Insurance underwriters held about 123,300 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of insurance underwriters were as follows:
|Direct insurance (except life, health, and medical) carriers||43%|
|Insurance agencies and brokerages||27|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||5|
|Other insurance related activities||5|
|Direct health and medical insurance carriers||4|
Underwriters work in an office setting during regular business hours. They spend much of their time alone at a computer, most often working on applications but sometimes handling customer inquiries.
Some property and casualty underwriters travel to assess properties in person.
Most underwriters work full time.
Insurance underwriters typically need a bachelor’s degree to enter the occupation. However, candidates who have an associate's degree or a high school diploma and insurance-related work experience sometimes qualify for positions. Certification may be beneficial.
Employers usually prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. A common field of degree is business. Coursework in finance, economics, and mathematics is helpful.
Some colleges and universities partner with local businesses to offer internships. These opportunities allow students to gain knowledge or practical experience through assisting in a variety of tasks, such as underwriting.
Beginning underwriters typically work under the supervision of senior underwriters for up to 12 months. Trainees work on basic applications and learn the most common risk factors. Some companies offer training programs that include classroom instruction on the basics of underwriting.
As new underwriters gain experience, they may work independently and handle more complex applications.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Employers may expect underwriters to become certified through coursework. These courses are important for keeping current with new insurance policies and changes in state and federal regulations.
Many options are available for certification or insurance specialty designations. Examples include the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation, the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) certification.
Requirements for certification or designation vary and often include coursework or exams or both. Some credentials are available to new underwriters, but others require candidates to have a specified number of years of experience.
Experienced underwriters may advance to become senior underwriters or underwriter managers. Underwriters may need certification to progress into these positions.
Insurance underwriters typically have an interest in the Thinking, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.
If you are not sure whether you have a Thinking or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an insurance underwriter, you can take a career test to measure your interests.
Insurance underwriters should also possess the following specific qualities:
Analytical skills. Underwriters must be able to evaluate information from a variety of sources and solve complex problems.
Decision-making skills. Underwriters must consider the costs and benefits of various decisions and choose the appropriate one.
Detail oriented. Underwriters must pay attention to detail, because each individual item on an insurance application can affect the coverage decision.
Interpersonal skills. Underwriters need good communication and interpersonal skills because much of their work involves dealing with other people, such as insurance agents.
Math skills. Determining the probability of losses on an insurance policy and calculating appropriate premiums require mathematical ability.
The median annual wage for insurance underwriters was $76,390 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $47,330, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $126,380.
In May 2021, the median annual wages for insurance underwriters in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Credit intermediation and related activities||$78,060|
|Direct health and medical insurance carriers||77,290|
|Insurance agencies and brokerages||76,450|
|Direct insurance (except life, health, and medical) carriers||76,040|
|Other insurance related activities||62,320|
Most underwriters work full time.
Employment of insurance underwriters is projected to decline 4 percent from 2021 to 2031.
Despite declining employment, about 8,400 openings for insurance underwriters are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
Automated underwriting software allows workers to process applications quickly, reducing the need for underwriters. As this technology continues to improve and become more widely adopted in the insurance industry, more underwriting decisions are expected to be made automatically.
However, there still will be a need for underwriters to review and update the criteria that run the automation. In addition, their analytical insight will be needed in specific fields, such as workers’ compensation, marine insurance, and health insurance.
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