What you need to know
Insurance underwriters decide whether to provide insurance, and under what terms. They evaluate insurance applications and determine coverage amounts and premiums.
Underwriters work indoors in offices. Although underwriters spend most of their time working alone on applications at a computer, they sometimes must handle customer inquiries. Some property and casualty underwriters may travel to assess properties in person.
Some of the things insurance underwriters might do:
- 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
- Review and update the rules that govern automation software
- Analytical skills. Underwriters must be able to evaluate information from a variety of sources and solve complex problems.
- Decision-making skills. The core function of an underwriter is making decisions, such as whether to offer insurance coverage and at what level to set premiums.
- 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.
The average pay for insurance underwriters in the United States ranges from $42,260 to $122,840 as of May 2018.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of insurance underwriters is projected to decline 5 percent from 2016 to 2026.
Automated underwriting software allows workers to process applications more quickly than before, reducing the need for as many underwriters. However, there still will be a need for underwriters to review and update the criteria that run the automation.
Employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, insurance-related work experience and strong computer skills may be enough for some positions. Certification is generally necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.
Job opportunities should be best for those with a background in finance and strong computer and analytical skills.
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