‘Insurance underwriter’ might sound like a strange job title. However, this line of work is actually fairly simple to explain. When a person or company applies for insurance cover, an insurance underwriter is the person who assesses the application, weighs up various factors, analyses the risk of a claim being made, and then makes the final decision on whether or not the application should be accepted. Insurance underwriters are also responsible for defining the specific terms of the insurance policy that is agreed upon.
On a day-to-day basis, an insurance underwriter will examine insurance applications, conduct extra research, collect background information and make risk assessments.
Then, based on statistics and other decision making processes, the underwriter will either reject the application or draw up a quote for the insurance premium that should be paid if the application is successful.
After this initial assessment and decision-making process, the insurance underwriter may be required to negotiate with the customer or the insurance broker, if necessary, regarding the price, and the terms and conditions of the proposed insurance policy.
Once everything has been agreed and finalised, the insurance writer will write up the policy, process everything and send a copy of the policy documents to all involved parties.
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Salary & benefits
Trainee insurance underwriters tend to earn between £16,000 and £21,000 per annum. Senior underwriters can earn up to £80,000 a year.
Insurance underwriters tend to work nine-to-five. However, extra weekend and evening work may be required from time to time, especially during the most demanding periods.
To enter this line of work, you will need an undergraduate degree or HND in any discipline. However, studying a subject such as economics, accounting, law, maths, operational research or business studies may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Training & progression
Many insurance underwriters start their career as part of a graduate scheme. These training programmes tend to last around two years. If you are accepted onto a graduate scheme, the majority of your training will be done whilst on the job under the supervision of a senior underwriter.
As part of your training programme, you may be given the opportunity to complete the professional examinations required to become a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute. This can be highly beneficial for career progression.
As you gain more and more underwriting experience, you may progress into a senior underwriter position with managerial responsibilities. Alternatively, you might decide to move into different areas of the insurance industry; for instance, you might decide to become an insurance broker, a claims inspector or a risk manager.