Insurance Careers--Underwriting

Perhaps a more commonly known career path in the insurance industry is that of an underwriter. Underwriters may be employed by either the insurance company or an independent brokerage firm. The underwriter is sometimes viewed as a sales support role, but they may accompany the sales team to visit clients or prospective clients.

Understanding the Underwriters Day

For the most part, underwriters will work a forty-hour work week in office. Some companies may have remote underwriting positions from home, but overwhelming underwriters spend their day in the office. With the occasional client visit, industry trade show or other industry related events.

If you have been tossing around the idea of entering into an underwriting role, an insurance license may not be required by the state, but it could be a beneficial thing to have. You would follow the same process as a sales agent as defined by your state’s insurance department. Even if you don't secure a license, attending a pre-licensing class or online school can help familiarize you with the many aspects of the insurance industry. It's also a plus if you are computer savvy. Utilizing computers and technology is an integral part of underwriting. There are computer software systems to analyze and rate insurance applications, make suggestions based on risk information and set premium rates according to the risk.

Choosing a career as an underwriter differs depending on the type of insurance because of the types of customers the underwriter will work with and the types of risks that are covered. Once you decide to take an underwriting role, you may be hired on as an assistant underwriter depending on your prior experience. It’s during this time, you would help collect and evaluate information on clients, but are supervised by an experienced underwriter at the company.

The most important underwriting skills are learned on the job. As an underwriter, you are responsible for reviewing incoming applications. It's up to look at all the information on the application like age, credit, background, etc. to see if the risk qualifies based on the specific guidelines set by the company. Company guidelines follow state-specific rules as well as their own criteria such as no under the age of 25 or no homes with flat roofs. The underwriter is essentially the gatekeeper to the insurance company. No one gets in without their approval.

Underwriting Opportunities

There are many lines of insurance for underwriters to work in, but the four primary areas are:

  • Property/casualty insurance

  • Life insurance

  • Mortgage insurance

  • Health insurance

The salaries earned by insurance underwriters will vary based on company size, specific compensation incentives, and location, but on average underwriters earn anywhere from $36,000 to $120,000 based on experience and skill level. As an insurance underwriter you may also receive above-average benefits such as retirement plans and, of course, excellent group life and health insurance. Salary incentives and tuition reimbursement costs for courses that trainees complete may also be offered.

This is part 5 of a multi-post series.  Please visit the other Insurance Career posts below:

Insurance Careers--Sales

Insurance Careers--Training

Insurance Careers--Compliance

Insurance Careers--Management

Insurance Careers--Underwriting...Now Playing!

Insurance Careers--Fraud Prevention

Insurance Careers--Claims

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