Insurance underwriters held about 106,300 jobs in 2012. They work indoors in offices. Some property and casualty underwriters may visit properties to assess them in person. The following industries employed the most insurance underwriters in 2012:
|Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance related activities||18|
|Credit intermediation and related activities||3|
|Management of companies and enterprises||2|
Most underwriters work full time.
Employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, insurance-related work experience and strong computer skills may be enough. Certification is necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.
Most firms prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Courses in business, finance, economics, and mathematics are particularly helpful.
Beginning underwriters usually work as trainees under the supervision of senior underwriters. Trainees work on basic applications and learn the most common risk factors. As they gain experience, they become responsible for more complex applications and work independently.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Employers often expect underwriters to get certification through coursework. These courses are important for keeping current with new insurance policies and adjusting to new technology and changes in state and federal regulations. Certification is often necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter management positions. Many certification options are available.
For underwriters with at least 3 years of insurance experience, The Institutes offers the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation.
For beginning underwriters, The Institutes offers a training program. The Institutes also offers two special designations, an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and an Associate in Personal Insurance (API). To earn either the AU or API designation, underwriters complete a series of courses and exams that generally take 1 to 2 years.
The American College of Financial Services also offers an introductory course in basic insurance concepts: The Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). They also offer a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designation.
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 $62,870 in May 2012. 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 $39,050, and the top 10 percent earned more than $109,900.
In May 2012, the median annual wages for insurance underwriters in the top four industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Credit intermediation and related activities||$66,260|
|Management of companies and enterprises||61,680|
|Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance
Most underwriters work full time.
Employment of insurance underwriters is projected to decline 6 percent from 2012 to 2022. Automated underwriting software allows workers to process applications more quickly than before, reducing the need for underwriters. However, there still will be a need for underwriters to evaluate automated recommendations.
The need to replace workers who retire or transfer to another occupation will likely create many additional job openings. Job opportunities should be best for those with a background in finance, and strong computer and communication skills.