Reasons to Choose a Career in Insurance

The insurance industry may not be the first field that comes to mind when young people are thinking of their dream job, but in reality, it’s one of the most solid options around.

This is true if you’re embarking on the first steps of your lifelong career journey, and equally so if you’re already part way down the road and looking to make a career switch. One thing to note is that working in insurance actually covers a wide range of job types. This means that you can find a position to match your skills, preferences, and ambitions.

Roles include working in technology and data analytics, for those of you who are proficient with IT and programming. There are positions in sales and marketing, and customer service; all ideal if you’re a great communicator and skilled at putting people at ease. You can train for a property and casualty license if you want a specialized selling role. Or perhaps you’d prefer working in the legal area, claims, or finance.

Working in insurance is actually difficult to classify, because there are so many different routes you can take. But what’s certain is that it’s an industry that offers a great many benefits.

Get started with ease

At entry level, salaries in the insurance business tend to be higher on average than entry level in other sectors. You’d likely be looking at something, entry level, between $44,000 and $52,000 per year. As you climb the ladder, you can expect that your salary rises satisfactorily, allowing you to save adequately and live very comfortably.

Furthermore, there are no intimidating barriers to entry in the insurance industry. For many roles, you can get a job without higher level education or extensive experience. In other words, it’s not the type of job that calls its starter positions entry level, but then lists specialized requirements that few truly beginner level entrants are likely to have.

Secure prospects

If you’re employed in the insurance sector, then the outlook is positive. For example, predictions from the Bureau of Labor Statistics state that insurance sales agent jobs will increase in number by 7% by the year 2030.

That’s the kind of moderate but steady growth that you can rely on. No wild fluctuations, and low degrees of risk, mean such predicted outcomes are a safe bet. It’s simple really, people and communities will always continue to need insurance, so it’s an industry within which you can feel secure and make long-term plans.

Train on the job

Once you’re in, while you may feel ready to get to work, you likely need to learn more about what to do, and undertake some training. The majority of companies are forward-thinking and pragmatic, and will have you complete your training as you work. There may be in-company training courses, to make sure that new employees are confidently familiar with critical procedures, and with the laws and regulations they must comply with. You’ll almost certainly have the chance to acquire certification and professional accreditation.

Enjoy a flexible and diverse schedule

Although it’s not always possible to work from home—it depends on the company and your role within it—an increasing number of organizations are offering the opportunity for remote work, or a mixed schedule.

In terms of when you work, and what you have to do, expect flexibility and change. It’s increasingly the case that employers let staff work out their own schedules and manage their hours from week to week. The tasks you do will vary, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to pick up fresh skills and put your mind to new kinds of tasks.

Make a difference

While income, advancement and opportunity are critical factors when deciding a job, another important requirement, sometimes overlooked, is satisfaction. You might even go further and say that a really well balanced career gives you a sense of contributing to something greater than just yourself. Being a part of the insurance industry gives you the opportunity to really help, both at an individual and a community level. Additionally, the insurance industry contributes considerably to the charity sector.

When someone suffers a serious loss, whether that’s property or losing a loved one, they contact their insurance provider, whose responsibility then is to provide support. If a disaster hits an entire community—imagine a flood or a storm ripping through a town, for example—then it’s insurance providers who must be on hand, organizing the resources to allow the repair and rebuild efforts to begin.

Shape the future

You’ve probably noticed that the world is changing significantly. We’re in a period of rapid advancement, in which technologies such as AI and Machine Learning are altering the nature of work. At the same time, though, people are wary of becoming overly automated, and often value a personal, even traditional experience.

In the insurance industry you’ll need to find a balance, and will help to define how the sector moves forward. You can be using all the latest tools for data analysis, marketing, and finance, while also helping people on a personal level, and gaining their trust.

Silicon Valley and the Military

At first glance, the world of the tech industry and the world of the military could not be any further apart.

In fact, in the eyes of the public, the two spheres seem to embody opposing ideals and management styles. Tech companies aim to be disruptive, replacing old ways of doing things with unprecedented technological solutions. The military, on the other hand, values tradition, insisting on etiquette and ceremonies that are centuries old.

The work of tech companies can be described as haphazard, as epitomized by a Mark Zuckerberg quote “Move fast and break things”. Products are released quickly, then patched hurriedly the moment users run into a problem. New features are bolted onto existing code the moment they’re thought up.

The military, on the other hand, has an emphasis on doing things right the first time. Operations are exhaustively planned and practised months before the actual thing. A strict chain-of-command is in place to ensure maximum coordination. In fact, many peculiarities of military communication (like military time, or the military alphabet) have the purpose of averting miscommunication before it happens (e.g. the military alphabet exists because of the tendency for pronunciation to get garbled over radio).

