Insurance underwriters analyze risk in insurance proposals, determine policy terms and calculate premiums on the basis of actuarial, statistical and background information. As an insurance underwriter you’ll decide if applications for insurance cover (risks) should be accepted and, if so, what the terms and conditions of that acceptance are.
You will assess the risk of insuring a person or company according to the likelihood of a claim being made. Working closely with actuaries, risk and claims managers, and brokers, you’ll ensure a balance between attracting and retaining customers through competitive insurance premiums and being able to cover any potential losses from claims.
Types of insurance
Most underwriters specialize in one type of insurance. The main types of insurance are:
- general insurance: covers household, pet, motor, travel;
- life insurance/assurance: covers illness, injury, death;
- commercial insurance: covers companies;
- reinsurance: part of the risk is placed with another insurer.
Employers of Insurance Underwriter
You can work within any of the following types of insurance organizations:
- large companies – offering a wide range of general insurance cover;
- smaller companies – specializing in one type of insurance, e.g. motor;
- life assurance companies;
- reinsurance companies;
- health insurance companies;
- credit agencies.
- examining insurance proposals
- collecting background information and assessments of risk
- analyzing statistical data using specialist computer programmes
- writing quotes and negotiating the terms with brokers and clients
- determining premiums
- deciding the wording of policies
- preparing insurance policy terms and conditions
- liaising with insurance brokers and customers.
Graduates from any degree discipline can become underwriters, although some employers prefer a qualification in accounting, finance, economics, law, management or business studies. Although employers usually provide training in insurance-related legal issues, you’ll need to have a good understanding of the insurance industry.
- effective analytical skills;
- strong interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal;
- negotiation skills and the ability to influence others;
- the ability to absorb technical information;
- confident decision-making skills;
- numeracy and statistical skills;
- problem-solving skills and a logical approach to work;
- sound judgement;
- the ability to work to tight deadlines;
- team-working skills but also a willingness to work using your own initiative;
- customer service skills.