and actionable advice for professionals looking to break into this alternative career path.
Project-Based Versus Temp Work
When pursuing insurance contractor gigs, it’s important to distinguish between project-based work versus temp assignments. Project contracts typically involve more specialized skills to complete discrete tasks over weeks or months. Temp roles offered through staffing agencies place contractors in ongoing staff augment roles on a longer-term basis.
Both paths can be worthwhile starting points for newcomers to gain industry experience and references that lead to larger projects down the line. However, project work generally commands higher rates while allowing more flexibility to choose engagements. It’s wise to focus initial efforts on identifying project openings aligning with one’s qualifications.
Common Project Roles
Examples of specialist roles commonly staffed by insurance contractors on a project basis include:
Underwriting Analysis – Evaluate complex risk submissions and advise on terms via contract.
Actuarial Services – Assist with pricing models, reserving analysis or financial reporting projects as a consulting actuary.
Claims Administration – Fill in coverage and settlement assessments during interim staffing shortages.
Compliance Auditing – Scrutinize documentation, processes and reports for adherence to regulations.
Risk Management – Perform risk analyses, loss control reviews or develop risk financing solutions.
Systems Integration – Contribute programming, testing or consultation during core system upgrades.
Process Improvement – Lead documentation of workflows, measure performance metrics and design optimized processes.
Thoroughly researching project needs helps self-qualify for roles utilizing one’s precise expertise, technical skills and industry knowledge.
Stand Out in a Competitive Field
The contracting landscape remains very competitive due to the high volume of professionals seeking flexible work. To increase visibility and demonstrate value, contractors should:
- Maintain an up-to-date profile, work samples and testimonials on industry networking platforms like LinkedIn.
- Pursue relevant insurance designations or continuing education to gain specialized credentials.
- Develop relationships by joining professional associations in target specialty practice areas.
- Cold email or connect on LinkedIn with hiring managers and referral sources at insurance firms and brokers.
- Maintain a professional personal website showcasing experience, case studies, published thought leadership or speaking engagements.
- Place targeted bids on high-profile projects through online marketplaces like GigsOn or Resource Solutions.
Estimate Rates and Structure Agreements
Setting the right day rates determines profitability versus competitiveness. Factors impacting rates include experience, specialty skills, target client size and geography. Determine a baseline by:
- Researching precedent rates through marketplaces, association surveys and by speaking to other established contractors.
- Calculating full costs including estimated taxes, benefits, equipment, overhead and business development.
- Adding a margin on top of costs to achieve desired income targets.
Additionally, have flexible standard contract terms ready addressing scope of work, payment schedules, confidentiality terms, liability clauses and more. Consider using staffing firms’ templates when starting out.
Obtain Key Insurance
While the flexibility of contracting comes with fewer employer-provided benefits, independent professionals must secure their own protection including:
- Professional Liability Insurance – Covers liability claims from errors made providing services.
General Liability Insurance – Protection for bodily injury or property damage not covered by professional policies.
Business Overhead Insurance – Replacement income if unable to work due to disability or illness.
Health Insurance – Individual marketplace plans can be purchased.
Retirement Savings – Set up Solo 401(k)s or SEP-IRAs to contribute tax-deferred savings.
Acquire necessary policies before beginning work to ensure financial security if issues arise. Deduct premiums as business expenses.
Develop Business Operations
To run a successful contracting enterprise like any business, establish strong operational foundations such as:
- Incorporating as an independent consultancy provides liability protection
- Filing required business registrations and licenses with state/local authorities
- Setting up professional financial and accounting systems
- Investing in equipment, software and cloud productivity tools
- Develop standard work proposals, contracts and confidentiality agreements
- Obtaining necessary banking and credit procedures for invoicing clients
- Ensuring timely tax compliance and estimated payment schedules
- Creating marketing materials like proposals and presentations
- Networking constantly to generate new project referrals
Land the First Gig
Securing that initial contracting opportunity requires targeted outreach. Leverage connections by directly contacting:
- Former managers or colleagues at past employers
- Industry peers within professional associations
- Consultants used regularly at insurance firms
Express enthusiasm for temporary project-based work and highlight relevant qualifications. Offer sample proposals for tasks the contact’s firm regularly outsources.
Alternately, a staffing agency provides introductions to potential clients—though they take a fee. Once established, referrals from satisfied initial clients become the best way to continuously grow a project-based insurance career without traditional employment.
Measuring Success and Growth
To progress as an independent contractor, continually evaluate performance using key metrics like:
- Revenue generated and profit margins versus budget
- Client satisfaction and willingness to provide testimonials
- Number and size of projects won through proposals and bidding
- Speed and ease of obtaining new work
- Abundance of referral opportunities from past clients and colleagues
When performance plateaus, look for strategies like specializing in narrower niche domains, pursuing additional designations, developing proprietary tools or expanding geographical coverage areas. Over time, growing an established reputation and book of business makes contracting a viable long term career path. With persistence and skill, insurance professionals can thrive without ever becoming permanent employees.