However, in our current era, there are differences between these two professions that go beyond just attitudes. In fact, they even seem to disagree on moral grounds.

A good example of this would be the reaction to Google’s involvement in Project Maven. Project Maven is a project by the Pentagon seeking to use machine learning to efficiently sift through massive amounts of data (usually gathered by spying and reconnaissance). Fellow tech giants such as Facebook and Amazon were also involved in this project. Despite this, and Google’s assurance that the work had nothing to do with frontline combat or violence, its employees still protested. A petition by Google employees with more than 3,000 signatures was sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, reading “Google should not be in the business of war“. In the end, Google pulled out of the project entirely.

This state of affairs wasn’t always the case, however. Indeed, for most of history, technology and warfare were closely intertwined. Advancements in technology were also used as advancements in war, no matter the creator’s intentions. Dynamite was originally intended as a tool to make mining safer, but it’s usage in war horrified its inventor (Alfred Nobel) to the point where he set up prizes rewarding achievements in peace and literature in his will.

The invention of the Internet, though, was the direct opposite of dynamite. The idea of the Internet started as a project of the US Department of Defense (DARPA) called ARPANET. Its original purpose was to be able to function as a communications system for the military that did not have a central core or headquarters. Such a network would not have any weak spots for an enemy to target, that could take down the entire network in one fell swoop.

Things didn’t actually pan out that way, though. ARPANET was used more for academic research than military command, before being replaced by dozens of other computer networks that improved on ARPANET in some way. Eventually, one of those copycat networks provided the inspiration and the technical backbone for Tim Berners-Lee to introduce the World Wide Web for civilian use in 1992. The rest, as they say, is history.

If there is any reason we can point to the modern differences between tech culture and military culture, it could be summed up in two words: “Silicon Valley”. The founders of the most iconic tech companies of the 21st century (e.g. Google, Facebook, Apple) had ideals regarding their technology that went far beyond the profit motive. They also viewed them as a moral duty, that they could genuinely change the world for the better with enough cutting-edge technology. This is a quote from Larry Page, one of the founders of Google:

“Sergey [the other founder] and I founded Google because we’re super optimistic about the potential for technology to make the world a better place.”

Similarly, this is a quote from Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook:

“By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent.”

Their aspirational hopes covered the entire world. In hindsight, one could have predicted them eventually butting heads with the military, who tend to value the security and interests of their own nation over others.

Will these two divergent worldviews ever see eye-to-eye? Perhaps they already have. Research by non-profit Tech Inquiry revealed that Silicon Valley companies actually have thousands of contracts with US military and law enforcement that go under the radar everyday, mostly for services such as data management and technical support that traditional contractors are unable to provide. Despite their initial idealism (epitomised by Google’s old unofficial motto: “don’t be evil”), they might have opened themselves to more and more types of clients as they grew larger and more established.

Regardless of their motives, though, it is clear that the technology of Silicon Valley has changed the world forever. Anyone who wants to keep up on the cutting edge of technology (like the military) will have no choice but to deal with them.

Start a Tech Business in 5 Steps

Starting a tech business might sound daunting, like something reserved only for super-intelligent Ivy League graduates. But with recent advancements in technology, it’s easier than ever to start a business and get it off the ground. Not just that, the digital tools widely available to consumers now make it incredibly convenient and simple to set up fairly complex businesses.

In this article, we’ll go over five steps to starting a tech business—from incorporation to launch and marketing.

Step 1—Lifting Off Without Too Many Hassles

Don’t start off by registering your company as a corp or LLC, it’ll cost you a lot of money and the taxation will drain you too. It’s better to avoid the complicated legal issues that come with forming an entity, and simply get started as yourself, or an informal partnership. It especially makes sense to do this when you don’t have a product ready, IP to protect, or wages to pay

Since it’s a tech company, it would help if either you or one of your partners had a technical background and expertise in the field you’re venturing into. A great advantage you have is that you may not require money to build the product or the prototype. If it’s software, you could just write the code and have the product ready. The major investment here, instead, is in terms of time.

Step 2—Get Them to Pre-order

A smart and efficient method of starting is to approach potential clients with your offering before you spend dozens or hundreds of hours building your product. Reach out to your target audience and share your concept with them as though you already have the product ready. If your target market expresses interest in your product, it means you’re on the right track. If they don’t, then you need to research the market some more and determine what would meet their needs.

You can ask people to pre-order if they are keen on using your tech offering. With some revenue in hand, you’ll have more freedom to experiment with your product and ideas. You can also set up a website for your company and showcase your product. Website building isn’t half as hard as it used to be years ago—take some time to find the best website builder for your needs, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Step 3—Connect with the Right Talent

With various digital platforms and applications connecting people together, it’s easier than ever for you to find talent for your business—whether it’s at the start, to create your offering, or later on when you’re looking to scale your company. If you’re looking to have a partner (co-founder) on board, it would help to attend networking events or search within your existing network for people with the appropriate skills. You could also find potential co-founders through websites that connect startups with the right talent. If you’re on a lean budget, you should offer the co-founder equity in the company.

Step 4—Marketing and Funding

Effective marketing is not easy. It takes excellent research and application. As mentioned previously, reaching out to potential clients and getting them to pre-order your product is a brilliant way to start out. It can also help with word-of-mouth marketing.

But once your product is ready and you want to scale up swiftly, it can take more than just word-of-mouth marketing. Startups that receive good funding can invest a lot in their campaigns and market aggressively. You could try crowdfunding platforms to receive more funds for your campaigns or get in touch with investors.

Alternatively, you could use various online platforms to spread word of your offering and even attend networking events to do the same. You could team up with relevant bloggers and news websites to share details about your business.

Step 5—Side Gigs for Money

In the early stages, when your business is still in development and isn’t raking in the big bucks, it would help to have side gigs that bring in enough money to handle your basic needs. The options are plenty—you could freelance, teach online, or even write for a publication. Anything that doesn’t drain too much of your time and energy and prevent you from working on your main gig. It can be a lot of fun if you monetize a hobby or a passion area of yours. It could relax you and keep the burnout away.

Ready for Launch?

Now that we’ve gone over the five steps to launching a tech business, hopefully some mystery has been removed. Setting up any kind of business takes plenty of effort, but with a clear roadmap, what could take years could be ready in a few months.

Keep in mind that not all startups take off immediately—your concept may need a few iterations for it to be fully market-ready. But once it’s well prepared, your customers will take to it like moths to a flame.

Digital Health Technologies that Create Health Care Savings

Healthcare has always been a top priority in the US. Chronic diseases make it a big part of a person’s monthly budget. An empirical study in 2018 found that 45% of Americans have at least one chronic disease. The most common chronic diseases were cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and smoking. A person with a chronic disease spends an average of $5,300 for medication and check-ups.

Recent studies showed that these numbers continue to increase. It revealed that a person spends an average of $11,000 on healthcare every year. This does not even cover hidden costs like productivity loss and salary deductions.

This is where the impact of digital health is making a difference. The integration of simple digital technologies into healthcare is reducing medical costs. Below are a few of the areas where these technologies are making positive changes:

Medication Adherence

Patients with chronic diseases fill out 83% of all prescriptions. A person with at least one chronic disease fills more than 20 prescriptions every year. But, 20% to 30% of prescriptions never get filled out at all. This results in greater spending and poorer health outcomes in the long run.

Digital technologies are emerging to solve this problem. There are now smartphone apps that send out reminders of medication schedules. Others even come with a “virtual pillbox”, which has images of a pill’s shape and size. The app then submits summary reports to the doctor and the patient.

Then, there are digital health marketplaces that allow people access to cheaper medication. One of these is the USA Rx health savings for everyone. Getting access to better offers and deals on medicines helps get prescriptions filled. This, in turn, aids in medication adherence, especially for those with chronic conditions.

Diabetes Prevention

Recent statistics show that almost 10% of the US population has diabetes. On average, a diabetic spends $4,500 every year on medication and lost productivity. Meanwhile, 32% of the total population has pre-diabetes. These are people who are at high risk of developing diabetes.

The best diabetes treatment is not only insulin but prevention. Chronic disease prevention is the key to lower health costs. Prevention requires behavioral interventions, support, and education. And, digital therapeutics now offers diabetes prevention solutions.

A good example is Omada Health. Modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Program study, it offers an online interactive program. It runs for 16 weeks and comes with health coaches and personalized plans. Its main goal is to lessen the chance of developing diabetes in pre-diabetic patients. Based on observations, an average participant lost about 5% of body weight. This makes it less likely for them to develop diabetes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recognizes Omada’s programs.

Smoking Cessation

Approximately 17% of US adults are smokers. Surveys show that companies spend almost $6,000 on employees’ medical costs every year. Smoking cessation requires a lot of effort, support, and behavioral change. As a result, digital therapeutics are being developed and validated for it.

2morrow’s SmartQuit has shown effectiveness in clinical trials. It is a smartphone app-based smoking cessation program. Although not all health insurance providers cover it, it guarantees its quality. If the expected results continue, it will help smokers quit or at least reduce smoking. As a result, lesser smoking-related cases such as lung cancer and emphysema happen.

