Insurance jobs, but not for front-office bankers

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When RBS announced its 3,000 redundancies last week, it was notable that none of them were expected to fall in its insurance businesses. This may, of course, be because it's in the middle of trying to engineer a sale of Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance. Or it may be because, with the exception of AIG, insurers aren't quite as badly impacted by the downturn as banks.

Swiss Life, Vienna Insurance and Allianz have all posted disappointing results in recent weeks. But some insurers are still recruiting.

Robert Potter, group HR strategy director at insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson, says they are hiring - but bankers with experience of working in the front office probably need not apply.

"Most of the people who can move out of banking into insurance will have a background in IT, operations, risk, or project management," says Potter.

Phil Bainbridge, a partner who deals with insurance jobs at headhunter Odgers Ray & Berndtson, says the insurance industry has a few issues of its own, but that insurance risk and operations have been "consistently strong areas" of recruitment.

We spoke to one ex-derivatives structurer who said he had unearthed potential openings for former banking structurers, but that nothing had come of it yet.

"I know some insurers like Aspen were looking to build in trade and commodity finance," he says. "This is because banks have been insuring the risk related to trade finance, rather than hedging it out."

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