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Become A Commercial Lines Underwriter

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Working As A Commercial Lines Underwriter

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Processing Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $65,040

    Average Salary

What Does A Commercial Lines Underwriter Do

Insurance underwriters decide whether to provide insurance and under what terms. They evaluate insurance applications and determine coverage amounts and premiums.

Duties

Insurance underwriters typically do the following:

  • Analyze information stated on insurance applications
  • Determine the risk involved in insuring a client
  • Screen applicants on the basis of set criteria
  • Evaluate recommendations from underwriting software
  • Contact field representatives, medical personnel, and others to obtain further information
  • Decide whether to offer insurance
  • Determine appropriate premiums and amounts of coverage

Underwriters are the main link between an insurance company and an insurance agent. Insurance underwriters use computer software programs to determine whether to approve an applicant. They take specific information about a client and enter it into a program. The program then provides recommendations on coverage and premiums. Underwriters evaluate these recommendations and decide whether to approve or reject the application. If a decision is difficult, they may consult additional sources, such as medical documents and credit scores.

Underwriters analyze the risk factors appearing on an application. For instance, if an applicant reports a previous bankruptcy, the underwriter must determine whether that information is relevant to the current policy. The underwriter would consider how far in the past the bankruptcy occurred and how the applicant’s financial situation has changed since the applicant filed for bankruptcy.

Insurance underwriters must achieve a balance between risky and cautious decisions. If underwriters allow too much risk, the insurance company will pay out too many claims. But if they don't approve enough applications, the company will not make enough money from premiums.

Most insurance underwriters specialize in one of three broad fields: life, health, and property and casualty. Although the job duties in each field are similar, the criteria that underwriters use vary. For example, for someone seeking life insurance, underwriters consider age and financial history. For someone applying for car insurance (a form of property and casualty insurance), underwriters consider the person’s driving record.

Within the broad field of property and casualty, underwriters may specialize even further, into commercial (business) insurance or personal insurance. They may also specialize by the type of policy, such as insuring automobiles, boats (marine insurance), or homes (homeowners’ insurance).

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How To Become A Commercial Lines Underwriter

Employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, insurance-related work experience and strong computer skills may be enough. Certification is generally necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.

Education

Most firms prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Courses in business, finance, economics, and mathematics are particularly helpful.

Training

Beginning underwriters usually work as trainees under the supervision of senior underwriters. Trainees work on basic applications and learn the most common risk factors. As they gain experience, they become responsible for more complex applications and work independently.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Employers often expect underwriters to become certified through coursework. Courses are important for keeping current with new insurance policies and for adjusting to new technology and changes in state and federal regulations. Certification is often necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter management positions. Many certification options are available.

For underwriters with at least 3 years of insurance experience, The Institutes offer the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. For beginning underwriters, The Institutes offer a training program.

The Institutes also offer two special designations: Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and Associate in Personal Insurance (API). To earn either the AU or API designation, underwriters complete a series of courses and exams that generally take 1 to 2 years.

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors offers an introductory course in basic insurance concepts: the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). The American College of Financial Services offers the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) certification.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Underwriters must be able to evaluate information from a variety of sources and solve complex problems.

Decisionmaking skills. Underwriters must consider the costs and benefits of various decisions and choose the appropriate one.

Detail oriented. Underwriters must pay attention to detail, because each individual item on an insurance application can affect the coverage decision.

Interpersonal skills. Underwriters need good communication and interpersonal skills because much of their work involves dealing with other people, such as insurance agents.

Math skills. Determining the probability of losses on an insurance policy and calculating appropriate premiums require mathematical ability.

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Commercial Lines Underwriter jobs

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Commercial Lines Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

59.8%

Male

38.6%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

80.8%

Hispanic or Latino

9.6%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

1.7%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9%

Carrier

28.1%

German

6.3%

Occidental

3.1%

Vietnamese

3.1%

French

3.1%

Lakota

3.1%

Greek

3.1%

Russian

3.1%
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Commercial Lines Underwriter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.9%

University of Connecticut

7.1%

Michigan State University

6.0%

Appalachian State University

4.8%

University of Iowa

4.8%

Saint Joseph's University

4.8%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.8%

Iowa State University

4.8%

Villanova University

4.8%

Utica College

4.8%

State University of New York Polytechnic Institute

3.6%

Temple University

3.6%

Youngstown State University

3.6%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.6%

State University of New York College at Oswego

3.6%

Georgia State University

3.6%

Kennesaw State University

3.6%

University of North Florida

3.6%

Xavier University

3.6%

University of Rhode Island

3.6%
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Majors

Business

37.9%

Insurance

11.3%

Finance

7.9%

Marketing

5.1%

Management

4.9%

Psychology

3.8%

Accounting

3.6%

Education

3.6%

Political Science

2.8%

Economics

2.8%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Law

2.1%

General Studies

1.8%

History

1.8%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.5%

English

1.5%

Communication

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

Mathematics

1.3%

Elementary Education

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.9%

Other

17.6%

Masters

11.9%

Associate

6.7%

Certificate

3.6%

Doctorate

2.2%

License

1.6%

Diploma

0.4%
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Real Commercial Lines Underwriter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Commercial Line Underwriter Leading Insurance Services, Inc. Fort Lee, NJ Sep 01, 2012 $80,000
Underwriter-Commercial Lines/Specialty Lines National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg New York, NY Nov 01, 2010 $64,170
Commercial Lines Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Nov 01, 2011 $55,000
Commercial Lines Insurance Underwriter Ping An Group Inc. El Monte, CA Sep 21, 2016 $50,088

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Top Skills for A Commercial Lines Underwriter

NewBusinessPoliciesLossControlReportsGeneralLiabilityUnderwritingTerritoryBusinessAutoCompanyProductsWorkersCompensationCustomerServiceLossRatioPackageMulti-LineInsuranceCompanyFacultativeReinsurancePersonalLinesInsuranceAgentsInspectionReportsRiskManagementCompanyUnderwritingGuidelinesISOProfessionalLiability

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Top Commercial Lines Underwriter Skills

  1. New Business Policies
  2. Loss Control Reports
  3. General Liability
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assist agents in finding the right products for a potential insured for possible new business policies.
  • Review loss control reports and determine accuracy of submissions and acceptability of risks within underwriting guidelines.
  • Set up new business files; processed endorsements of Commercial Auto and General Liability products
  • Initial underwriting territory was Central and Eastern PA.
  • Represented several companies underwriting Business Automobile, Garage and Dealers, General Liability and Property coverage's.

Top Commercial Lines Underwriter Employers

Commercial Lines Underwriter Videos

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