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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 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hoover 280 $56,650
Birmingham 280 $56,650
Montgomery 190 $52,060
Huntsville N/A $88,290
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 130 $50,670
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1120 $64,430
Mesa 1120 $64,430
Phoenix 1120 $64,430
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 110 $57,160
North Little Rock 110 $57,160
Little Rock 110 $57,160
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Long Beach 2750 $64,680
Los Angeles 2750 $64,680
Anaheim 2750 $64,680
San Francisco 1150 $68,750
Hayward 1150 $68,750
Oakland 1150 $68,750
Arden 980 $67,530
Roseville 980 $67,530
Arcade 980 $67,530
Sacramento 980 $67,530
Carlsbad 640 $65,770
San Diego 640 $65,770
San Bernardino 200 $55,760
Riverside 200 $55,760
Ontario 200 $55,760
Thousand Oaks 180 $61,730
Oxnard 180 $61,730
Ventura 180 $61,730
Lodi 80 $59,640
Stockton 80 $59,640
Fresno 80 $61,530
Santa Rosa N/A $57,160
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lakewood 990 $72,040
Aurora 990 $72,040
Denver 990 $72,040
Colorado Springs N/A $38,280
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 3240 $73,010
East Hartford 3240 $73,010
West Hartford 3240 $73,010
Stamford 560 $74,140
Bridgeport 560 $74,140
Norwalk 560 $74,140
New Haven 240 $61,020
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Palm Beach 1350 $57,330
Fort Lauderdale 1350 $57,330
Miami 1350 $57,330
Tampa 890 $55,700
Clearwater 890 $55,700
St. Petersburg 890 $55,700
Jacksonville 510 $57,840
Sanford 460 $60,570
Orlando 460 $60,570
Kissimmee 460 $60,570
Bradenton 310 $45,640
Sarasota 310 $45,640
North Port 310 $45,640
Gainesville 150 $59,110
Tallahassee 70 $53,310
Cape Coral 30 $56,240
Fort Myers 30 $56,240
Lakeland N/A $54,310
Winter Haven N/A $54,310
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Roswell 4490 $62,590
Sandy Springs 4490 $62,590
Atlanta 4490 $62,590
Macon 240 $46,160
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 320 $57,050
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 110 $52,540
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bloomington 960 $56,940
Springfield 130 $53,140
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 690 $66,210
Carmel 690 $66,210
Indianapolis 690 $66,210
Fort Wayne 130 $50,720
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 890 $60,250
Des Moines 890 $60,250
Cedar Rapids 150 $46,970
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Wichita 140 $61,150
Topeka 100 $55,740
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 50 $69,580
Lexington 50 $69,580
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 530 $59,420
Metairie 530 $59,420
Baton Rouge 340 $63,390
Bossier City 140 $58,350
Shreveport 140 $58,350
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 470 $68,940
Portland 470 $68,940
Auburn 50 $43,260
Lewiston 50 $43,260
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 830 $74,710
Columbia 830 $74,710
Baltimore 830 $74,710
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Detroit 770 $63,370
Dearborn 770 $63,370
Warren 770 $63,370
Lansing 290 $61,100
East Lansing 290 $61,100
Saginaw 90 N/A
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Jackson 320 $48,450
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 300 $53,520
Jefferson City N/A $43,920
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 420 $50,790
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 190 $77,230
Henderson 190 $77,230
Las Vegas 190 $77,230
Reno N/A $53,390
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 120 $71,370
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 80 $59,010
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Troy 600 $69,990
Schenectady 600 $69,990
Albany 600 $69,990
Niagara Falls 320 $56,730
Cheektowaga 320 $56,730
Buffalo 320 $56,730
Syracuse 280 $82,320
Rochester 260 $71,600
Rome 220 $69,010
Utica 220 $69,010
Ithaca 30 $57,550
Binghamton 30 $59,800
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 510 $55,560
Greensboro 340 $72,420
High Point 340 $72,420
Chapel Hill 60 $86,590
Durham 60 $86,590
Burlington 30 $76,340
Salem N/A $42,920
Winston N/A $42,920
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 70 $58,360
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbus 830 $63,020
Massillon 170 $44,330
Canton 170 $44,330
Akron N/A $57,680
Cleveland N/A $64,560
Elyria N/A $64,560
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Oklahoma City 310 $57,970
Tulsa 180 $57,070
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salem 60 $65,140
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Harrisburg 550 $63,940
Carlisle 550 $63,940
Pittsburgh 550 $74,820
Lancaster 210 $66,640
Reading 140 $53,200
York 100 $46,720
Hanover 100 $46,720
Hazleton N/A $59,970
Scranton N/A $59,970
Wilkes N/A $59,970
Barre N/A $59,970
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 720 $43,150
Carolina 720 $43,150
San Juan 720 $43,150
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 400 $44,800
North Charleston N/A $46,380
Charleston N/A $46,380
Mauldin N/A $57,400
Anderson N/A $57,400
Greenville N/A $57,400
     
Metro Area (South Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sioux Falls 250 $76,540
Rapid City N/A $71,520
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 770 $62,420
Murfreesboro 770 $62,420
Davidson 770 $62,420
Nashville 770 $62,420
Knoxville 90 $73,090
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Arlington 2300 $59,930
Fort Worth 2300 $59,930
Dallas 2300 $59,930
San Antonio 700 $71,600
New Braunfels 700 $71,600
Austin 680 $69,340
Round Rock 680 $69,340
Waco 110 $51,460
El Paso 50 $58,730
Amarillo N/A $38,100
The Woodlands N/A $64,530
Sugar Land N/A $64,530
Houston N/A $64,530
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 350 $54,050
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 50 $56,260
Burlington 50 $56,260
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 830 $64,130
Roanoke N/A $66,390
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 1570 $73,910
Bellevue 1570 $73,910
Tacoma 1570 $73,910
Spokane Valley 150 $62,500
Spokane 150 $62,500
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Charleston 120 $65,720
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Allis 760 $66,470
Milwaukee 760 $66,470
Waukesha 760 $66,470
Madison 380 $61,430
Sheboygan 220 $58,680
Appleton 100 $62,760
Wausau 80 $56,680
     
Metro Area (Wyoming) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cheyenne N/A $65,700

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.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

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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CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Insurance Underwriters.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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