Insurance underwriters essential information:
- 2011 median pay: $60,830
- 2011, number of jobs: 92,840
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 6 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Bachelor’s degree
Insurance underwriters; what they do:
Insurance underwriters make the tough decision of whether or not an individual or business qualifies for insurance. Some risk always exists in insuring someone or some thing, but insurance underwriters must analyze applications and any additional data available to determine if the risk is viable.
Insurance underwriters work with applicants directly, entering their information into a specialized computer software program. The program provides recommendations for what level of insurance and premiums the applicant qualifies for; the insurance underwriter makes the final call.
With difficult decisions regarding providing insurance or to what level, an insurance underwriter takes into consideration the applicant’s medical documents and credit scores. After approving insurance coverage, the insurance underwriter determines the premium and amount of coverage. Insurance underwriters also write the policies covered when a loss occurs.
Insurance underwriters take a risk approving applicants in order to make money for the insurance company, yet taking too much of a risk with some applicants increases the chances of losing money from too many claims.
The four main fields insurance underwriters specialize in include: life, health, mortgage, and property.
Insurance Underwriters job titles:
- Account underwriter
- Personal lines underwriter
- Underwriting Director
- Health insurance underwriter
- Automobile and property underwriter
- Live underwriter
- Commercial lines underwriter
Insurance Underwriters Education, Certification and License Requirements
Many employers seek insurance underwriters with a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. Although a specific field is not always required, relevant degrees include a Bachelor of Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance, a Bachelor in Finance degree with a minor in insurance and a Bachelor of Science in Insurance.
Some colleges and universities offer a Master of Business Administration in Insurance Financial Management or a Master in Risk and Insurance.
Insurance underwriters programs cover subjects such as:
- Property insurance
- Personal Insurance
- Life and Health insurance
- Risk Management
Insurance underwriters generally begin their career working under the supervision and guidance of senior underwriters, gradually gaining more responsibility and independence.
Employers often want insurance underwriters to earn certifications through course work, as it keeps the insurance underwriters up on current insurance policies, technologies, and state and federal policy regulations.
New insurance underwriters can earn certification as an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and an Associate in Personal Insurance (API) through the Insurance Institute of America.
Insurance underwriters can take courses provided by The American College in The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU).
Experienced insurance underwriters can take the certification course for the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation through the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters.
Career Advancement Opportunities
Insurance underwriters, including health insurance underwriters may advance in their career to a senior underwriter or underwriter manager position, but only after obtaining certification and experience.
Insurance Underwriters Job Outlook
Forecast: Six percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for insurance underwriters, slower than the average for all occupations.
Demand for insurance underwriters dropped with the advent of underwriting software which significantly sped up the process, allowing fewer insurance underwriters to go through more applications faster. The need for insurance underwriters will not completely diminish, however, as human eyes are still needed to review the automated recommendations.
Health insurance underwriters may have the best employment opportunities, due to federal healthcare reform requiring more people to purchase health insurance. Long-term care insurance applications will also increase as a growing population ages.
Insurance Underwriters Salary
- 2011, workers at the 25% percentile annual wage: $46,980
- 2011 median annual wage: $60,830
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $82,840
Insurance Underwriters Major Employers
- Insurance carriers
- Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities
- Credit intermediation and related activities
- Management of companies and enterprises