Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters decide whether to provide insurance and under what terms. They evaluate insurance applications and determine coverage amounts and premiums.

 

Sample of Reported Job Titles

Underwriter, Account Underwriter, Customer Service Representative, Personal Lines Underwriter, Underwriting Director, Health Underwriter, Life Underwriter, Automobile and Property Underwriter, Commercial Lines Underwriter, Commercial Underwriter

 

Summary

Insurance underwriters typically do the following:

  • Analyze information in insurance applications
  • Determine the risk of insuring a client
  • Screen applicants on the basis of set criteria
  • Evaluate recommendations from underwriting software
  • Decide whether to offer insurance
  • Determine appropriate premiums and amounts of coverage
  • Write policies to cover potential loss

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, using predetermined criteria, 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.

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 four broad fields: life, health, mortgage, and property and casualty. Although job duties are similar, the criteria used by underwriters 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.

 

Educational Requirements

Most firms prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Courses in statistics, mathematics, business, finance, and economics are particularly helpful.

 

Median Salary 2012

$62,870

 

Want to know more?

Bureau of Labor Statistics-Insurance Underwriter

O*NET-Insurance Underwriter

 

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Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

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American Industrial Hygiene Association

Food Safety & Quality Assurance LinkedIn Group

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American Institute for Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters and Insurance Institute of America

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Information retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/insurance-underwriters.htm#tab-1, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2053.00

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