Careers

Underwriting Jobs

Underwriting jobs involve deciding if applications for insurance cover should be accepted and if so, what the terms of that acceptance are. Underwriters assess a risk according to the likelihood of a claim being made, by weighing up a number of factors and asking for detailed information from policyholders. The aim is to minimise losses for the company and help to make a profit.

Typical Work Activities:

• Studying insurance proposals

• Gathering and assessing background information

• Calculating possible risk and determining the premium

• Visiting brokers or potential customers and preparing quotes

• Liaising with specialists, such as surveyors or doctors, for risk assessment

• Gathering information and various types of reports (e.g. medical records) from specialists

• Negotiating terms with policyholders or their brokers and drawing up contracts

• Writing policies

Insurance underwriting jobs are found in two main sectors:

• general insurance – which covers personal, commercial, and re-insurance

• life insurance – properly known as ‘assurance’, which offers cover for illness, injury and death

Most jobs specialise in one type of insurance. Underwriting jobs can also be found in specialist sectors including marine, aviation and contingency.

Skills and Interests

Critical factors leading to success include:

• Ability to absorb technical information

• Analytical mind

• Ability to make decisions

• Numeracy

• Sound judgement

• Ability to work to tight deadlines

• Willingness to work using your own initiative

• Good interpersonal and communication skills to negotiate terms with brokers

Entry

Entry may be through an insurance company’s graduate training scheme or, quite commonly, via promotion from an administrative job within insurance. Some insurance companies recruit for underwriting jobs internally and will consider applicants with general insurance experience. Many graduates start their careers this way, moving into underwriting jobs at the end of their training scheme.

Underwriting jobs are open to graduates all disciplines, however the subjects accounting/finance; business/management; economics; financial services; insurance; law; mathematics; statistics; offer a distinct advantage. A foundation degree/HND in accounting/finance; business/management; financial services; legal studies may also help. Entry without a degree or HND is sometimes possible.

Relevant work experience with an insurance company may improve your chances. For some posts in life assurance, biological or medical knowledge may be helpful.

Typical Career Path

Underwriting jobs can lead to opportunities to move into other core areas of insurance – for example, risk management, claims or broking which offer scope for general management roles.

Alternatively, they can lead to a move into re-insurance to deal with very complex cases and high levels of risk, or progress into a specialist field, such as marine or aviation insurance. Progression can be made into senior underwriting jobs, specialising in a particular field, or to a team leader or manager.

Some holders of underwriting jobs move into the sales field, developing their relationship-building skills to meet sales targets for specific types of insurance.

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