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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

  • $82,000

    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 Career Paths

Commercial Lines Underwriter
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President
Corporate Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President And Manager
Vice President Operation Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Operations Manager Vice President
Vice President And Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Account Executive Account Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Account Executive Relationship Manager
Business Relationship Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Project Manager Portfolio Manager
Senior Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Territory Sales Manager Unit Manager
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Purchasing Manager Contracts Manager
Commercial Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Risk Manager
Risk And Insurance Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Senior Credit Analyst Credit Manager
Senior Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Specialist Underwriting Consultant Underwriting Manager
Underwriting Director
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Specialist Underwriting Consultant
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Property Underwriter Underwriter Consumer Loan Underwriter
Lending Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Terminal Manager
Line Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Commercial Account Executive Major Account Executive Solution Specialist
Business Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Account Executive Regional Accounts Manager Client Manager
Client Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Specialist Claims Adjuster Benefit Specialist
Employee Benefits Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Commercial Lines Underwriter?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Marine Underwriter 4.0 years
Underwriter 3.6 years
Top Careers Before Commercial Lines Underwriter
Underwriter 19.2%
Internship 2.4%
Top Careers After Commercial Lines Underwriter
Underwriter 15.8%
Owner 1.8%

Do you work as a Commercial Lines Underwriter?

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Commercial Lines Underwriter?

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Top Skills for A Commercial Lines Underwriter

  1. Loss Control Reports
  2. General Liability
  3. Underwriting Territory
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Review loss control reports and determine accuracy of submissions and acceptability of risks within underwriting guidelines.
  • Brokered professional and general liability insurance for architects/engineers.
  • Manage an underwriting territory consisting of assigned agents.
  • Delivered world class customer service through effective resolutions to inquiries; maintaining customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Determined degree of risk by evaluating renewal and new business accounts for acceptability based on profit potential and Society underwriting guidelines.

Commercial Lines Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

51.9%

Male

38.1%

Unknown

10.0%
Ethnicity

White

64.7%

Hispanic or Latino

13.6%

Black or African American

11.4%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.9%

Carrier

20.6%

French

5.9%

Occidental

2.9%

Bulgarian

2.9%

Vietnamese

2.9%

Lakota

2.9%

Greek

2.9%

Russian

2.9%

Korean

2.9%
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Commercial Lines Underwriter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

17.0%

University of Cincinnati

7.8%

Temple University

7.8%

Georgia State University

6.4%

University of Connecticut

6.4%

Florida State University

5.0%

Miami University

5.0%

Strayer University

5.0%

University of Nebraska - Lincoln

4.3%

Appalachian State University

3.5%

State University of New York College at Oswego

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Liberty University

3.5%

Colorado State University

3.5%

Indiana Wesleyan University

3.5%

University of South Florida

2.8%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.8%

Xavier University

2.8%

Utica College

2.8%

University of Rhode Island

2.8%
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Majors

Business

37.8%

Insurance

10.5%

Finance

8.6%

Marketing

5.6%

Accounting

4.6%

Management

3.9%

Psychology

3.8%

Education

3.3%

Political Science

3.3%

Economics

3.0%

English

2.2%

Communication

1.9%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

History

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Mathematics

1.5%

Law

1.5%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.4%

Kinesiology

1.2%

Elementary Education

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

56.6%

Other

17.4%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

6.7%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

1.6%

License

1.4%

Diploma

0.3%
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