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Career Story: Commercial Property Insurance Underwriter

Commercial Property Insurance Underwriter

Job Title: Insurance Underwriter

Type of Company: I work for a Fortune 100 insurance company which provides commercial and personal insurance world-wide.

Education: BBA, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Previous Experience: I have been with the same company and had the same job for 33 years.

Job Tasks: I am a commercial property insurance underwriter. I assess and insure commercial properties: office buildings, hotels, restaurants, factories and warehouses. Our insurance polices cover losses from fire, wind, earthquake and flood. The business is referred to me by insurance agents and brokers, but I rarely get involved with businesses that have less than $250 million in property to insure or generate less than $100,000 in premiums.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the people I meet and get to work with in and outside of the company: touring and inspecting large building complexes, traveling all over the world. But the salary and benefits are good and I have moved around a lot, living and working in eight different cities.

The worst part of my job is the cyclical nature of the business and the competitive pressure this puts on buyers and sellers of insurance. Also, hurricane season seems to be getting longer and hurricanes do a lot of damage to the properties I insure.

Job Tips:
1. Get a four-year college degree with an emphasis on business and math.

2. Be willing to relocate.

3. Consider working in claims or engineering before becoming an underwriter.

Additional Thoughts: Be aggressive in your pursuit of a job and career in underwriting. Interview with as many companies as practical. Be prepared for your interviews; research the company and have a list of questions. Be flexible to gain entry into the company you want to work for. Be open to other than ideal positions and locations to gain entry into a good company you have identified as a good match for you.

Be yourself and be flexible in all aspects of your interview and interaction with the prospective employee. Past work experience is critical; describe your previous jobs and how they've helped prepare you for your first job out of college. Follow-up all interviews with a personal note and a phone call.

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