Insurance underwriting is the evaluation of customers to determine their eligibility to receive insurance products and services. Insurance underwriters are responsible for conducting this evaluation and bear the final say on whether an applicant qualifies for insurance cover. These professionals play a key role in helping insurance providers avoid losses.
With an increasing number of claim applications, underwriters must be on their best ready to;
- Study insurance applications presented to the company and assess risks that clients want insured
- Gather clients’ employment, financial and medical information
- Analyse statistical data from several sources, including actuaries to increase chances of reaching accurate conclusions
- Consult with other risk assessment specialists, such as financial analysts
- Calculate premium rates and negotiate terms and conditions with insurance brokers and clients
- Assess risks to be shared with other insurance companies, also referred to as re-insurance
- Maintain clients’ records with precision and accuracy.
Insurance underwriters work in an office environment, typically from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They may also travel to meet clients and insurance brokers, although not regularly.
The amount of income insurance underwriters earn varies with job experience. Here are the figures you can expect to earn at each level.
Trainees, juniors and assistants
£15,000 to £30,000
£30,000 to £50,000
Specialist underwriters and managers
Up to £70,000
Source: National Careers Service
There are three paths that lead to insurance underwriting. You can;
- Complete a Level 2 Apprenticeship or Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services. This will help you to get a job as a junior underwriter, after which you can work your up as you gain more job experience and advanced industry qualifications.
- Complete a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, mathematics or finance. This will help you to secure a job with an insurance company, after which you can join its underwriting training programme.
The most recommended industry qualifications aspiring insurance underwriters can pursue include;
- Institute of Financial Services Level 3 Certificate in Regulated General Insurance
- Chartered Insurance Institute Level 3 Certificate in Insurance.
For more information on insurance underwriting qualifications, visit the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers.
Important Skills and Abilities
To succeed, insurance underwriters need;
- Strong analytical and communication skills
- Outstanding interpersonal and teamwork skills
- Good negotiation skills
- The ability to make decisions without excessive consultation
- Proficiency in statistics and mathematics
Many insurance firms provide in-house training courses to help insurance underwriters become more effective on the job. As an ambitious underwriter looking to take your career to the next level, you should pursue further training opportunities. The Chartered Insurance Institute, for instance, offers various professional qualifications that can increase your career progression prospects.
- CII Level 3 Certificate in Insurance
- CII Diploma in Insurance
- CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance – Leads to associate membership of the CII.
It is important to note that as an experienced insurance underwriter, you can specialize in any of the following areas;
- General insurance
- Commercial insurance
- Life insurance
Qualified insurance underwriters can work for;
- Life assurance companies
- Reinsurance companies
- Credit agencies
- Health insurance companies
- The Institute of Financial Services
With more experience and qualifications, you can move into areas such as risk and claims management or loss adjusting.
Since the National Careers Service predicts that the UK economy will create about 2 million jobs for business professionals between 2014 and 2020, aspiring insurance underwriters have strong job prospects.
With this information, the ball is now in your court. Play it well and you will pursue a successful insurance undewriting career!