What Does an Underwriter Do?
Underwriters examine and evaluate applications for insurance loans and other financial products to assess risk. They consider a wide variety of factors to determine the risk associated with the applicant, such as credit score, employment history, income level, and other personal information, before making a decision to approve or disapprove the application. If approved, the underwriter then determines the premium or interest rate that should be charged to the applicant to make the product profitable for the insurer or lender.
To carry out their job effectively and efficiently, underwriters can benefit from having an analytical mind and the ability to calculate and understand problems quickly. An underwriter must be decisive and capable of making difficult approval decisions, with the goal of balancing risk and reward for the lender and insurer.
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National Average Salary
Underwriter salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Underwriter is:
Underwriter Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting an underwriter, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
The underwriter is to issue credit decisions based on the documented borrower profile within the guidelines of the program and client requirements. [Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced underwriter. They will be responsible for meeting the minimum daily production goals while clearing conditions and performing within department audit standards. Our ideal candidate will have expert knowledge in risk assessment, meticulous attention to detail, good negotiating skills, and proven work experience in a fast-paced environment with tight deadlines.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Review, analyze, and verify loan applications and supporting documentation
- Analyze loan risk and request additional information to determine coverage needs
- Define the terms and conditions of the insurance coverage and premium
- Review loan documentation and vendor reports while identifying possible fraudulent activity
- Approve, request a modification to, or reject loan applications based on findings
- Follow up with loan officers and management on potential clients
- Reassess risk when policies come up for renewal
- Help agents determine premium costs
- Evaluate insurance claims for accuracy and the coverage amount
- Prepare reports that detail risk assessment findings that contribute to the final decision
Education and experience
- Bachelor’s degree in finance, business, economics, mathematics, or a related field
- 3-5 years of underwriting or credit and risk analysis experience
Required skills and qualifications
- Good analytical skills
- Reasonable and sound judgment
- Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills
- Working knowledge of databases and tracking systems
- Solid organizational skills
- Proven ability to work under pressure and meet strict deadlines
- Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills
- In-depth knowledge of underwriting regulations
- Experience working in customer service
- Experience training new hires
- Excellent math skills
- Knowledge of Microsoft Office, spreadsheets, and other software programs
- Experience analyzing financial documents
We are the vital link bringing together these groups with underwriting companies. For our customers, we are an advocate, providing driven products and easily accessible, world-class customer service. For the underwriting company, we provide the marketing and administrative expertise vital to improving their policy sales.
- Review and evaluate insurance applications and related documents, including inspection reports, financial statements, loss data, MVRs, and other information needed to accurately evaluate and classify the degree of risk in relation to proposed coverage limits
- Obtain all relevant information not included with the initial submission to ensure a detailed evaluation of the risk
- Review and evaluate renewal business and recommend appropriate actions to attain premium rate and loss ratio objectives
- Prepare own or review other quotations/proposals for presentation to potential clients
- Approve the coverages requested within specified underwriting authority, either as submitted or on a modified basis, or decline the risk in its entirety; refer to recommended action if risk exceeds underwriting authority
- Develop and maintain positive and constructive working relationships with the company’s marketing professionals and the sources of their production in order to attract and retain clients
- Review policy forms used in specific programs to ensure consistency and keep producers informed regarding coverage issues
- Responsible for a renewal book of approx. $1,500,000 premium and new business book of approx. $500,000 premium
- Complete a variety of underwriting assignments at the direction of the Division Sr. Vice President or Underwriting Manager/Director
- Active Property and Casualty Indiana Insurance license
- Minimum 3 -5 years working in a commercial Property and Casualty insurance operation
- Understanding of Property and Casualty insurance coverages
- Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, specifically Excel and Word
- Good verbal and written communication skills
- Outstanding organizational skills and time management capabilities
- Can work cohesively in a team environment and follow directions well
- Computer skills to include Microsoft Word and Excel, Outlook, and other company-proprietary computer programs
The Underwriter will join a growing team charged to review and evaluate case data to present fair and sound stop-loss pricing. In this role, the Underwriter will report directly to the Assistant Vice President of Underwriting.
