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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

  • $76,727

    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 Human Resources Coordinator Benefit Specialist
Benefits Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Sales Manager Retail Sales Manager
Business Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Office Manager Finance Manager
Business Manager-Finance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Claims Manager Risk Manager
Chief Risk Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Consumer Loan Underwriter Senior Loan Processor
Client Relations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Account Executive Territory Sales Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Personal Lines Underwriter Commercial Lines Underwriter
Commercial Lines Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Senior Project Manager Director Of Professional Services
Consulting Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Consumer Loan Underwriter Relationship Manager Risk Manager
Credit Risk Management Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Underwriting Manager Assistant Vice President
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Risk Manager
Risk And Insurance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Assistant Vice President
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Manager Office Manager Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer
Special Projects Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Director
9 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Analyst Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Senior Project Manager Vice President And Manager
Vice President Operation Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Insurance Underwriter?

Insurance Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

66.3%

Male

32.1%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign 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 Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.8%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

7.4%

University of Nebraska at Omaha

6.5%

Liberty University

6.5%

Temple University

5.6%

Johnson County Community College

5.6%

University of South Florida

4.6%

California State University - Northridge

4.6%

Eastern Washington University

3.7%

University of Richmond

3.7%

Illinois State University

3.7%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.7%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.7%

Georgia State University

3.7%

University of Connecticut

3.7%

Smith College

3.7%

DePaul University

3.7%

Northern Illinois University

3.7%

University of Denver

3.7%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.7%
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Majors

Business

33.9%

Accounting

8.6%

Finance

7.2%

Insurance

6.3%

Marketing

4.3%

Management

3.8%

Communication

3.8%

Education

3.6%

Legal Support Services

3.4%

Political Science

3.2%

Health Care Administration

3.2%

Economics

2.7%

Nursing

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Elementary Education

2.0%

English

2.0%

Psychology

2.0%

Kinesiology

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.8%

Sociology

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.9%

Other

23.5%

Masters

15.8%

Associate

9.0%

Certificate

4.9%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

1.3%

License

1.0%
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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 Armonk, NY May 30, 2012 $125,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Miami, FL Oct 04, 2012 $125,000 -
$195,000
Insurance Underwriters Swiss Reinsurance America Corporation Armonk, NY Feb 25, 2010 $95,000 -
$102,000
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 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 Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 21, 2016 $60,043
International Trade Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 28, 2016 $60,043
International Business Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 28, 2016 $60,043
Insurance Underwriter Solomon Agency Corp NY Sep 20, 2016 $60,043
Insurance Underwriter E-Benefit Solution, Inc. NY Sep 20, 2016 $60,043
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

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Top Skills for An Insurance Underwriter

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  1. Risk Management
  2. Customer Service
  3. Underwriting Guidelines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Partner with others to achieve the best mortality results with critical thinking and risk management.
  • Cited for excellence in interpersonal communications, teamwork, customer service, flexibility and reliability.
  • Advised customers of decisions by providing timely resolution of customer inquiries and effectively communicating United Guaranty's underwriting guidelines and policies.
  • Reviewed life underwriting processes used and established guidelines that helped underwriters perform duties with maximum quality and efficiency.
  • Consult with Reinsurance companies on those more complex cases.

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Top 10 Best States for Insurance Underwriters

  1. Florida
  2. Wyoming
  3. South Dakota
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Indiana
  6. Montana
  7. Ohio
  8. Georgia
  9. Arizona
  10. Illinois
  • (466 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (20 jobs)
  • (26 jobs)
  • (115 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)
  • (411 jobs)
  • (153 jobs)
  • (119 jobs)
  • (574 jobs)

Top Insurance Underwriter Employers

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Jobs From 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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