An insurance underwriter is responsible for evaluating insurance applications and determining whether or not an applicant is a risk. There are a number of various criteria that go into making these decisions, and an insurance underwriter will compile information from a wide range of sources in order to come to a decision as to whether or not someone will be approved or denied coverage. While most underwriting follows the same basic principles, agents tend to specialize in home, health, life or auto insurance policies.
As technology becomes more sophisticated and the insurance application process becomes more automated, projections indicate careers in this field will decrease at a faster than average rate. At the same time, careers for qualified and specialized professionals will continue to be available, yet the job market is expected to be much more competitive.
As more and more insurance companies are taking a closer look at their books as well as how they do business in order to remain both competitive and profitable, the need for qualified and experienced underwriters is very great at the present time.
Underwriter Salary Information:
The average underwriter salary is about $45,000 per year, where most entry level positions start off at about $35,000 per year. However, there are underwriters who are earning well over $100,000 per year as well. Some work on commission, while others receive salary packages in addition to performance bonuses, depending on the company and the niche they are working in.
Underwriters who provide policy services for high-risk and high-value customers and businesses tend to earn much more than someone who arranges and manages a group insurance policy offered online. So, there are many different levels of earning opportunities, and many will depend on the individual's experience, education and connections with major firms and companies in the industry.
Additionally, many companies provide substantial bonuses and rewards for underwriters who perform within certain boundaries and save the company money. In some cases, these perks can exceed the base salary in which many underwriters are paid. These vary greatly from company to company as well, and it is up to the individual to choose what company they feel they have the most opportunities with.
Earnings projections are very conservative because of the unknown impact that technology will have on this sector of the job market. While there will always be the need for a company to have an insurance underwriter, salary ranges will have a lot to do with demand in the future.
Underwriter Educational Requirements:
Most insurance companies seek applicants to have at least a bachelors degree in fields such as business administration, accounting, finance and statistics. However, in many cases any degree is sufficient as long as the applicant has experience and knowledge of the insurance industry. Many firms conduct on-the-job training or send employees out to special seminars on an ongoing basis, and there are some colleges and universities which offer limited degrees in this field.
There are some states that require licensure, and there are some national organizations which provide endorsements to those who complete specified training programs. All of these can help employees move up the ladder and expand and grow their careers over time. However, careers in this field are performance-based, and earning potential in addition to overall job security will depend a lot on how successful the individual is with living up to the expectations of the company itself.
Underwriter Work Environment:
To earn a high underwriter salary, insurance professionals need to be entrusted with managing high risk clients and dealing with large sums of money. While much of the work is conducted behind a desk inside of an office, many underwriters spend considerable amounts of time in the field as they evaluate companies and individuals as they assess potential risk. Some examples include inspecting a factory, evaluating an oilfield for their risk, or determining whether or not housing development is located in a tectonically active area before evaluating the specifics of their policy.
But the vast majority of the time an underwriter spends will fall into a typical 40 hour work week, with normal business hours that usually include nights, weekends and holidays off. Because underwriters do not sign policies or seek out customers like insurance agents do, they do not have to adjust their schedule to meet the needs of individual customers.
However, there are many times that high-level meetings in addition to corporate travel are necessary in order to develop policies and standards which will be designed to continue to make a company profitable. Aside from periods of time that can be very stressful due to deadlines as well as performance expectations, much of what an insurance underwriter will be doing is very routine and predictable. This includes running reports, calculating risk, evaluating financial and medical records in addition to working with other team members to craft an insurance policy.