How to Become an Insurance Underwriter


Career Path Guide

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 occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Insurance Underwriter

To become an insurance underwriter, you'll likely 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.





General 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.



General 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 Be Successful

To be effective 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 - Canada: According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Insurance Underwriters occupational group earn on average annual salary of $58,945. According to WorkBC, those in the same occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $54,392. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (October 19, 2019).


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 $69,380 per year (May, 2018 figures).



Who Employs 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 Possibilities

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 further 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.



Similar Occupations in Our System

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




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


Occupations in Alberta:Insurance Underwriter.” (November 26, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 19, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Business & Financial:Insurance Underwriters.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 19, 2019.

Explore Careers:Insurance Underwriters.” (July 18, 2018). WorkBC website - Province of British Columbia. Retrieved October 19, 2019.

Bioscience Careers:So, You Want to Become an Insurance Underwriter?” Elisabeth Axiak (January 20, 2017). Halwell Mutual Insurance Company website. Retrieved October 19, 2019.

Job Profile:Insurance Underwriter.” AGCAS editors (August, 2018). Prospects website. Retrieved October 19, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Insurance Underwriter

Scholarships in our system are organized by field of study. The fields that are relevant to this profession are listed below on our "Relevant Areas of Study" section below. Any scholarships found within those fields will be suitable, all of which can be found on our Scholarships 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!



Relevant Areas of Study

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!


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