what does an insurance underwriter do?

  • job profiles
  • August 25, 2020

Insurance underwriters are known by a lot of different names on job search sites today: “Associate Underwriter,” “Assistant Underwriter,” “Underwriter - Commercial” and many more. What all of these roles have in common, however, is the fundamental value that underwriters deliver to the business. In a nutshell, underwriters are number-crunchers who analyze risks — and advise their companies on matters of policy accordingly.

In order to deliver on those pressing priorities, the following activities tend to take up a lot of the workday for today’s busy insurance underwriters:

  • underwriting, managing and servicing a profitable book of business
  • nurturing and executing on a pipeline of new business opportunities
  • developing new producer and client relationships on an ongoing basis
  • collaborating with marketing teams, technical specialists and more to deliver on business objectives
  • identifying and mitigating any potential risk exposures
  • strategically negotiating policy terms and coverages based on organizational directives
  • aligning all underwriting initiatives with an overarching risk appetite and strategy framework
  • ensuring compliance with a wide range of regulatory requirements

how do you become an insurance underwriter?

There isn’t any one path to becoming an insurance underwriter, but previous experience in the insurance or finance spaces certainly helps. This is probably a good moment to review the core requirements for landing a job as an insurance underwriter, which typically include:

  • high school diploma or equivalent
  • previous underwriting experience in a relevant industry or sector (not always required)
  • existing relationships with first- and second-tier brokers (not always required)
  • proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, especially Word and Excel
  • ability to carry out statistical analysis and risk modeling

Need to brush up on your training, certification or areas of expertise to meet these requirements? There are a lot of great online resources available to you right now. Simply check out the latest courses on insurance underwriting from Udemy, our learning partner, if you don’t know where to start.

what are the key skills of an insurance underwriter?

For all of the reasons we’ve covered so far, insurance underwriters tend to be pretty busy people. They’ve got pipelines to connect with, documentation to worry over and the ever-changing compliance landscape to be aware of. Where are they going to find the time to search for their next great opportunity?

Let’s make that a little bit easier for you. Below we’ve noted a few soft skills and aptitudes you should be sure to showcase on your resume when applying for roles in this highly competitive space:

  • multitasking
  • verbal and written communication
  • networking
  • analytical thinking
  • relationship-building
  • collaboration
  • risk mindset
  • troubleshooting
  • active listening

what is the salary of an insurance underwriter?

Based on the latest compensation data, it looks like average salaries for these insurance experts can be grouped into three tiers — low, middle and high — depending on a whole constellation of factors, including your location, sector and level of experience. Those tiers are as follows:

  • low $53,930
  • mid $68,739
  • high $81,141

With that variance in mind, you might want to dive deeper into the current compensation data with our salary comparison tool from Randstad. It’s free, easy to use — and it’ll help you discover data about compensation for machine learning roles across markets.

key takeaways

We've spelled out what insurance underwriters do, mapped out a few career paths, touched on salary — and even suggested a few of the ways you can pivot in this direction, if you’re interested. At this stage in the game, the next move is 100 percent up to you.

To recap, in this article we’ve gone over:

  • what insurance underwriters do
  • background, training, experience and other requirements for this position
  • key skills
  • salary

If you’re ready to get busy, start searching for insurance underwriter openings near you right now!