All professions have suffered from having informal internships based on who you know, and insurance is no different in that regard.
"Insurance is more interesting than it sounds," explains David Thomson, director of policy and public affairs at the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII).
"At the heart of insurance is risk – how do you calculate different risks?"
The CII is celebrating the centenary of its Royal Charter with a project looking to the future rather than the past.
Future Risk looks at what we may face in 100 years from now and the impacts of climate change, epidemics, booming birth rates and other "long-term, complex and colliding issues".
"Insurance companies spend all their time trying to evaluate these issues in order to price things," Mr Thomson says.
"That is how companies can trade, because they have some certainty of outcome. So we decided on a project that looks at different aspects of future risk."
Mr Thomson is speaking to Central Lobby in a week when the insurance industry has stood out, in stark contrast to other professions, for its efforts to widen access.
Alan Milburn's first report as the government's independent reviewer on social mobility said little has changed to wider access to the professions, which remain a "closed shop" to applicants from poorer backgrounds.
Mr Thomson explains that insurance traditionally been more "porous" than medicine, journalism or law.
"Because it is an industry and not just a profession there have been multiple points of entry," he says.
"Much of our recruiting would be taking people in at 16 and training them in work.
"That is not to say there aren't issues that need to be addressed, such as the perception of potential applicants and what they think of insurance."
To help schools, colleges and potential applicants understand the insurance industry; CII has launched a new website and online game, Discover Risk.
It is a colourful introduction to an industry that is more interesting than its image would lead a potential employee to imagine.
"One of the barriers we perceive is simply, people were not interested in insurance," explains Mr Thomson.
"When we have done surveys the past we found that people did not really think about insurance as a profession."
He adds that CII strives for a diverse range of recruits.
"We want to have the best possible group of people entering the profession.
"We have just issued a guide for employers about how to structure appropriate internships.
"All professions have suffered from having informal internships based on who you know, and insurance is no different in that regard.
"Employers are in effect the access point to the sector both small and large, and insurance has thousands of small firms.
"They just needed help in how to structure internships, what the funding rules are, what they should do to make sure that process is correct.
"It is really giving them the tool kit to do it in an appropriate way."
Mr Thomson explains that for even the smallest firms there is an economic advantage in taking on an intern or an apprentice.
"They need to be in a position to be recruiting. What many smaller firms want is an ability to retain people. An apprentice or intern is a big commitment but they are relatively safer forms of recruitment, quite often you will see formal internships will be converted into jobs and that makes sense.
"What we do not want to do is have this recycling of free labour, which is what was beginning to happen in some professions."
This approach chimes with the Milburn report's call for flexible routes to careers, creating different levels of access.
CII is "a professional body in the sense that we have a Royal charter," explains Mr Thomson.
"We have a public interest mandate on all the issues that affect our members, which is quite a big span that goes not just into general insurance and life insurance but financial advice."
To that end the institute has spoken out on issues as diverse as paying for social care, financial education in schools, climate change and the efficacy of ‘nudge' theory.
"With issues that affect the industry and the public we like to at the very least host debates between our members, other groups, the wider public and government.
"We may not have a strong view, but there is a wider ulterior motive. Take social care - it is vital in long-term interests of the country that there is adequate care and we need to get the market and government to come up with a solution."
Mr Thomson adds that their latest report on future risks, discussing environmental and climate changes, will be out in a few weeks.
"It has got a very good piece by the government's chief scientist, Sir John Beddington."
Mr Thomson says CII members are regularly asked about the economy, and attitudes vary according to where they are doing business.
"By and large people are concerned about the wider economy but less so about their particular firm. Insurance has had a better four or five years than the rest of financial services, it tends to be a more even flow of business.
"There has been a year-on-year slight reduction in confidence, which reflects the fact that a year or 15 months ago people though there was light at the end of the tunnel.
"It has proved to be a slightly longer tunnel than people expected, so there is a greater element of doubt that this is not a normal recession.
"We have an international membership, so what you find is that particularly in the Far East and Africa there is much greater confidence not just about the economy but the future."