The job market for the insurance industry is still grim, but slowly bouncing back, a new survey claims.

The 2010 Employment Outlook Survey from Orlando, Fla.-based GreatInsuranceJobs.com pegs the unemployment rate for the industry at 7.7%, below the national average of 9.7% for all industries. The survey cites the lingering soft market and a slowed pace of retirement as some of the primary factors helping to suppress the need for new workers.

Yet, the report does find a few rays of light for insurance job seekers. Of the 131 companies surveyed, only 8% percent said their tendency to hire new workers would be worse in 2010 as opposed to 2009, while 56% said it would remain the same and 36% responded it would improve.

"In fact, we found nine companies that indicated they will hire at least 2,000 employees in 2010, and 21 companies predicting they will hire more than 500 employees," Scott Kotroba, president and co-founder of GreatInsuranceJobs.com, said in a statement.

As for the jobs, the survey reveals that the majority of insurance jobs open are found at property/casualty carriers, insurance brokers and agencies, third-party administrators and managing general agents. The job types that have multiple openings, including insurance sales professionals, customer service, call center, administration, claims, underwriting and IT.

"The top insurance industry positions being hired in 2010 are insurance sales professionals, claims, underwriting, call center and IT,” Kotroba said. “This is welcome news for anyone looking for an insurance job right now."

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