Insurance Underwriters

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Underwriters are responsible for deciding whether or not to accept applications for insurance cover – this is known as ‘risk’. Determining risk is a complex process and the job relies on sensible judgement and meticulous attention to detail. The underwriter must ensure that accurate quotes are produced that are competitive to the customer, yet profitable for the company. Underwriters may work in many areas but the work generally falls into the categories of life assurance, commercial insurance, general insurance and reinsurance.

Typical duties include:

  • examining insurance proposals

  • collecting background information and assessments of risk

  • analysing 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.


Qualifications and training required


There are routes into an insurance underwriting career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates from any degree discipline can become underwriters, although some employers prefer a qualification in accounting, finance, economics, law, management or business studies. Specialist medical knowledge or a scientific, technical or engineering degree may be necessary for some vacancies, particularly those within life assurance. Relevant experience gained via vacation work and placements can be beneficial.


Key skills for insurance underwriters


  • Analytical skills

  • Good maths and statistics skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Verbal and written communication skills

  • IT skills

  • Good judgement

  • Negotiation and interpersonal skills


Typical employers of insurance underwriters


  • Insurance companies

  • Reinsurance companies

  • Brokers

  • Banks


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