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.

Career Definition for Insurance Underwriters

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.

Education Bachelor's degree, preferably in finance or related field
Job Duties Assess risk, write insurance policies, set premiums and deductibles
Median Salary (2018)* $69,380
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -5%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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 5% from 2016 to 2026. The median annual earnings of an insurance underwriter in 2018 were $69,380.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:


Actuaries usually have certifications and at least bachelor's degrees, 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 $102,880 for actuaries and predicted a much faster-than-average employment growth of 22% from 2016 to 2026.

Cost Estimator

Faster-than-average job growth of 11% was projected by the BLS in the 2016-2026 decade for cost estimators, who analyze data pertaining to the expenses required to manufacture products or provide services. They usually have bachelor's degrees or extensive experience in construction with strong math backgrounds. In 2018, the BLS revealed an annual median salary of $64,040 for cost estimators.

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