How Do I Become a Health Insurance Underwriter? (with pictures)

Jeanne Roberts
Jeanne Roberts
A health insurance underwriter collects information about an applicant and determines how much insurance he needs and the premiums he will be charged.
A health insurance underwriter collects information about an applicant and determines how much insurance he needs and the premiums he will be charged.

You can become a health insurance underwriter by attending a college or university and getting a bachelor's degree in business, business administration or finance. These choices all require a firm understanding of mathematical principles ranging from algebra to calculus, so it is important that you are well grounded in math if you want to become a health insurance underwriter. Expect to attend such classes as Fundamentals in Finance, Principles of Marketing and Management Accounting, all of which will find use as you try to become a health insurance underwriter.

A health insurance claim form.
A health insurance claim form.

After you have your degree, you will want to find an entry-level job as a health insurance underwriter trainee or assistant health insurance underwriter with a health insurance company that has a reputation for fairness and is licensed to do business in your region. Some companies will hire you even if your degree is in a non-related field, such as journalism or communications, if you show a willingness to learn and an aptitude for working with computer software programs, which are the backbone of the modern insurance industry. In fact, as long as your mathematical and computer skills are solid, your application to become a health insurance underwriter is likely to depend more on how much the interviewer likes you than on college coursework you took.

Your trainer will be a qualified actuary; that is, one who is experienced in evaluating the degree and nature of risk to a potential client from his or her lifestyle, mode of employment and general mind-set. For example, you will quickly learn that firemen, policemen, airplane pilots, loggers and ironworkers are in a higher risk category than the general population because the likelihood of their being injured is greater. This risk, determined by a computer software program using algorithms, is the basis of actuarial science, which is what a health insurance underwriter uses to determine whether a person is worth insuring and at what price.

Health insurance underwriters must be able to juggle a great many details that they use to evaluate clients. They also must have good judgment and the ability to determine when a person is telling the truth. This last is essential because, although many aspects of a person’s lifestyle can be discovered through research, the tendency to be reckless or to have a short temper might only show up if the health insurance underwriter is also a clever psychological screener with superb communications skills.

After you have finished your training, have demonstrated your skills and have been promoted to health insurance underwriter, you can still expect to need some form of continuing education as requirements and techniques in the field change. These changes might be new or absent government benefits or changes in the tax code for insurors or their insured. This continuing education, as well as some basic education, might be available online for busy professionals.

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    • A health insurance underwriter collects information about an applicant and determines how much insurance he needs and the premiums he will be charged.
      A health insurance underwriter collects information about an applicant and determines how much insurance he needs and the premiums he will be charged.
    • A health insurance claim form.
      A health insurance claim form.