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Become A Commercial Underwriter

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Working As A Commercial Underwriter

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

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $99,524

    Average Salary

What Does A Commercial 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 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 Underwriter Videos

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

Daniel: Commercial Lines Underwriter

Jake: Commercial Lines Underwriter

Commercial Underwriter Jobs

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Commercial Underwriter Career Paths

Commercial Underwriter
Manager, Assistant Vice President Real Estate Agent Insurance Sales Agent
Agency Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Vice President Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Benefits Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Sales Consultant Retail Sales Consultant
Business Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Risk Manager
Chief Risk Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Commercial Lines Underwriter Commercial Lines Account Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Property Manager Real Estate Broker
Commercial Director
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Underwriter Commercial Lines Underwriter
Commercial Lines Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Portfolio Manager Underwriter Senior Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Consultant/Project Manager Risk Manager
Credit Risk Management Director
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Office Manager Property Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Vice President General Manager Property Manager
Real Estate Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Analyst Risk Manager
Risk And Insurance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Portfolio Manager Assistant Vice President
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager Portfolio Manager
Senior Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Mortgage Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Director
9 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Operations Manager Underwriter
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Underwriting Manager Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Commercial Lines Underwriter Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Vice President Operation Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Commercial Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

50.1%

Male

47.7%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

63.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Black or African American

12.1%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.6%

Carrier

17.9%

Korean

7.1%

Chinese

3.6%

German

3.6%

Cantonese

3.6%

French

3.6%

Dakota

3.6%

Mandarin

3.6%
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Commercial Underwriter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

Michigan State University

6.6%

Illinois State University

5.7%

Northwestern University

4.9%

Auburn University

4.9%

University of Akron

4.9%

California State University - Northridge

4.9%

University of Florida

4.9%

Miami University

4.9%

Ball State University

4.9%

Florida State University

4.9%

Villanova University

4.1%

Kansas State University

4.1%

Ohio State University

4.1%

University of Georgia

4.1%

Liberty University

4.1%

University of South Florida

3.3%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.3%

Glendale Community College

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

40.6%

Finance

14.8%

Insurance

6.2%

Accounting

6.0%

Management

4.7%

Marketing

3.9%

Economics

3.8%

Political Science

2.6%

Communication

2.4%

Psychology

2.4%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Sociology

1.5%

Real Estate

1.5%

Law

1.3%

Education

1.1%

Human Resources Management

1.1%

Public Relations

1.1%

Mathematics

1.1%

International Business

1.0%

Business Economics

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.1%

Masters

19.4%

Other

15.3%

Associate

5.0%

Certificate

2.9%

Doctorate

1.3%

License

0.8%

Diploma

0.3%
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Commercial Underwriter Videos

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

Daniel: Commercial Lines Underwriter

Jake: Commercial Lines Underwriter

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Real Commercial Underwriter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Commercial Loan Underwriter 1 Apple Federal Credit Union Fairfax, VA Apr 27, 2012 $68,000
Commercial Underwriter Americanwest Bank San Diego, CA Sep 22, 2015 $62,000
Commercial Underwriter Lyons Mortgage Services, Inc. NY Sep 13, 2013 $59,800 -
$60,000
Commercial Underwriter Solomon Agency Corp. NY Oct 01, 2015 $58,561
Commercial Loan Underwriter 1 Apple Federal Credit Union Fairfax, VA May 03, 2012 $58,365 -
$68,000
Commercial Underwriter Trainee Farmers Group, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2015 $55,000
Commercial Underwriter Choice Agency Corp. NY Sep 01, 2013 $54,262
Commercial Underwriter Solomon Agency Corp. NY Oct 01, 2012 $53,490

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Top Skills for A Commercial Underwriter

  1. Underwriting Guidelines
  2. Personal Financial Statements
  3. Loss Control Reports
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Reviewed and evaluated commercial new business and renewal risks for acceptability based on underwriting guidelines for the northeastern region.
  • Examined and evaluated Loss Control reports and implemented loss prevention within 60 days of inception.
  • Underwrite small business owner, small commercial auto and worker's compensation policies for approximately one-hundred licensed agencies.
  • Travel to territory as necessary to solidify agent relationships and discuss marketing goals/initiatives.
  • Review loan applications to ensure adherence to current internal and industry guidelines.

How Would You Rate Working As a Commercial Underwriter?

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Top Commercial Underwriter Employers

Jobs From Top Commercial Underwriter Employers

Commercial Underwriter Videos

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

Daniel: Commercial Lines Underwriter

Jake: Commercial Lines Underwriter

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