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What is an Underwriter?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Working as an Underwriter: Opportunities in Insurance

If you have an interest in insurance and finance and an analytical mind, becoming an insurance underwriter may be an ideal profession for you. As an underwriter, you'll conduct research and sift through data as you make decisions about whether to approve an application for insurance. This work can offer you a steady income with regular hours, which might be important when considering how your career will impact your family life.

Job Description

An underwriter evaluates facts about a business or an individual when making decisions about insurance coverage. As an underwriter, you may do things like investigate a business's finances or review a person's health history as part of the underwriting process. As you gather information, you'll use various analytic tools to make decisions as to whether offering a policy is prudent, determining premium amounts and coverage limits.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, entry-level underwriters usually have a bachelor's degree, though a specific major isn't required. At first, you'll work under the supervision of a more experienced underwriter. Ask about training when you go on interviews; some companies have their own formal training programs. The BLS notes that job opportunities should be most robust for people with degrees in finance between 2016 and 2026.

Several certification options exist for insurance underwriters, with separate credentials for underwriters who work in different industries. Earning professional certification typically requires a combination of coursework and documented work experience. Certification may be required by some employers for job advancement or employment in more senior positions.

According to the BLS, the median annual wage for underwriters as of May 2016 was $67,680. This means that 50 percent of underwriters made more than $67,680, while the other half made less. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $121,430, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $40,160.

Industry

Underwriters usually work in offices and are typically employed full-time. However, the BLS notes that property and casualty underwriters may have to travel to inspect properties. This is something to consider if you are concerned about having to spend time away from your family.

Years of Experience

As you gain experience in insurance underwriting, you can expect to see an increase in your earnings. A survey by PayScale.com shows the following correlation between years on the job and compensation:

  • 0–5 years: $51,000 
  • 5–10 years: $63,000 
  • 10–20 years: $66,000 
  • 20+ years: $69,000 

Job Growth Trend

The BLS anticipates a 5 percent decline in employment of underwriters from 2016 to 2026, something it attributes to the growing use of computer programs in processing reports. However, if you are interested in health insurance underwriting, you may be in luck: The BLS anticipates that underwriting jobs among health insurance and direct care providers will increase by 15 percent during the same time period.