Underwriters analyze information from applicants and decide whether the company should offer an insurance policy. They also determine an appropriate premium for specific levels of coverage. In addition to salaries, insurance companies usually provide good benefits, including retirement plans and employer-contributed or fully financed health insurance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most entry-level underwriters have salaries of at least $38,000 per year as of 2011.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics gives salary information for all underwriters combined rather than by years of experience. The average salary for all underwriters as of May 2010 was $28.51 per hour, or $59,290 per year. The middle 50 percent of all underwriters had salaries of $45,650 to $79,790, and the top 10 percent were making more than $102,000 per year. The bottom 10 percent of the pay scale, which may reflect starting salaries, was at or below $17.65 per hour, or $36,700 per year.
Life Insurance Underwriters
The median starting salary for a life insurance underwriter was $42,828 per year as of May 2011, as determined by Salary.com. That translates to about $20.60 per hour. The middle 50 percent of life underwriters at Level I were making $38,070 to $48,701 per year. The bottom 10 percent had annual salaries of $33,738 or less, and the top 10 percent were earning $54,048 per year and more.
Underwriters specializing in group insurance coverage had a median entry-level salary of $44,476 per year, equaling about $21.40 per hour. The middle 50 percent of group coverage underwriters at Level I were making $40,380 to $50,058 per year. The bottom 10 percent had salaries at or below $36,652 per year, and the top 10 percent had salaries higher than $55,140.
Property and Casualty Underwriters
The median salary for entry-level underwriters in property and casualty was higher than for the other two specialties, at $45,773 per year, or $22 per hour. For these underwriters, the middle 50 percent earnings range was $41,319 to $51,082 per year. The bottom 10 percent of the pay scale was at $37,264 per year and less, and the top 10 percent at $55,916 per year and more.