The role of an Underwriter inside an insurance company is to evaluate and examine insurance requests in order to determine and assess the risks that the company will be undertaking if an insurance agreement is issued. They calculate the extent of the coverage provided by the policy and the premium depending on the results of their evaluation. Insurance Underwriters are able to decide whether an insurance policy should or should not be issued.
They work closely with Actuaries, Insurance Agents, and Insurance Brokers. Before an Agent or a Broker can close a deal with a potential client, Insurance Underwriters usually have the last say on whether the policy will be processed or not. They are also in charge of evaluating existing customers to decide whether their contract should be renewed or terminated.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Insurance Underwriters are required to complete.
- Evaluating the risks of an insurance policy contract:
- Working in tandem with Actuaries to calculate the risks of insurance policies;
- studying insurance applications to determine risks; and
- gathering information on policy applicants (e.g. background checks, medical records, among others).
- Calculating premiums and other payments for insurance applicants:
- Analyzing risk reports and medical or property evaluations to determine costs.
- Deciding the length of coverage of a policy:
- Negotiating with clients, Insurance Agents, and Brokers;
- explaining risks; and
- authorizing financial transactions.
- Adjusting existing premiums to ensure that accounts remain profitable:
- Updating information on risks;
- evaluating if risks have increased or decreased; and
- accommodating premiums accordingly.
- Writing insurance policy agreements:
- Determining coverage; and
- establishing certain conditions for insurance agreements (e.g. demanding the insured to install a security system on their property or requesting a list of designated drivers of a vehicle).
- Staying in contact with Medical Examiners and other experts to gather information on a policy applicant:
- Asking for and reading expert’s reports based on examinations; and
- explaining regulations and insurance procedures to them.
- Reviewing a company’s records when applying for group or commercial insurance:
- Evaluating the financial records of the company;
- meeting with a company representative to negotiate terms; and
- studying risk factors present in the company.
- Evaluating possible losses in case of a natural disaster for property insurance:
- Calculating potential human and property losses;
- evaluating existing policies in accordance to calculations; and
- adjusting policies to decrease possibility of losses.
- Granting or declining insurance policies:
- Authorizing insurance policies when risks are low enough;
- rejecting policy applications when risks are too high; and
- granting or rejecting policy renewals based on risk reports.
- Collecting information on policy applicants.
- Calculating and evaluating risks.
- Working with Actuaries to calculate potential risks and losses.
- Analyzing medical and expert reports.
- Working with Insurance Agents and Brokers on policy terms.
- Ensuring all paperwork and reports adhere to applicable regulations.
- Calculating premiums and taking care of payment arrangements for new clients.
- Keeping records of existing clients.
- Adjusting existing insurance policies to ensure minimum losses.
The average Insurance Underwriter salary is $55,436 per year or $28 per hour. This is around 1.7 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $39,000 while most experienced workers make up to $78,000. These results are based on 20 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding mathematical, statistical, and numerical skills:
- Calculating potential risks and losses based on statistics;
- working with long and complex spreadsheets; and
- calculating premiums and taking care of payment arrangements.
- Exceptional communicational and interpersonal skills:
- Communicating in a clear manner in order to create a strong and communicative relationship with customers and coworkers;
- communicating regularly with medical experts and other specialists to collect reports based on examinations;
- having a friendly and appealing personality to engage in positive interactions with clients; and
- listening carefully and understanding clients’ inquiries in order to be able to assess and resolve any issues promptly.
- Strong analytical skills:
- Possessing a detail-oriented approach to analysis;
- reviewing long and complex reports; and
- analyzing all the possible risks involved in a policy application.
- Excellent time management and organizational skills:
- Being capable of taking on several tasks at the same time;
- being able to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment; and
- being able to work both independently and as part of a team.
- Good computer skills:
- Using specialized software to calculate risks and losses; and
- using word processors to write contracts.
- Problem-solving and decision-making skills:
- Identifying issues and resolving problems in a timely manner; and
- evaluating and deciding on whether a client should or should not be insured by the company.
- Being resourceful, energetic, driven, structured, and displaying a strong desire to take initiative.
Entry-level jobs as an Insurance Underwriter are available among many insurance companies as they play a key role in their daily operations. The educational requirements to apply for this position include having completed a secondary education and possessing a college or university bachelor’s degree in Administration, Business Management, Economics, Finances, Mathematics, or Statistics. Applicants having at least 2 years of previous work experience in Retail, Sales, or Customer Service will have increased chances of being selected for the job.
In Canada, all professionals in the Insurance field are also required to be properly licensed by the governing entity of the province or territory where they are located. The provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec each have their own regulators tasked with, among other things, issuing the necessary licences that all professionals working in Insurance need to have. New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and the Northwest Territories are all under the jurisdiction of the National Superintendent of Insurance.[2}
Insurance Underwriters usually work during the standard 9-to-5 office hours, on a Monday through Friday basis. On times where there is more work to be done than usual (e.g. when natural disasters occur), Insurance Underwriters may be required to work extra hours. Their work is almost completely office-based. On certain occasions, Insurance Underwriters may need to travel in order to meet with Brokers or clients, although, in most cases, it happens the other way around.