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Become An Underwriting Specialist

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Working As An Underwriting Specialist

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

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $78,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Underwriting Specialist 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 Underwriting Specialist

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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Underwriting Specialist Career Paths

Underwriting Specialist
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Underwriter Assistant Vice President Vice President And Manager
Vice President Operation Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Manager Office Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager General Manager
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Manager Property Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Consultant Underwriting Manager
Underwriting Director
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Manager Account Manager
Commercial Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Underwriting Manager Manager, Assistant Vice President Operations Director
Assistant Vice President Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Senior Loan Processor
Processing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Senior Loan Officer Assistant Branch Manager
Credit Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Underwriter Analyst Underwriter
Underwriting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager Portfolio Manager
Senior Portfolio Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Property Manager Compliance Manager
Risk Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Client Services Manager
Client Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Operations Manager Terminal Manager
Line Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Analyst Underwriter Consumer Loan Underwriter
Lending Services Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Assistant Property Manager Assistant Business Manager
Business Account Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Loan Processor Relationship Manager Client Relationship Manager
Client Relations Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Underwriting Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Underwriter 3.6 years
Specialist 2.6 years
Top Careers Before Underwriting Specialist
Underwriter 21.7%
Cashier 2.6%
Manager 2.5%
Top Careers After Underwriting Specialist
Underwriter 18.2%
Specialist 3.1%
Analyst 3.1%

Do you work as an Underwriting Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$78,000
Show Salaries
$42,000
Min 10%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Median 50%
$144,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
PayPal
Highest Paying City
Sacramento, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does an Underwriting Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Underwriting Specialist in the United States is $78,644 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $42,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $144,000.

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Top Skills for An Underwriting Specialist

  1. Underwriting Guidelines
  2. Loan Portfolio
  3. Financial Statements
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Examine documentation to ensure accuracy and compliance with existing underwriting guidelines approved loans with specified limits and recommends various payment structures.
  • Determined appropriate risk ratings for loan portfolio.
  • Analyzed CPA prepared and internally prepared financial statements and related schedules to assess value and current financial wherewithal of clients.
  • Negotiate best position and pricing on commercial property insurance policies.
  • Team building and development of a quality control plan to ensure compliance with lender, state, and federal requirements.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Underwriting Specialists

  1. Indiana
  2. Arizona
  3. Ohio
  4. New York
  5. District of Columbia
  6. North Carolina
  7. Illinois
  8. New Jersey
  9. Georgia
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (266 jobs)
  • (196 jobs)
  • (508 jobs)
  • (525 jobs)
  • (79 jobs)
  • (417 jobs)
  • (477 jobs)
  • (281 jobs)
  • (307 jobs)
  • (437 jobs)

Underwriting Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

55.8%

Male

34.6%

Unknown

9.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.0%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Black or African American

11.1%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

3.3%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.5%

French

7.5%

Carrier

7.5%

Chinese

5.0%

Italian

5.0%

Greek

2.5%

German

2.5%

Albanian

2.5%

Japanese

2.5%

Russian

2.5%

Mandarin

2.5%

Korean

2.5%
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Underwriting Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.4%

Arizona State University

7.2%

University of North Texas

5.8%

Villanova University

5.0%

Middle Tennessee State University

5.0%

Illinois State University

5.0%

Ohio State University

5.0%

University of Iowa

4.3%

University of Southern Maine

3.6%

Baker University

3.6%

New York University

3.6%

University of Cincinnati

3.6%

University of Texas at Austin

3.6%

Eastern Michigan University

3.6%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.6%

University of Georgia

3.6%

Northern Illinois University

3.6%

Cleveland State University

3.6%

University of Memphis

3.6%

Liberty University

3.6%
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Majors

Business

40.3%

Finance

8.4%

Accounting

5.4%

Marketing

5.2%

Management

4.2%

Communication

4.1%

Psychology

3.8%

Insurance

3.8%

Health Care Administration

3.2%

Economics

2.9%

Political Science

2.8%

English

2.6%

General Studies

2.2%

Education

2.2%

Criminal Justice

1.7%

Legal Support Services

1.6%

Mathematics

1.6%

Biology

1.5%

Nursing

1.3%

Elementary Education

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.1%

Other

21.0%

Masters

16.5%

Associate

7.7%

Certificate

3.3%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.7%

Diploma

0.5%
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