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Become An Insurance Underwriter

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Working As An Insurance Underwriter

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

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $70,737

    Average Salary

What Does An Insurance 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 An Insurance 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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Insurance Underwriter jobs

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Insurance Underwriter Career Paths

Insurance Underwriter
Account Manager Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Operations Manager Senior Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Account Executive Assistant Vice President
Associate Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Controller Chief Finance Officer
Chief Administrative Officer
12 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Claims Supervisor
Claims Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Representative Client Service Specialist
Client Relations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales/Marketing Vice President & General Manager
Executive Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Account Executive Business Developer
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Office Manager Realtor
Property Management Specialist
6 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Quality Control Technician
Self-Employed
6 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Billing Specialist Claims Representative
Senior Claims Adjuster
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Service Representative Claims Representative
Senior Claims Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Mortgage Underwriter
Senior Underwriter
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Operations Director President Of Operations
Senior Vice President-Operations
13 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Owner General Superintendent
Special Projects Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Commercial Lines Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Vice President
8 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Program Manager Program Director
Vice President Of Programming
6 Yearsyrs
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Insurance Underwriter Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    65.3%
  • Male

    33.1%
  • Unknown

    1.6%

Ethnicity

  • White

    80.9%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    10.7%
  • Asian

    6.6%
  • Unknown

    1.2%
  • Black or African American

    0.6%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    56.8%
  • French

    6.8%
  • Mandarin

    4.5%
  • German

    4.5%
  • Russian

    4.5%
  • Swedish

    2.3%
  • Bulgarian

    2.3%
  • Chinese

    2.3%
  • Vietnamese

    2.3%
  • Cantonese

    2.3%
  • Urdu

    2.3%
  • Carrier

    2.3%
  • Hindi

    2.3%
  • Norwegian

    2.3%
  • Korean

    2.3%
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Insurance Underwriter

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Real Insurance Underwriter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Insurance Underwriter PVG Insurance Group, LLC Miami, FL Nov 25, 2011 $240,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation Armonk, NY Sep 10, 2010 $195,000
Insurance Underwriter Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation Schaumburg, IL Mar 24, 2008 $184,000
Insurance Underwriters Barents Re Risk Management Miami, FL Sep 25, 2014 $160,000
Insurance Underwriter Berkley Latin America Underwriting Managers LLC Jacksonville, FL Apr 03, 2012 $150,000 -
$175,000
Insurance Underwriters Industrial Risk Insurers Philadelphia, PA Jul 18, 2011 $150,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY May 24, 2011 $147,500
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation New York, NY Jul 15, 2010 $138,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY Oct 27, 2011 $135,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY Nov 04, 2011 $131,250
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY Apr 29, 2011 $131,000
Insurance Underwriters Beazley USA Services Atlanta, GA May 04, 2012 $130,750
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Miami, FL Oct 04, 2012 $125,000 -
$195,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY May 30, 2012 $125,000
Insurance Underwriter Peachtree Special Risk Brokers LLC Stockbridge, GA Oct 01, 2012 $90,000
Insurance Underwriters Investor Analytics LLC Berkeley Heights, NJ Nov 20, 2009 $88,426
Insurance Underwriters Federal Insurance Co (Chubb GRP) Los Angeles, CA Mar 30, 2009 $87,811
Insurance Underwriters Generali Us Branch Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Nov 10, 2010 $87,000
Insurance Underwriters XL Insurance America, Inc. New York, NY Dec 10, 2007 $86,944 -
$145,250
Insurance Underwriting Analyst Generali-U.S. Branch Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Sep 15, 2010 $85,000
Insurance Underwriters Beazley USA Services Atlanta, GA Aug 23, 2013 $85,000
Insurance Underwriters Chartis Insurance Agency, Inc. Chicago, IL Jun 24, 2010 $84,906 -
$100,700
Insurance Underwriters Paris Re America Insurance Company Miami, FL Aug 24, 2010 $60,000 -
$80,000
Insurance Underwriter IJU Agency Ltd. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $59,480
Insurance Underwriter International Jewelers Underwriters Agency Ltd. New York, NY Sep 16, 2015 $59,480
Insurance Underwriter E Benefit Solution, Inc. NY Sep 09, 2015 $58,561
Insurance Underwriter E Benefit Solution, Inc. NY Sep 07, 2015 $58,561
Insurance Underwriter Solomon Agency Corp NY Sep 07, 2015 $58,561
Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 07, 2015 $58,561
Insurance Underwriter Solomon Agency Corp NY Sep 08, 2015 $58,561

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Top Skills for An Insurance Underwriter

CustomerServiceLifeInsurancePoliciesFinancialRiskUnderwritingGuidelinesLifeInsuranceApplicationsAutoInsuranceCompaniesLiabilityInsuranceAgentsMedicalRecordsHealthInsuranceInsuranceCoverageCompanyGuidelinesAuditDisabilityInsuranceProductsInsuranceUnderwritingPersonalLinesDataEntryRiskAssessment

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Top Insurance Underwriter Skills

  1. Customer Service
  2. Life Insurance Policies
  3. Financial Risk
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Cited for excellence in interpersonal communications, teamwork, customer service, flexibility and reliability.
  • Managed customer inquiries through organizational tracking systems regarding compensation programs and life insurance policies.
  • Assessed financial risk to company based on the medical history of insurance applicants
  • Declined excessive risks as needed per established underwriting guidelines.
  • Reviewed business and individual life insurance applications to determine risk.

Top Insurance Underwriter Employers

Insurance Underwriter Videos

Career: Insurance Underwriter

A Day in the Life - Insurance Underwriter

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

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