Underwriters are responsible for deciding whether or not to accept applications for insurance cover – this is known as ‘risk’. Determining risk is a complex process and the job relies on sensible judgement and meticulous attention to detail. The underwriter must ensure that accurate quotes are produced that are competitive to the customer, yet profitable for the company. Underwriters may work in many areas but the work generally falls into the categories of life assurance, commercial insurance, general insurance and reinsurance.
Typical duties include:
examining insurance proposals
collecting background information and assessments of risk
analysing statistical data using specialist computer programmes
writing quotes and negotiating the terms with brokers and clients
deciding the wording of policies
preparing insurance policy terms and conditions
liaising with insurance brokers and customers.
There are routes into an insurance underwriting career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates from any degree discipline can become underwriters, although some employers prefer a qualification in accounting, finance, economics, law, management or business studies. Specialist medical knowledge or a scientific, technical or engineering degree may be necessary for some vacancies, particularly those within life assurance. Relevant experience gained via vacation work and placements can be beneficial.
Good maths and statistics skills
Attention to detail
Verbal and written communication skills
Negotiation and interpersonal skills