Executive search and selection specialist Mansion House takes a look at what senior directors earn

The insurance industry's reputation for low salaries will take a lot of shaking off, but there are signs that the rewards on offer are improving.

The figures in the tables show that, even among the major insurers and brokers (on which the figures are based), salaries and benefits can vary greatly, with top performers' earnings increasing at a rapid rate.

While there has been a move towards more competitive remuneration across the industry as a whole, especially in London, the overall picture is that employers will pay what they can get away with - no surprise there.

However, the demands placed on senior staff are so high that even areas such as claims can reward well, although lower down the scale that certainly is not the case.

The problem with the insurance industry is that it has failed to grasp the importance of training. The introduction of compulsory qualifications for key positions would attract more high-quality people at grass roots level. The financial services sector is already competitive and the signs are that, over the next few years, this situation will continue.Ultimately, insurance companies would have to offer better remuneration packages.

At the upper end of the scale, the insurance industry has always had a good representation in the top earners lists, but the overall picture shows that we still lag behind other industries on pay and benefits.

A typical executive benefits package will include some or all of the following:

  • Bonus. At least one scheme but maybe up to three, based on corporate and individual performance running over a period of one to three years. Up to 100% of salary.
  • Pension scheme. Contributory or non-contributory. Final-salary or money purchase.
  • Company car or car allowance. Increases with grade.
  • Mortgage subsidy. Becoming rare.
  • Accommodation allowance. Lump-sum payment or monthly payment.
  • Health care and insurance.
  • Share save/share options/equity stake.
  • Life asssurance.
  • Expenses. Petrol, mobile phone.
  • Holiday. Up to 30 days a year.

    In the past five years, more and more companies have introduced bonus schemes that pay cash or share options to staff at all levels. They have found that a well-structured long-term incentive plan is a good way of keeping key members of staff and of attracting new ones.

    The highest rewards tend to be for those with responsibility for business production or with a direct influence on profitability.

    After salary and bonus, the next most important benefit seems to be the pension. This is a controversial subject across UK industry, so public awareness is high. With so many major employers moving from final-salary schemes to money purchase, the value of the former should not be underestimated.

    Looking at the other benefits, there has been a trend towards car allowances. For city centre offices, a reserved parking space has become a particularly valuable perk.

    Ultimately, staff at all levels enjoy working for organisations that offer a degree of security, have good reputations, clear management vision and understand that good people are the key. If they also pay well, that helps too.

    Information is based on major insurers and brokers. Every attempt has been made to compare like with like.

    For full visual statistics downlaod the PDF