An insurance underwriter is the person in an insurance company who decides
whether a certain person, company or piece of property should be insured and
at what rates.
They evaluate insurance applications to determine insurance risks, premiums
The term "underwriter" dates back to 18th-century England. Those willing
to share the risk of a ship's voyage in exchange for sharing in its profits
wrote their names on a blackboard under the name of the ship.
Once an agent or broker has filled out an insurance policy,
the next person to see the application is the underwriter.
An underwriter looks at all the information on a policy and the statistics
produced by actuaries. Then they decide if that policy is a good or bad risk.
There's a saying in the insurance business that a company's success depends
on the skills of its underwriters.
Underwriters are important because if policies are priced too low, their
insurance company could stand to lose money. If the policies are priced too
high, the company will not be able to compete with other companies.
Once an underwriter accepts that a policy is a reasonable risk, he or she
makes sure that the proper kind of policy is issued and the proper rates are
Underwriters work in all areas of insurance -- including life, auto, property
and casualty insurance.
Underwriters usually enjoy working with details and analyzing information.
In addition, underwriters must possess good judgment in order to make sound
decisions. They must also be imaginative and aggressive, especially when they
have to obtain information from outside sources.
"You'd better not be afraid of paperwork either," says Kim Lo, an insurance
Underwriters use computer applications called "smart systems" to manage
risks more efficiently and accurately.
They enter information relating to a person or organization whose application
for insurance is pending into a computer. These systems automatically analyze
and rate insurance applications, then recommend acceptance or denial of the
risk, or they adjust the premium rate in accordance with the risk.
Underwriters are then better equipped to make sound decisions in an effort
to avoid excessive losses in the future.
Usually, underwriters work at a desk and use a computer to do their work.
They may occasionally be required to travel to attend conferences or to look
at property or other items that need to be insured.
This isn't a particularly physically demanding job, so those with disabilities
should have no problem.
You may be required to work overtime. But generally, it's a 40-hour-a-week