Insurance Underwriter Jobs: What to Expect
Insurance underwriter jobs assess the risks that may be involved with extending insurance to a particular group or individual. They are responsible for determining how much coverage to offer as well as the amount of the insurance premiums. Underwriting jobs may include working in areas such as auto, health, life and property insurance. Their work is performed primarily in an indoor environment and most insurance underwriters work in full-time employment.
Skills and Experience
Many employers prefer to hire individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a related field, with courses in business, finance, economics and mathematics; however, some companies are willing to offer insurance employment to those with previous experience. Individuals are required to possess strong computer skills as well as have the ability to demonstrate excellent judgment and decision-making skills. Other valuable skills that an underwriter may possess to efficiently fulfill their job requirements may include:
• Time management skills
• The ability to effectively communicate with others
• Professional writing skills
• Proficiency in problem solving
• Organizational skills
Critical thinking and analytical skills are necessary for evaluating and processing any relevant information that may be vital to the determination process. Underwriters must be detail oriented and be as ethical and honest as possible.
Entry-level underwriters may begin their careers as assistants or trainees. They may perform many of the job duties under direct supervision of experienced risk analysts in order to learn the most common risk factors. As they gain experience, they become responsible for more complex applications and work independently.
Insurance underwriters have various opportunities for advancement. Education and training may be required to advance to positions such as senior underwriters and other management roles. Many companies offer tuition reimbursement for underwriters who complete underwriting courses successfully. Salary incentives may also be offered to employees as an encouragement to enhance skills while increasing their knowledge of the insurance underwriting field.
For those just beginning their Underwriting careers, the Insurance Institute of America offers a training program and offers two special designations: an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and an Associate in Personal Insurance (API). To earn these designations, courses are generally completed over a period of 1 to 2 years.
Many insurance jobs are fairly lucrative and can provide a rewarding work experience to those seking a challenging and analytical work environment. The median salary for an underwriter is around $59,290 nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary may vary depending on the type of insurance, location of the company and years of experience. In addition, underwriters can earn more money through profit sharing and earned bonuses.