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Become An Underwriter

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Working As An Underwriter

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

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $56,000

    Average Salary

What Does An 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 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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Underwriter Career Paths

Underwriter
Auditor Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Assistant Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Reviewer Assistant Professor Operations Officer
Assistant Vice President Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Account Manager Staff Accountant
Audit Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Compliance Analyst Compliance Officer
Bsa/Aml Compliance Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Analyst Project Manager General Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Vice President Vice President President
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Commercial Lines Underwriter Commercial Lines Account Manager
Commercial Lines Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Claims Adjuster Account Representative Credit Analyst
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Representative Sales Manager Team Manager
Group Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Vice President Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Program/Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Analyst Quality Assurance Manager Operations Manager
Regional Operation Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Business Manager Property Manager
Regional Property Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Finance Manager Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Compliance Analyst Investigator Claims Adjuster
Senior Claims Examiner
7 Yearsyrs
Team Manager Branch Manager Mortgage Consultant
Senior Mortgage Consultant
6 Yearsyrs
Auditor Controller Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Risk Analyst Business Analyst Business Process Analyst
Senior Process Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Analyst Quality Assurance Analyst Project Coordinator
Service Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Underwriter?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Life Underwriter 5.7 years
Senior Underwriter 4.4 years
Loan Manager 3.2 years
Underwriter 3.0 years
Lender 2.7 years
Loan Specialist 2.3 years
Loan Auditor 2.2 years
Junior Underwriter 2.2 years
Loan Reviewer 1.9 years
Mortgage Analyst 1.9 years
Top Careers Before Underwriter
Processor 4.7%
Top Careers After Underwriter
Analyst 3.5%
Auditor 3.1%
Processor 2.7%

Do you work as an Underwriter?

Underwriter Demographics

Gender

Female

60.9%

Male

37.1%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

60.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.6%

French

4.9%

Mandarin

4.2%

Chinese

3.9%

Carrier

3.5%

Russian

2.8%

Cantonese

2.3%

Italian

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

German

2.1%

Korean

1.9%

Vietnamese

1.4%

Hindi

1.4%

Arabic

1.4%

Hmong

1.2%

Greek

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Armenian

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Urdu

0.7%
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Underwriter Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.2%

University of North Texas

5.2%

Strayer University

5.0%

Temple University

4.6%

University of South Florida

4.4%

Florida State College at Jacksonville

4.4%

Illinois State University

4.3%

Liberty University

4.2%

Kaplan University

3.9%

University of Connecticut

3.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.6%

Georgia State University

3.6%

Michigan State University

3.5%

Ashford University

3.5%

Arizona State University

3.5%

University of Central Florida

3.4%

University of North Florida

3.3%

Florida State University

3.3%

University of Texas at Dallas

3.1%

Ohio State University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

38.4%

Finance

11.9%

Accounting

7.6%

Management

4.2%

Marketing

3.9%

Psychology

3.3%

Economics

3.1%

Communication

3.0%

Real Estate

2.7%

Insurance

2.7%

Political Science

2.5%

Criminal Justice

2.2%

Education

2.1%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Health Care Administration

1.9%

English

1.9%

General Studies

1.7%

Human Resources Management

1.7%

Nursing

1.6%

Law

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

44.4%

Other

25.7%

Masters

14.0%

Associate

9.1%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.8%
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Real Underwriter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Underwriter, Weather and Energy Westport Insurance Corporation New York, NY Jun 21, 2016 $220,000 -
$225,000
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Insurance Company Miami, FL Apr 03, 2015 $183,600
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Insurance Company Miami, FL Aug 04, 2015 $180,000
Program Underwriter R-T Specialty, LLC Glendale, CA Oct 24, 2011 $175,000
Lead Underwriter and Arranger Royal Bank of Canada New York, NY Jul 27, 2015 $170,000
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Latin America Underwriting Managers LLC Jacksonville, FL Apr 03, 2012 $150,000 -
$175,000
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Latin America Underwriting Managers LLC Miami, FL Jun 11, 2012 $150,000 -
$175,000
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Insurance Company Miami, FL May 20, 2013 $150,000 -
$175,000
Consortium Energy/Engineering Underwriter Navigators Management Company, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 30, 2015 $150,000 -
$200,000
Regional Casualty Underwriter Berkley Insurance Company Miami, FL May 15, 2013 $150,000 -
$175,000
Underwriter Atrium Risk Management Services (Washington) Ltd. San Francisco, CA Oct 18, 2015 $135,000
Underwriter Westport Insurance Corporation New York, NY Nov 18, 2016 $130,000 -
$135,000
Underwriter The Debt Exchange, Inc. Boston, MA Sep 16, 2013 $94,700
Credit Underwriter Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. New York, NY Sep 03, 2015 $91,000 -
$100,000
Facultative Underwriter Validus Services, Inc. Groveland, FL Sep 01, 2011 $90,000
Underwriter 4 Suntrust Banks, Inc. Orlando, FL Oct 13, 2011 $87,000
Treaty Underwriter (Reinsurance) Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Miami, FL Jun 12, 2012 $85,000
Treaty Underwriter Swiss Re America Holding Corporation Armonk, NY Jan 01, 2011 $85,000
Assistant Underwriter Validus Services Inc. New York, NY Oct 31, 2012 $85,000
Assistant Underwriter Validus Services Inc. New York, NY Nov 01, 2012 $85,000
Underwriter II-Tax Credit The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Jul 09, 2016 $73,700
Casualty Facultative Underwriter Everest Reinsurance Company Miami, FL Sep 01, 2013 $70,000
Excess Umbrella Underwriter Nations Builders Insurance Services, Inc. Atlanta, GA Nov 22, 2012 $69,000
Market Facing Underwriter II Zurich American Insurance Company New York, NY Dec 02, 2013 $68,100
Underwriter FORA Financial, LLC New York, NY Sep 17, 2014 $67,431
Underwriter Aspen Insurance Us Services, Inc. Boston, MA Aug 27, 2014 $66,125
Underwriter Hiscox Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 13, 2015 $66,000
Production Underwriter Affiliated FM Insurance Company Plano, TX Oct 01, 2012 $65,478 -
$90,000

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR An Underwriter

Average Yearly Salary
$56,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$29,000
Min 10%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$106,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Citi
Highest Paying City
Baltimore, MD
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
3.4 years
How much does an Underwriter make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Underwriter in the United States is $56,140 per year or $27 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $29,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $106,000.

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Top Skills for An Underwriter

  1. Loan Applications
  2. Investor Guidelines
  3. Income Documentation
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Proposed options on loan applications to external vendors/business managers in order to maximize funding volumes while maintaining credit quality.
  • Ensured all documentation was complete and accurate, according to investor guidelines and other requirements for the modification review.
  • Analyzed credit, collateral, and income documentation including tax returns to determine risk and appropriately decision loans.
  • Maintained knowledge of all applicable underwriting guidelines by completing all underwriter training programs, learning any business unit policy and/or guidelines.
  • Performed thorough analysis of loan documentation to ensure compliance with company and investor guidelines.

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Top 10 Best States for Underwriters

  1. Nebraska
  2. Florida
  3. Connecticut
  4. Minnesota
  5. Ohio
  6. Missouri
  7. Kansas
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Texas
  10. Illinois
  • (35 jobs)
  • (241 jobs)
  • (64 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)
  • (229 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (36 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (301 jobs)
  • (267 jobs)

Top Underwriter Employers

Jobs From Top Underwriter Employers

Underwriter Videos

The Role of a Mortgage Underwriter

Career: Insurance Underwriter

How To Work As An Insurance Underwriter

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