An underwriter is a professional who works for a financial company (e.g., bank or insurance provider) to determine how much financial eligibility customers may receive for a variety of products, such as insurance coverage or a line of credit. The idea behind underwriting is to accept a certain amount of risk from a client in exchange for a premium or payment for the financial service.
- Skill level:
Determine what type of underwriter you want to become. There are securities, insurance, banking or manual underwriters.
Read or listen to the news on a regular basis to become knowledgeable about current events in the insurance industry.
Become skilled and knowledgeable about using computers. Underwriters must be able to handle and process a great deal of information efficiently, as well as engage in electronic correspondence.
Work on your communication skills. An underwriter must be able to interact effectively with insurance agents and other professionals in the industry.
Take as many accounting and math classes as possible. Underwriters need to work well and make decisions with numbers.
Assess your decision-making and analytical skills. Underwriters need to be able to make sound judgments on a daily basis.
Acquire an internship with an insurance company to learn more about the industry. You can also do volunteer work or shadow a professional who is willing to give you mentorship.
Earn a bachelor's degree in business or finance. You may also become an underwriter with virtually any degree, particularly one in business law or accounting.
Become an intern, underwriting analyst or underwriter trainee. These jobs usually give you the opportunity to collect information and perform analyses under an underwriter's supervision.
Tips and warnings
- If you like researching information, paying attention to detail and engaging in analysis, then you may experience satisfaction as an underwriter.
- The underwriting profession requires continued education in the field. Many companies offer salary bonuses or pay tuition for continued education.
- Most underwriters work for insurance companies or entities that provide insurance coverage for their clients. These underwriters assess risks for life, health or property and casualty.
- Jobs in underwriting are not expected to grow very much in the coming years, according to the US Department of Labor. This is partly due to the emergence and availability of underwriting software that decrease the need for actual underwriters.
- Due to the downsizing occurring in many companies, underwriters may be expected to work more than the typical 40-hour workweek.
- Many underwriters may be expected to travel or to work away from home for several days at a time.