Insurance Underwriter Careers

How to become insurance underwriter

What does an insurance underwriter do?

Insurance underwriters decide whether to offer insurance cover and if any special terms or conditions should apply, such as insisting that a householder install a burglar alarm. They assess the extent of a risk and calculate the cost of the premium. They decide whether the insurance company should re-insure some of the risk, by insuring it with another insurance company. They may specialise in one type of insurance such as motor, life or household.

Underwriters also:

  • answer enquiries from, and negotiate with, clients and brokers
  • gather further information such as medical history, if necessary
  • issue policies.

They ensure that the premium is low enough to be competitive, yet high enough to provide the insurance company with enough income to pay out claims, cover costs, build up a reserve of funds and make a profit.


What's the working environment like for an insurance underwriter?

The normal working hours are 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Underwriters are mainly office-based and work as part of a team with insurance technicians and other professionals, such as actuaries. Travel to attend meetings and to visit insurance brokers or clients at their business premises is necessary.

What does it take to become an insurance underwriter?

To be an insurance underwriter you should:

  • be able to think clearly and have an analytical mind
  • be confident when making decisions
  • pay a high degree of attention to detail
  • be able to think creatively and have problem-solving skills
  • have good communication skills, both written and verbal
  • be able to explain complex information and negotiate with brokers
  • be numerate, in order to understand and work with statistics
  • respect confidential information
  • be able to absorb information and technical knowledge easily.

There aren't any set requirements however some experience like being an underwriter at a call centre can come in useful. There may be opportunities to get this job through an apprenticeship. Alternatively a degree in either maths or economics can help you secure a place on a graduate training scheme. 

Insurance underwriter career opportunities

Promotion is usually to more responsible underwriting posts, dealing with more complex or greater risks. There may be opportunities to move into management, other branches of insurance, or to run a department or Lloyd’s company. It is possible to gain promotion by having specialist knowledge in areas such as fire, motor or aviation insurance.

For further details of skills shortages and approved qualifications contact the Financial Services Skills Council.

Further information

If you would like to learn more about becoming an insurance underwriter that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Financial Services Skills Council
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366

Chartered Insurance Institute
20 Aldermanbury
Tel: 020 8989 8464

One Lime Street
Tel: 020 7327 1000

Financial Services Authority
25 The North Colonnade
Canary Wharf
E14 5HS
Tel: 020 7066 1000

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