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Underwriter Career

Considering a career as an Underwriter? Find out all you need to know to decide whether this career is right for you.

What does an Underwriter do?

The role of an Underwriter is to assess the risk of a potential policy holder of the Underwriter's company, establish a policy premium that allows the Underwriter's company to be competitive and profitable, and then write the resulting policy.

Through assessment of various industry, lifestyle, age, etc. specifications and associated risk data, Underwriters are able to find optimum premium rates that satisy policy holders as well as maintain profitability for their employing insurance companies.

Underwriters typically specialize in one of three industries with the following designations:

  • Life Insurance Underwriter
  • Health Insurance Underwriter
  • Property and Casualty Underwriter

In all specialty areas, Underwriters need to be familiar with a variety of policy packages in order to present the best fitting policies to each individual or organization. Part of being familiar with policies is having access to Actuary data for potential policy holder's risk projections.

In addition to acquiring data, Underwriters are also regularly implementing risk assessment software in order to project the possible expense of insuring a group or individual. Such types of software have dramatically improved the productivity of Underwriters.

The work environment for an Underwriter is a comfortable one. They spend much of their time in an office either working on a computer, speaking on a phone or entertaining clients.

Property and Casualty Underwriters may leave the office to inspect work sites when underwriting worker's comp policies or when dealing with property insurance policies.

The Underwriting profession provides an economically comfortable life for many. They are in regular contact with many different types of people and are often dealing with appreciative clients after closing policy deals.

How to Become an Underwriter?

Educational requirements may vary slightly depending on the company, the area you wish to work and your previous work experience.

For most Underwriter careers, the minimum educational requirement is the completion of a Bachelor's degree. Most employers look for degrees in business administration or accounting. However, a bachelor's degree in any field should get your foot in the door if you have work experience in the insurance industry.

If you are interested in advancing your career as quickly as possible by moving into managerial positions, you will typically be required to earn a Master's degree or MBA in Accounting or Business Administration.

You will also find it beneficial to earn certain designations once you begin your Underwriting career through organizations like The Insurance Institute of America, The American Institute of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (AICPCU) and The American College.

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What is an Underwriter's Salary?

As an Underwriter, your salary can vary significantly depending on your level of experience, your level of acquired education and size of the company you work for.

The median salary* for an Underwriter is $52,400.

The top 10% of Underwriters are pulling in an average of $92,200.

As you move up the ranks into Managerial and Senior level positions, your salary potential can increase much more.

In order to boost yourself to this level of success, you will need to perform highly, develop years of experience at a respectable company and lastly, earn yourself an advanced degree.

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* Source: The Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2006

How does the future look for an Underwriter?

Job growth in the underwriting profession is projected to increase slightly slower than average from now through 2014 (BLS projections). The reason for this is due in large part to advancing underwriting software that is increasing the productivity of Underwriters. This trend is thought to level off and the Underwriter profession should eventually keep pace with average job growth in the future.

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