An insurance underwriter evaluates and screen applicants for insurance policies. Your main responsibility is to review applications for health, life and property and casualty insurance policies and decide if they should be approved or not and for how much. You would then decide on the amount of premiums that the policyholder should pay per month.
As an insurance underwriter, you will use underwriting software to evaluate an insurance policy application. You will enter applicant data into the software which will make recommendations on such matters as the premium to be paid and the type of the coverage that can be given. It is from these data that you will make the decision to approve or deny the application. You may also need to factor in the applicant’s credit history and medical history into your final decision. You may also check into the applicant’s other records depending on the kind of insurance product he is applying for. Thus, if you are evaluating an application for a health insurance policy, you will not forget to check into the applicant’s medical records.
To succeed as an insurance underwriter, you need to know how to analyze facts and data. This is crucial since you need to know if an applicant is very risky for the company or not and make the decision to approve or deny an application. You also need to have a very keen eye for detail since all aspects of an applicant’s data must be considered in making a decision. You also need to have excellent math skills since making calculations and determining probability of losses are a regular part of your work.
Why Become An Insurance Underwriter
A career as an insurance underwriter is quite fulfilling for those who are highly analytical and have an eye for detail. It is also a great career choice for those who have a finance background and want a fulltime office job where only minimal travel is required. The occupation also pays quite well.
Insurance Underwriter Work Environment
Insurance underwriters typically work for insurance carriers, insurance agencies and brokerages and other companies. The work is fulltime and usually done in a comfortable office setting. Occasional travel to evaluate properties in person may be required for those who work as property and casualty insurance underwriters.
The U.S. Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that insurance underwriters received mean annual wages of $70,110. This is a bit lower than the $99,920 paid to personal financial advisors and $91,620 given to financial analysts.
Insurance Underwriter Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed a grim outlook for insurance underwriters in the next few years. In the period covering 2012 to 2022, the profession is set to decline six percent due to the increasing reliance of automated underwriting software that will process applications faster and reduce the need to hire underwriters. However, underwriters will still be needed to make the final decisions on the automated recommendations. New underwriters will also be needed to replace those who will retire or transfer to other jobs.
Insurance Underwriter Degree
The entry point for this profession is a bachelor’s degree, preferably in business, finance and math. Most of the training needed for a new hire to perform the duties of the job are given by senior underwriters. Certifications are important if an underwriter wishes to advance to senior positions. The Institutes gives certification to new underwriters which take one to two years to finish. Upon completion of coursework and passing of tests, the designations Associate in Commercial Underwriting and Associate in Personal Insurance are given. There are also other certifications for experienced underwriters.