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How Do I Become an Insurance Underwriter?

A health insurance underwriter collects information about an applicant and determines how much insurance he needs and the premiums he will be charged.
Article Details
  • Written By: M. West
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Entrance into insurance underwriting careers is not dictated by any set educational requirements, but most companies prefer candidates who possess a bachelor's degree or have prior insurance experience. If you want to become an insurance underwriter, you should be detail-oriented and should be able to display competency using a computer. You should have good communication skills and the ability to work well with others. Although expertise in most underwriter duties can be acquired through on-the-job training, some institutions offer instruction programs for beginners in the field.

If you want to become an insurance underwriter, a degree in business administration or finance is helpful. Most entry-level positions, however, can be acquired by having a degree in almost any area with additional courses in business law and accounting. Many entry-level jobs are for trainees or assistants under the supervision of experienced underwriters. Large companies often provide training that takes several months to a year to complete. Members of this profession might participate in computer training throughout their career in order to keep pace with developments involving risk assessment.

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If you desire to advance in this profession, you will need to undergo continuing education to stay abreast of changes on tax laws and government regulations. Independent study curricula are available for the beginner as well as for people wishing to acquire specialized expertise in an area. Advanced certifications are available for those who successfully complete the appropriate examinations. Underwriters with experience and who have taken additional study courses might be promoted to managerial positions, but a master's degree is frequently required. If an underwriter desires to go into sales, a license might be required.

After you become an insurance underwriter, your duties will consist of assessing risks of loss from individual policyholders, determining who is awarded a policy and establishing policy premiums. The work necessitates balancing risks against costs. Computer software is helpful in analyzing these factors that determine what is considered an acceptable risk. Insurance underwriting careers involve four main specialties: mortgage, health, life and property and casualty. The life and health categories can be divided into group and individual policies.

Economist have predicted that fewer insurance underwriters will be needed in the future because of advances in computer programs that help assess risk. As of early 2011, however, there had not been a significant reduction in these positions. Anyone who has good analytical abilities, possesses sound judgment and has data interpretation skills is likely well-equipped to become an insurance underwriter.

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