Insurance Underwriters are the hub on any insurance operation as their job revolves around calculating and assessing risk of policy holders. These professionals work in a variety of industries, with most insurance underwriters specializing in mortgage, health, property and casualty, and life. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, insurance companies employed approximately 67% of all underwriters, with the remaining insurance underwriters working for insurance agencies and brokerage houses.
Most importantly, with the advancement of technology and an increase in insurance software innovations, insurance underwriters are expected to be knowledgeable and competent in their computers skills. They are also expected to be keen in the area of finance, as most companies prefer that their employees have a bachelor’s degree in business or finance. Individuals who are equipped with these skills are able to be proficient in insurance underwriting duties such as calculating the appropriate premium amounts, approving policy applicants, and writing policies to ensure the appropriate risk coverage.
Another interesting aspect of this job involves the fact that there is a growing demand for long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance is a new product that has been increasing in popularity, and is expected to create new job opportunities in the near future.
In addition to salary, insurance underwriters are provided with great benefits and retirement plans. These professionals have a better average rate of offered benefits and incentives, than what most occupations have provided in the past. Such benefits include health insurance, group life and health insurance, classes, and seminar training.
The median salary averages in year 2008 was $56, 790 for insurance underwriters. Specifically, underwriters who work for insurance companies make more money than, insurance underwriters from any other area of specification. Specifically, the median salary average for insurance underwriters working for insurance companies was $57, 480, while underwriters who worked for agencies and brokerage firms made an average of $54, 410.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Insurance underwriters will continue to experience a change in their job requirements, as computer software programs are becoming increasingly vital in the way that information is being processed. Underwriters who are sophisticated in their knowledge of various programs, can effectively use computers to asses applicant’s risk, and to determine whether the application will be accepted. They also utilize various reports such as medical records, actuarial studies, and loss-control reports that assist with their decision-making process.
In addition, internet usage is a constant aid in gaining useful information immediately. Insurance underwriters can log-on to various databases and retrieve information such as credit scores, driving records, etc.
Needless to say, job opportunities will be mostly available for professionals who not only have experience, education, and a background in underwriting, but who have a firm grasp on the concept of utilizing computers to aid in determining risk levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, work in this industry is looking to decline slowly within the near future, but on-the-other-hand provides a good opportunity for individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable, and computer savvy.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Most companies prefer that individuals obtain their bachelor’s degree upon entry of a underwriting position. New hires will usually begin by assisting an experienced insurance underwriter. More importantly, most of their training task will involve collecting and evaluating simple or basic application types.
Some companies will also offer work-study training programs, which last a few months to a year. As employees gains ample experience, they are then introduced to more complex applications that require more experience and skill.
Students who are interested in continuing their education can obtain several certifications through-out their work careers in this profession. Insurance Underwriters who are new to the industry can enter a training program and receive an Associates in Commercial Underwriting (ACU) or an Associates in Personal Insurance (API). This program takes 1 to 2 years of coursework, and a successful passing of several exams.
In addition, experienced insurance underwriters can gain their Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. All underwriters must have at least 3 years of experience to qualify. They must also successfully pass 8 exams.
Insurance underwriters are able to choose from a variety of professional associations. They are:
Insurance Institute of America offers a certification training program for entry-level insurance underwriters. These courses last 1-2 years, at which an Associates of Commercial Underwriting (ACU) or Associates in Personal Insurance (API) can be obtained.
The American Institute of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters certifies professions who have 3 or more years of experience. Upon successful completion, professions are awarded a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) certification.
The American College awards both the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and the Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) certifications for health and life insurance professionals. This professional association also so offers the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (FUTCF) certification as an introductory course to basic insurance fundamentals.
Most popular business careers:
- Business Administration
- Business Manager
- Claims Adjuster
- Human Resources
- Project Manager
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