Underwriter job description

When it comes to their prized possessions, people often apply for insurance cover, hoping companies will pay out should anything bad happen.

Deciding who gets insurance cover and who have to keep their items in bubble wrap instead, an underwriter has a lot of responsibility in the insurance world.

 


So, what will I actually be doing?

Not only judging whether applications are accepted, but underwriters also decide the terms and conditions of the insurance by assessing the probability of a claim being made.

Your role would involve:

  • Assessing background information on the client
  • Studying insurance proposals
  • Calculating the risk
  • Deciding how much should be paid out
  • Liaising with professionals and specialists to help judge risk assessment
  • Selecting appropriate and competitive premiums based on information and judgement
  • Writing policies and adding specific conditions when required
  • Deciding whether the risk should be shared with a re-insurer
  • Negotiating terms
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The nitty gritty

You’ll be working the regular 40 hour weeks between the hours of 9 to 5, but prepare to do the occasional bit of over-time when the workload gets hectic.

Usually based in an office, you’ll occasionally get to leave your desk to visit other insurance brokers and clients to discuss policies.

Because it’s such a large field to work in, it’s likely that you’ll specialise in one type of insurance. Popular types include:

  • General insurance – household, pet, travel etc
  • Commercial insurance – for companies
  • Life insurance – Covers illness and injuries


Money, money, money

So how much could you be earning?

When you first start out as a newbie, you’ll take home between £15,000 and £20,000.

Get to the senior level and you’re looking at a salary of around £50,000.

Although this can change depending on your employer, your location and how many years you’ve been in the job.


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The good points...

This is not a repetitive job where you’re doing the same tasks every day and not appreciated for it. Constantly dealing with different applications and making important decisions, no day is ever the same.


...and the bad

Being an underwriter is a stressful job, and telling people that the company can’t cover them will never get any easier.


Is there study involved?

Employers are always on the look-out for graduates, no matter what you studied, but you’ll stand out more if you’ve got something relevant such as:


Although employers won’t shut the door in your face if you don’t have a degree. Training is also a popular way to become an underwriter, with many companies doing training schemes to help you learn on the job.

There’s a lot of competition out there, so anything you can add to your skill set will make you stand out among the piles of applications. Previous work experience in insurance is one of the most useful things you can have on your CV, and by starting in an administrative role, you’ll learn on the job and work your way up to underwriter through internal promotions instead.


OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?

Think this is the job for you? You’ll love it even more if you’ve got some (or even all) of these skills:

  • Knowledge of technical information
  • Good negotiating skills 
  • Good communicator
  • Able to use initiative
  • Analytical
  • Good decision maker, especially when under pressure
  • Numeracy skills 
  • Good judgement and common sense
  • Ability to hit deadlines

 

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