- Evaluate fully insured, level-funded, and self-funded submission documentation, including new business proposals, renewals, and claims documents
- Maintain and support a positive working relationship with Regional Vice Presidents, Sales Associates, the Sales Management Team, and carrier partners
- Learn and be able to reiterate captive products, including the various cost-containment programs available to members
- Identify and suggest creative underwriting solutions through knowledge of various TPA programs, Reference Based Pricing vendors, and cost-containment initiatives
- Evaluate formal quotes from carriers for accuracy and fairness
- Prepare and release marketing pieces, proposals, and liability models according to guidelines and operating procedures
- Evaluate and respond to broker partner requests in a timely and constructive manner
Skills and experience
- 2+ years of underwriting stop loss experience required
- Knowledge of self-insurance space and cost-containment programs
- Demonstrated consultative approach to underwriting or toward the UW process
- Must demonstrate attention to detail and strong analytical skills
- Bachelor’s degree required
- Highly proficient in Excel
- Must possess strong skills multitasking capability, and a desire to work as a part of a team
Utilize underwriting tools to determine accurate classifications, rates, and premium charges. Understand state laws, including cancellation and non-renewal, within the assigned territory to properly transact business within each state. Knowledgeable in coverage forms and policy language; appropriate utilization of forms and exclusions. Assist with resolving premium audit disputes within assigned agents/brokers.
Key duties and responsibilities
- Participate in prospecting through the identification of new business targets and opportunities, work closely with producer/agent to ensure the department receives the opportunity to offer proposal
- Make strategic recommendations to the supervisor
- Manage a personal book of business
- Review, analyze, accept, and decline casualty risks
- Underwrite and select new businesses that will produce an underwriting profit
- Manage the existing renewal book and implement corrective measures, as needed, to meet profitability expectations
- Communicate with regional managers and national casualty product line leaders on individual accounts, current and proposed producers, and make recommendations concerning operations, systems, and procedures when appropriate
- Perform the required number of broker marketing calls. Solicit new accounts, gather market intelligence, and deliver up-to-date department information relating to products and services. Manage select agency relationships to ensure objectives are achieved
- Participate in audits and/or underwriting meetings as required
- Build and maintain quality relationships with key producers while simultaneously monitoring the entire appointed producer base for profitability and production
- Review forms and pricing of competitors and be able to effectively market the product within the competitive landscape
- Provide training or technical assistance to department underwriting staff
- 2-5 years plus years in wholesale Primary Casualty underwriting or broking
- Strong presentation and interpersonal skills
- Established E&S broker relationships within the region and the ability to build relationships in new markets
- Excellent oral and written communication skills
- Microsoft Office skills including MS Word and MS Excel
- Strong analytical and organizational skills
- Must be a team player that enjoys a flexible and spontaneous business environment with a desire to succeed
- Up to 25% travel (when appropriate)
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Certified Residential Underwriter (CRU) – The CRU is the standard for excellence in mortgage loan underwriting and is designed for underwriting professionals with at least 1 year of experience looking to elevate their skills. This training helps candidates develop specific skills that contribute to reduced error rates, increased productivity, quicker decisions, and improved quality. Candidates will gain insight into current influencing factors, regulations, and industry issues.
- Certified Mortgage Underwriter (CMU) – The CMU program is offered by the National Association of Mortgage Underwriters (NAMU), and is an ideal certificate for entry-level residential mortgage underwriters. The certification course includes underwriting essentials, real-world lessons, FHA/VA underwriting, and manual underwriting. Certification is issued after passing the exam and must be renewed yearly.
- Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) – The CPCU professional designation is the premier certification in property-casualty insurance. This course is recommended for claim adjusters, underwriters, risk managers, brokers, agents, regulators, consultants, and other financial professionals. Candidates will learn about risk management fundamentals, emphasizing managing risk data, modeling outcomes, and applying new risk technologies that prepare them to confidently meet the challenges of the risk management and insurance marketplace.
How to Hire an Underwriter
When hiring an underwriter, first consider the following:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
- Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder for an underwriter opening:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
3. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- How do you prioritize when maintaining multiple claims?
- Do you prefer working on a team or independently?
- How do you stay focused when doing a repetitive job?
- What is your favorite insurance industry to work in?
- When was a time when you were required to demonstrate good ethics?
- How would you approach compiling a quote under a tight deadline?
- What process do you follow when reviewing a new application?
- How do you keep up-to-date on the latest insurance laws?
- How do you handle moderate-level risk assessments?
- What do you do if you are unable to collect adequate financial information on an application?
- How do debt-to-loan ratios affect your risk assessments?
- How would you handle a difficult customer or broker?
- How would you communicate to a customer a denied claim?
- How do you accurately maintain large collections of data?
- Which underwriting and statistical programs are you most comfortable using?
- What resources do you use most often to make your claim decision?
- What do you do when you suspect insurance fraud?
- If you have conflicting data about a customer, how would you determine which documents are accurate?