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Insurance Underwriter: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Learn what an insurance underwriter does. Find out the training and skills required, along with the salary and employment outlook, to see if this career might be the right one for you.

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Career Definition

Insurance underwriters assess risk and write policies for insurance companies. Insurance underwriters use information supplied by people seeking insurance, computer applications and statistical tables to determine the insurance seeker's level of risk; they use this information to set premiums and deductibles. While there are many different types of insurance, most insurance underwriters work in life insurance, health insurance, mortgage insurance or casualty and property insurance.

How to Become an Insurance Underwriter

Required Education

People seeking a career in insurance underwriting should have at least a bachelor's degree, preferably in a field such as finance or business administration. Common courses in a 4-year bachelor's program that will help prepare you for a career in insurance underwriting include accounting, auditing principles, principles of macroeconomics, finance and statistics. Advancement within insurance underwriting requires ongoing education; there are several certifications and designations available, depending on your specialty within insurance underwriting.

Skills Required

Insurance underwriters need to have strong math and computer skills to excel at their jobs. They should be detail-oriented and well organized. They often process sensitive or private information and should be discreet, trustworthy and reliable. Because they serve as a vital source of information to insurance agents, they must also have strong interpersonal and communications skills.

Employment and Economic Outlook

The employment outlook for insurance underwriting is expected to be notably below average; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in this field will decline by 6% from 2012-2022. The median annual earnings of an insurance underwriter in 2012 were $62,870.

Alternate Career Options


Actuaries usually have certifications and at least a bachelor's degree providing strong backgrounds in business, math and statistics. These professionals work mostly in the insurance industry, analyzing the financial costs of risks. The BLS reported annual median earnings of $93,680 for actuaries and predicted much faster than average employment growth of 26% from 2012-2022.

Cost Estimator

Much faster than average job growth of 26% was projected by the BLS for the 2012-2022 decade, for these estimators who analyze data pertaining to the expenses required to manufacture products or provide services. They usually have a bachelor's degree or extensive experience in construction with a strong math background. In 2012, the BLS revealed an annual median salary of $58,860 for cost estimators.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics