Underwriting Associate: Job Duties, Education Requirements & Salary Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an underwriting associate. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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An underwriting associate assesses financial risk for insurance companies and their clients. They typically hold a bachelor's degree in a related field but must also possess three years of work experience and professional certification. They can expect to earn around $70,000 a year.

Essential Information

Holders of an Associate in Underwriting (AU) certificate are referred to as underwriting associates. The two AU certificates are Associate in Commercial Underwriting and Associate in Personal Insurance. Insurance underwriters assess risk using complex computer systems, and new underwriters, in addition to holding a bachelor's degree, pursue training and sit for exams that confer professional credentials.

Career Title Insurance Underwriter
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Three years of work experience, training and professional certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* -11%
Average Annual Salary (2015)* $72,650

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties of an Insurance Underwriter

Associate Underwriters (AU) hold either an Associate in Commercial Underwriting (ACU) or Associate in Personal Insurance (API) certificate. Underwriting associates, a type of insurance underwriter, can work for companies issuing many types of insurance policies.

Insurance companies protect clients from risk of financial loss in many situations. Underwriters look through the forms submitted with an insurance application and decide whether the proposed risk is acceptable. The complex computer programs that help calculate risk plays a major part in the job of an underwriter by helping formulate a risk profile which can include such numbers as a recommended premium rate, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Education Requirements

Underwriting associates are one of many ranks of insurance underwriters. Entry-level employees generally begin their careers as underwriting assistants. Additional education and certification qualifies them to become underwriting associates. All levels of underwriting professionals need to maintain continuing education to keep abreast of changing business regulations and updated computer systems.

The Insurance Institute of America (IIA) offers beginner courses and training programs for underwriters. The IIA also proctors the examination for ACU certification, which is for the underwriting of business policies. Optionally, underwriters can sit for the API certification exam if they wish to work with personal insurance policies.Each underwriting exam has 85 questions for test-takers to complete in two hours, according to the IIA.

Salary Info

The BLS reported average annual wages of $72,650 for all insurance underwriters in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Insurance underwriters who worked in the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts earned the highest average annual salaries, per the BLS.

Given the nature of their job, associate underwriters must be observant, thorough, organized and possess a strong understanding of insurance policy and financial risk. Applicants may enter this field with an associate degree and a professional certification, though more advanced degrees may lead to more advanced positions in insurance underwriting.

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