How to Become an Insurance Underwriter

How to Become an Insurance Underwriter: Career Path Guide

If you want to become an insurance underwriter, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an insurance underwriter:


• You have an undergraduate degree

• You are interested in working in the insurance industry

• You are able to easily absorb technical information

• You have excellent negotiation skills

• You are able to act professionally towards customers and co-workers

• You have an objective approach to work activities

• You are able to make sound decisions

• You are interested in long-term professional development in your field

• >You enjoy the prospect of working standard business hours


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an insurance underwriter. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Insurance Underwriter

If you want to become an insurance underwriter, you typically need a bachelor’s degree. Although a career as an insurance underwriter is typically open to graduates from all fields of study, coursework in business, finance, economics, and mathematics is most suitable for this field of work.




Insurance Underwriter Job Description

Insurance underwriters are responsible for evaluating the risks of insuring individuals, organizations, businesses and assets. While operating within corporate policies, principles and rules, they must determine whether they will accept the customer’s risk, and if so must set the premium for the appropriate level of insurance coverage.



Insurance Underwriter Job Duties

• Review individual and group applications for automobile, fire, health, travel, life, liability, home, property or other insurance

• Evaluate new and renewal applications to determine insurance risks, insurance premiums, extent of insurance coverage and other conditions of the insurance contract

• Use and refer to rate tables, medical reports, driver history and other documentation to evaluate applications

• Approve or deny sale of insurance policies

• Prepare underwriting reports

• Provide underwriting advice and answer inquiries from clients and insurance agents

• Ensure policies are compliant with industry standards and government regulations



Becoming Certified as an Insurance Underwriter

Many employers expect insurance underwriters to become certified. They may hire underwriters that are not certified, although they will typically not be able to advance to senior underwriter positions without certification.


Continuing education may be required to maintain certification, which helps the underwriter maintain current knowledge of new technology and changes in provincial/state and federal regulations, and other important industry developments.


Underwriter Certification in Canada: For Canadian insurance underwriters, certification can be obtained through the Insurance Institute of Canada, which offers the designation of Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP), among others.


Underwriter Certification in the United States: For American insurance underwriters, The Institutes offers the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, among others.





Skills and Traits Needed to Become an Insurance Underwriter

In order to become effective in a career as an insurance underwriter, you need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will help you make the most of your career as an insurance underwriter by allowing you to perform your job duties with competence, and by helping you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


Many of these skills and traits are also in high demand with companies that employ insurance underwriters; you will see many of these skills and traits, or variations of them, listed on Insurance Underwriter job postings.


• Objective and able to make sound decisions

• Able to effectively negotiate with brokers

• Enjoy coordinating information

• Logical and methodical approach to work activities

• The ability to work within very tight deadlines

• Willingness to work under own initiative

• Professional, friendly and courteous in all interactions, whether with customers or co-workers

• The ability to absorb technical information

• Willingness to begin career as an entry-level trainee

• Knowledge of industry regulations, such as Canadian Automobile legislation

• Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel



Insurance Underwriter Salary

The income level of insurance underwriters can vary depending on their level of experience, their level of education, the size of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


Insurance Underwriter Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Insurance Underwriters occupational group earn on average wage of between $35.94 and $38.83 per hour.


Insurance Underwriter Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Insurance Underwriters occupational group is $50,613 per year.


Insurance Underwriter Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Insurance Underwriters occupational group is $62,870 per year.



Who Creates Jobs for Insurance Underwriters?

Insurance underwriters are hired primarily on a full-time basis by the following types of organizations:


• Large insurance companies that offer a wide range of general insurance coverage

• Smaller insurance companies that specialize in one type of insurance, such as auto

• Insurance agencies and brokers

• Credit intermediation and related service companies

• Banks and financial institutions

• Mortgage insurance companies

• Reinsurance companies



Insurance Underwriter Jobs

Our job board below has "Insurance Underwriter" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Career Advancement for Insurance Underwriters

Insurance underwriters usually begin their careers as trainees, under the supervision of more experience or senior-level underwriters. As a trainee gains more experience, and learns about the basic applications and the most common risk factors of their industry, they become responsible for more complex applications and work independently.


As even more experience is gained, insurance underwriters gain even more responsibility; they assess more advanced risks, and may quote determine prices and conditions to offer for proposed policies. An increase in level of responsibility for an insurance underwriter is also typically accompanied by an increase in pay grade.


Insurance underwriters that gain certification and a sufficient level of experience may move into more advanced technical areas of underwriting, management or other company departments, such as business development or marketing. Experienced insurance underwriters may choose to become independent insurance agents or enter the field of insurance brokering.



Careers Similar to Insurance Underwriter

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Insurance Underwriter, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Credit Analyst

Insurance Agent

Loan Officer

Real Estate Appraiser



References: How to Become an Insurance Underwriter

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an insurance underwriter.


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

Prospects website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:

Halwell Mutual website:



Scholarships for Becoming an Insurance Underwriter

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming an Insurance Underwriter can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming an Insurance Underwriter: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an insurance underwriter. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: