How to Become an Insurance Underwriter
Most firms prefer to hire applicants with a bachelor’s degree.
Employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, insurance-related work experience and strong computer skills may be enough for some positions. Certification is generally necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions.
Most employers prefer to hire applicants who have a bachelor’s degree. Although a specific major is not required, some coursework in business, finance, economics, and mathematics is helpful.
Beginning underwriters usually work as trainees under the supervision of senior underwriters. Trainees work on basic applications and learn the most common risk factors. Some companies offer training programs that include classroom instruction on the basics of underwriting.
As new underwriters gain experience, they work independently and handle more complex applications.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Employers often expect underwriters to become certified through coursework. These courses are important for keeping current with new insurance policies and for adjusting to new technology and changes in state and federal regulations. Certification is often necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter management positions. Many certification options are available.
For underwriters with at least 2 years of insurance experience, The Institutes offer the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. For beginning underwriters, The Institutes offer a training program.
The Institutes also offer several other designations in insurance specialties, including the Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) and Associate in Personal Insurance (API). To earn these designations, underwriters complete a series of courses and exams that generally takes 1 to 2 years.
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors offers the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation, which consists of a three-part curriculum in basic insurance concepts.
The American College of Financial Services offers the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) certification. This certification consists of five core courses and three electives, and candidates must have 3 years of related work experience.
Analytical skills. Underwriters must be able to evaluate information from a variety of sources and solve complex problems.
Decisionmaking skills. The core function of an underwriter is making decisions, such as whether to offer insurance coverage and at what level to set premiums.
Detail oriented. Underwriters must pay attention to detail, because each individual item on an insurance application can affect the coverage decision.
Interpersonal skills. Underwriters need good communication and interpersonal skills because much of their work involves dealing with other people, such as insurance agents.
Math skills. Determining the probability of losses on an insurance policy and calculating appropriate premiums require mathematical ability.