Chronic and other diseases need prevention and consistent intervention. Digital health products and services can help achieve massive changes for this. It can also promote better efficiency and savings when it comes to healthcare.

The Best Anime Tech

Japanese anime covers every genre and situation you can imagine, from high school basketball rivalries to dread-filled ghostly encounters. But the style that’s perhaps most iconic, and which did the heavy lifting to establish the manga and anime industry as a peerless global force, is science fiction. And science fiction would be nothing without tech.

Sometimes anime’s machines and devices are mind-bending, other times spectacular, and occasionally disturbing. They might make you stop and think, deliberately hinting at ethical and existential dilemmas. And often, they’re just a lot of fun.

Whether you browse an extensive collection of manga and anime at home, or prefer to catch up at 9anime, it’s thought-provoking when you notice that fiction foreshadowed reality. Here’s a selection of memorable anime tech from down the years, that sometimes has parallels in real life.

Thermoptic Camouflage Suit

Featured in: Ghost in the Shell

Predating Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, but predated itself by the camouflage technology used by the hunter alien in Predator, is the Thermoptic Camouflage Suit, from the nineties cyberpunk classic, Ghost in the Shell.

These camouflage suits allow their wearers, members of a government intelligence department called Public Security Section 9, to blend into their environment when their suits are activated. The suits take information from their surroundings, and alter the surface material to mimic what’s around, but the wearers are not perfectly hidden.

Could such an artifact ever be manufactured in real life? Maybe so. Among others, a professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, Susumu Tachi, has been working on something very similar, creating a working prototype camouflage coat with a technology that he calls retro-reflective projection.


Featured in: Sword Art Online

The amusphere is a sleek and shiny headset, that fits over the wearer’s eyes, and has the capability to read and transmit brain waves. Using this information, a fully immersive virtual world is created, which the amusphere wearer, as both creator and protagonist, can navigate and interact with.

The anime in which this concept features, Sword Art Online, is set in the near future, and deals with concepts such as cyberspace, VR gaming, the blending of reality and imagination, and the blurring of organic and artificial.

Heading as we now are into the 2020s, our lives seem increasingly to be shifting online, interactions take place through screens, a metaverse takes shape, and VR headsets can be purchased and played with. As for hooking up brainwaves and machines, tech pioneer Elon Musk is already working on a brain machine interface, at his extraordinary, but slightly creepy, Neuralink company.

Simulated Reality

Featured in: Megazone 23

Another slice of Japanese cyberpunk brilliance, Megazone 23 transports viewers to the early 24th century, an era in which humans live on board colonial spaceships, the Earth having been abandoned to environmental catastrophe.

One of these gargantuan, drifting habitats (Megazone 23, of the title) has been modelled on Tokyo, and is maintained by an all-knowing AI, called Eve. The twist, though, is that the inhabitants don’t know they’re in a simulated and computer-managed version of reality.

Concept sounds familiar? If you’ve watched The Matrix, The Truman Show, or Existenz, then you’ll have come across similar themes and set-ups. They all came after Megazone 23, though, which was released in 1985. But then again, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave was written around 380 BC.

Existing in a fabricated reality sounds far-fetched, but could something like this actually happen? There are a few deep thinkers who propose not only that it could, but that it already has. The idea is called the simulation hypothesis, and it suggests that it’s actually more likely than not that you are in a simulation right now, but you aren’t aware of it, and can’t—for now at least—prove it. After all, how would you know? And how would you get out?

Doko Demo Door

Featured in: Doraemon

Doraemon is one of the true greats of Japanese children’s animation. It started life in manga form, way back in 1969, and is still going strong today, revamped through the decades, and adored across generations.

Colourful, humorous, and endlessly creative, the titular character is a blue, robot cat, sent back in time from the 22nd century to take care of a young boy, Nobita, by Nobita’s own future grandson.

A key component of the Doraemon stories are the robot cat’s futuristic gadgets, pulled from his pocket, which itself has the mysterious capacity to contain a multitude of objects. Close to 2000 such gadgets have appeared throughout the many shows and movies, and there are a handful which are regulars, as famous as the main characters themselves. One of these is the Doko Demo Door, which means, in English, Anywhere Door.

When utilized, it takes the form of a pink, free-standing door and frame. The user can then step through and be transported instantly to any location.

Throughout the mishaps and strange adventures that the characters in Doraemon experience, technology is always presented as larger-than-life, packed with potential, and simultaneously unpredictable and irresistible.

While the Doko Demo Door is fantasy, the optimistic vision presented in Doraemon, of tech and our relationship with it, is something we can all keep hold of and be inspired by.