To become insurance underwriters, students must learn to analyze a client's financial and personal background in order to understand the financial risks involved in insuring them. Business administration, insurance principles and risk management are also important to insurance underwriting work. A degree program such as a Bachelor of Science in Insurance and Risk Management would cover this information. The majority of degree programs in this field of study are offered through 4-year universities. Students are responsible for providing transcripts and proof of a high school diploma before they can apply to the program.
Several professional organizations offer certifications to underwriters who have completed their training and pass competency examinations. In addition to offering credentials, these associations often provide continuing education courses that keep underwriters up to date with new regulations and technologies.
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Bachelor of Science in Insurance and Risk Management
Prospective insurance underwriters in this program can choose a concentration that gives them in-depth knowledge of a particular specialty of the insurance industry, such as life, health, property or casualty insurance. In addition to specific insurance-related topics, many of the courses found within this degree program cover finance, business and management principles. Some specific course examples include:
- Business finance
- Life, health and property insurance
- Risk management
- Management behavior
- Business ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The majority of insurance underwriters in the United States work for insurance carriers, brokers and agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these individuals held 103,400 jobs in 2015 and employment opportunities should expect to decline 11% between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, the BLS also reported that the median annual salary for an insurance underwriter was $65,040.
Continuing Education Information
Continuing education is very important in the field of insurance; as professionals must find a way to learn about the new technologies and regulation changes that affect the industry each year. One organization that offers training programs and seminars to employed insurance underwriters is the Insurance Institute of America. The Institute also offers certification to insurance underwriters who are just starting their careers, designating them with an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU) credential. The American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters also offers certification in the form of a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) for professionals who pass an examination and meet ethical standards.
Insurance underwriters can get the appropriate education with a Bachelor of Science in Insurance and Risk Management. However, due to a declining job outlook rate, graduates should expect an incredibly competitive market. To stay competitive, underwriters should seek either a ACU or CPCU credential, ensuring proper certification.