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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

  • $84,000

    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 Career Paths

Insurance Underwriter
Underwriter Senior Underwriter
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Team Leader Office Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Underwriter Team Leader Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President And Manager
Vice President Operation Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President
Vice President And Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Senior Loan Processor Account Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Branch Manager Relationship Manager
Business Relationship Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Analyst Portfolio Manager
Senior Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Assistant Store Manager Credit Manager
Senior Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Relationship Manager Risk Manager
Risk And Insurance Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Senior Sales Representative Senior Specialist
Property Management Specialist
7 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Senior Team Lead Underwriting Manager
Underwriting Director
8 Yearsyrs
Life Underwriter Underwriting Consultant Underwriting Manager
Lending Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Benefit Specialist
Employee Benefits Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Loan Processor Staff Accountant Fund Accountant
Client Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Loan Processor Accountant Accountant/Consultant
Business Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Consumer Loan Underwriter Bankruptcy Specialist
Property Preservation Specialist
5 Yearsyrs
Commercial Underwriter Credit Officer Risk Management Consultant
Loss Control Consultant
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Insurance Underwriter?

Insurance Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

59.4%

Male

29.2%

Unknown

11.4%
Ethnicity

White

62.8%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.5%

Mandarin

7.6%

French

6.3%

Chinese

5.1%

Korean

5.1%

Portuguese

3.8%

German

2.5%

Swedish

1.3%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Cantonese

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Hindi

1.3%

Norwegian

1.3%

Russian

1.3%
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Insurance Underwriter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.4%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

7.4%

University of South Florida

5.7%

Kaplan University

5.7%

Temple University

5.1%

California State University - Northridge

5.1%

University of Nebraska at Omaha

5.1%

Saint John's University - New York

4.6%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

Johnson County Community College

4.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.0%

Liberty University

4.0%

University of Maryland - University College

3.4%

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

3.4%

Florida State University

3.4%

DePaul University

3.4%

Strayer University

3.4%

Arizona State University

2.9%

Ohio State University

2.9%

Georgia State University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

33.2%

Finance

7.6%

Insurance

7.3%

Accounting

7.3%

Health Care Administration

4.1%

Marketing

3.9%

Management

3.8%

Communication

3.2%

Psychology

3.2%

Political Science

3.2%

Education

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Economics

2.7%

Nursing

2.5%

Legal Support Services

2.3%

English

2.0%

History

2.0%

Elementary Education

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Law

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.5%

Other

22.9%

Masters

13.5%

Associate

8.9%

Certificate

5.0%

Diploma

1.5%

Doctorate

1.4%

License

1.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$84,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$42,000
Min 10%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$84,000
Median 50%
$168,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Allstate
Highest Paying City
Spokane, WA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.4 years
How much does an Insurance Underwriter make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Insurance Underwriter in the United States is $84,859 per year or $41 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $168,000.

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 Solomon Agency Corp NY Sep 20, 2016 $60,043
International Business Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 28, 2016 $60,043
International Trade Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 28, 2016 $60,043
Insurance Underwriter International Underwriting Agency, Inc. NY Sep 21, 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

  1. Life Insurance
  2. Customer Service
  3. Underwriting Guidelines
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Analyzed life insurance applications in order to determine applicant eligibility and approval.
  • 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.
  • Quote, issue and endorse casualty and property policies for many insurance companies.
  • Examined financial statements to determine insurable interest, financial suitability and justification.

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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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Career: Insurance Underwriter

A Day in the Life - Insurance Underwriter

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

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