Commercial Underwriter Schools: How to Choose

Commercial underwriters typically hold a degree in accounting or finance and should have a firm background in risk management and financial analysis. Colleges and universities across the U.S. offer bachelor's degrees in accounting and finance, with minors in risk management.

Commercial insurance underwriters write policies for commercial real estate. In order to do this, they must have a solid foundation in many different financial areas and usually have a degree in a related field.

Top 10 Schools with Insurance Programs

While not all schools offer insurance programs below are some of the most reputable.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016, Undergraduate, In-State and Out-of-State)
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $49,536
$49,536
University of Georgia Athens, GA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $11,622
$29,832
St. Joseph's College Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's $24,113
$24,113
University of Wisconsin--Madison Madison, WI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $10,415
$29,665
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $15,188
$25,494
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $8,974
$23,542
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $6,507
$21,673
New York University New York, NY 4-year, Private Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $47,750
$47,750
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $15,054
$30,214
University of Texas - Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate $9,806
$34,676

Source: *NCES College Navigator

School Selection Criteria

A few considerations that students should consider when looking at schools for commercial underwriting are detailed below:

  • Most employers seek applicants with a degree in accounting or finance, but some schools also offer a specific insurance program as a major, a minor, or as a concentration within a business administration program.
  • Many courses required for a degree in finance address insurance policies while accounting degrees are rooted in math and economics; schools that offer degree programs in risk management, insurance or analytical finance may be ideal for aspiring underwriters.
  • Some schools that offer accounting or finance programs also offer a minor in risk management, which consists of courses that introduce students to the principles of insurance.
  • For the professional underwriter seeking additional specialization, underwriting courses are offered through professional organizations where you can earn an Associate in Underwriting (AU) designation after successful completion of an exam.

B.S. in Accounting

Accounting students learn to create income statements and analyze profitability through courses such as financial accounting, cost accounting and auditing.

B.S. in Finance

Finance programs may be more appealing for the aspiring underwriter, with courses like financial markets, investing and real estate development. Students should also consider taking a course in financial analysis, as it is a main job requirement in commercial underwriting.

Individuals interested in becoming commercial mortgage underwriters should make several considerations when choosing programs such as location, course offerings, and career goals. Backgrounds in finance, accounting, and real estate are also helpful.


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