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Insurance Underwriters picture    Insurance Underwriters image

Insurance Underwriters

Insurance underwriters examine insurance applications to evaluate the degree of risk involved and to determine if the application should be accepted. They write the insurance policies that cover the risk. An insurance underwriter also establishes premiums and other charges. Underwriters also analyze group contracts to make sure the risk is not excessive. Insurance underwriters are the primary link between the insurance carrier and the insurance agent.

An insurance company can loose business if the insurance underwriter appraises risk too conservatively. The company might have to pay excessive claims if the underwriters actions are too liberal.

Insurance underwriters have specializations such as commercial account underwriters, mortgage underwriters, property/casualty underwriters, health underwriters and life insurance underwriters.

Those in the insurance underwriting field utilize computer applications known as "smart systems" to manage risk more accurately and effectively. The systems evaluate and rate insurance applications, recommend an applicant be accepted or denied and make appropriate adjustments to the premium rate in accordance with the risk.

Responsibilities

  • Study documents to determine the degree of risk from elements such as the applicants financial situation and the value and condition of property
  • Reject excessive risks
  • Assess the possibility of losses due to catastrophe or excessive insurance
  • Lower the value of the insurance policy when the risk is substandard
  • Apply rating to make sure safe, profitable distribution of risks
  • Gather information
  • Authorize reinsurance of policy when risk is high
  • Examine company records in order to determine the amount of insurance in force on single risk or group of closely related risks

Job Characteristics

Most workers involved in insurance underwriting are based in company headquarters or a regional branch office. Underwriters may occasionally be asked to travel in order to attend meetings. Insurance underwriters usually work a 40 hour week, however some work overtime due to downsizing at insurance companies. Occasionally they accompany insurance sales agents to make presentations to potential clients.

Underwriters use the Internet to access information. Strong computer skills, ability to pay attention to detail and good analyzing abilities are important. An underwriter should also have good interpersonal and communication skills.

Employment Outlook

Employment for underwriters is forecasted to grow by 6 percent form 2006 to 2016 which is slower than average for all occupations. Those with insurance related experience, a finance background and good computer and communications skills have the best opportunities for advancement. In addition, underwriters are needed in the area of product development.

Experienced insurance underwriters have opportunities to advance into senior underwriter or underwriting management jobs. Over sixty percent of the underwriters are employed by insurance carriers. Most of the other underwriting jobs are provided by insurance agencies or by organizations that provide insurance services to insurance companies and policyholders.

A small number of insurance underwriters are employed by mortgage companies, banks and real estate firms. In addition, the median annual earnings in 2006 for insurance underwriters was $52,350.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

There are no formal education requirements for the job. However, typically a bachelor's degree in finance or business administration or other subjects is preferred or a professional designation. Important classes to take for insurance underwriters are economics, business, accounting, statistics, business law and mathematics. Computer classes are also helpful.

Most underwriters begin their careers as trainees. Some of the large insurers provide work-study programs that take from a few months to a year to complete. The computer programs utilized by underwriters to assess risk are continually being improved, thus on-the-job computer training can continue throughout an insurance underwriter's career.

The Insurance Institute of America provides a training program designed for beginning underwriters. The organization also provides the Associate in Commercial Underwriting for people interested in underwriting business insurance policies. The organization also offers an associate in Personal Insurance Designation.

Resources

Major Employers

The major job providers are insurance carriers. Insurance agencies are significant job providers.

Schools for Insurance Underwriters are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Insurance Underwriters

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Insurance Underwriters jobs , as of 2016

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 450 $57,680
Birmingham 450 $57,680
Montgomery 230 $57,460
Huntsville N/A $90,260
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 100 $46,510
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1350 $69,570
Mesa 1350 $69,570
Phoenix 1350 $69,570
Tucson 110 $50,380
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 160 $53,500
North Little Rock 160 $53,500
Little Rock 160 $53,500
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 3190 $71,780
Los Angeles 3190 $71,780
Long Beach 3190 $71,780
San Francisco 1200 $78,420
Oakland 1200 $78,420
Hayward 1200 $78,420
Arden 1080 $72,980
Arcade 1080 $72,980
Roseville 1080 $72,980
Sacramento 1080 $72,980
San Diego 610 $76,590
Carlsbad 610 $76,590
San Bernardino 220 $53,950
Ontario 220 $53,950
Riverside 220 $53,950
Oxnard 220 $67,350
Thousand Oaks 220 $67,350
Ventura 220 $67,350
Fresno 170 $65,060
San Jose 130 $77,320
Santa Clara 130 $77,320
Sunnyvale 130 $77,320
Santa Rosa 50 $61,950
Stockton N/A $57,210
Lodi N/A $57,210
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 1220 $74,190
Aurora 1220 $74,190
Denver 1220 $74,190
Colorado Springs N/A $39,370
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
East Hartford 1990 $71,760
West Hartford 1990 $71,760
Hartford 1990 $71,760
Stamford 320 $79,220
Norwalk 320 $79,220
Bridgeport 320 $79,220
New Haven 210 $61,400
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 1280 $61,840
Fort Lauderdale 1280 $61,840
West Palm Beach 1280 $61,840
Tampa 720 $55,350
Clearwater 720 $55,350
St. Petersburg 720 $55,350
Jacksonville 660 $61,030
Orlando 480 $66,820
Kissimmee 480 $66,820
Sanford 480 $66,820
Bradenton 310 $52,800
North Port 310 $52,800
Sarasota 310 $52,800
Lakeland 310 $55,480
Winter Haven 310 $55,480
Tallahassee 50 $55,700
Cape Coral 40 $56,920
Fort Myers 40 $56,920
Gainesville N/A $55,040
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 5640 $63,750
Sandy Springs 5640 $63,750
Atlanta 5640 $63,750
Macon 240 $47,440
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 280 $58,240
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City N/A $63,620
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bloomington 720 $58,840
Peoria 90 $60,080
Springfield 70 $48,970
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 660 $67,130
Carmel 660 $67,130
Indianapolis 660 $67,130
Fort Wayne 110 $59,830
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Des Moines 1240 $64,700
West Des Moines 1240 $64,700
Cedar Rapids 130 $46,930
Cedar Falls 30 $57,640
Waterloo 30 $57,640
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 130 $64,150
Topeka 90 $61,000
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 40 $60,530
Lexington 40 $60,530
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Metairie 570 $61,120
New Orleans 570 $61,120
Baton Rouge 370 $70,140
Shreveport 210 $56,590
Bossier City 210 $56,590
Lafayette 40 $37,950
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 310 $65,570
Portland 310 $65,570
Auburn 60 $45,310
Lewiston 60 $45,310
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 900 $74,390
Columbia 900 $74,390
Baltimore 900 $74,390
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Detroit 750 $65,240
Dearborn 750 $65,240
Warren 750 $65,240
Wyoming 340 $58,190
Grand Rapids 340 $58,190
East Lansing 270 $60,790
Lansing 270 $60,790
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 40 $47,280
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 220 $59,550
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 400 $54,100
Springfield 150 $49,300
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Billings 40 $59,460
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 430 $61,490
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 210 $76,260
Henderson 210 $76,260
Las Vegas 210 $76,260
Reno 90 $55,420
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 150 $71,630
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Trenton 270 $80,120
Hammonton 120 $61,240
Atlantic City 120 $61,240
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 100 $60,750
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Troy 620 $73,920
Schenectady 620 $73,920
Albany 620 $73,920
Syracuse 230 $84,100
Niagara Falls 200 $54,540
Buffalo 200 $54,540
Cheektowaga 200 $54,540
Binghamton 40 $62,580
Utica N/A $79,030
Rome N/A $79,030
Rochester N/A $79,350
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 660 $59,110
High Point 330 $72,760
Greensboro 330 $72,760
Salem 60 $49,620
Winston 60 $49,620
Burlington 30 $81,250
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 80 $58,850
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Akron 190 $61,550
Toledo 30 $62,460
Dayton N/A $64,100
Columbus N/A $66,250
Elyria N/A $69,200
Cleveland N/A $69,200
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 310 $55,260
Tulsa 160 $55,520
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 70 $64,700
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 560 $80,000
Harrisburg 460 $62,850
Carlisle 460 $62,850
Lancaster 210 $66,870
Barre 130 $62,750
Hazleton 130 $62,750
Scranton 130 $62,750
Wilkes 130 $62,750
Reading 90 $66,960
Hanover 60 $52,160
York 60 $52,160
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 650 $41,770
Carolina 650 $41,770
San Juan 650 $41,770
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 260 $49,890
Mauldin 190 $50,900
Anderson 190 $50,900
Greenville 190 $50,900
Charleston N/A $46,740
North Charleston N/A $46,740
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 210 $77,400
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 600 $69,840
Nashville 600 $69,840
Murfreesboro 600 $69,840
Davidson 600 $69,840
Knoxville 80 $85,780
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 2140 $65,800
Dallas 2140 $65,800
Fort Worth 2140 $65,800
New Braunfels 920 $72,520
San Antonio 920 $72,520
Austin 730 $65,010
Round Rock 730 $65,010
Waco 60 N/A
Amarillo N/A $38,340
El Paso N/A $59,100
Houston N/A $63,620
The Woodlands N/A $63,620
Sugar Land N/A $63,620
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 420 $59,950
Orem 30 $54,860
Provo 30 $54,860
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 50 $61,120
Burlington 50 $61,120
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 850 $59,770
Roanoke N/A $45,880
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bellevue 1650 $76,140
Seattle 1650 $76,140
Tacoma 1650 $76,140
Spokane Valley 140 $62,320
Spokane 140 $62,320
Tumwater N/A $47,620
Olympia N/A $47,620
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 850 $64,610
Waukesha 850 $64,610
Milwaukee 850 $64,610
Madison 410 $65,460
Appleton 110 $66,790
Wausau 90 $54,260
Eau Claire N/A $61,370
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne N/A $58,750

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Insurance Underwriters

To find out more about building a career as Insurance Underwriters, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Insurance Underwriters

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Insurance 86,440 87% $56,740
Banking And Credit 4,910 4% $58,130
Business Management 3,460 3% $56,490
Pension And Trusts 1,110 1% $56,770
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