Insurance Underwriter

Insurance Underwriter

Underwriting is the process of reviewing insurance applications and deciding who and what to insure, for how much and under what conditions. Insurance Underwriters assess the risks in an insurance application and evaluate the probability of those risks occurring – and the potential costs associated with them.

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
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Demand Outlook
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Retirement rates of experienced Underwriters are creating a demand for talent. However, increased automation may impact the or evolve the role for less complex risks.

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

College/Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills
*
Desktop area Work Environment

Typically corporate head office; potentially some travel

ROLE-AT-A-GLANCE
Binoculars
Demand Outlook
*

Retirement rates of experienced Underwriters are creating a demand for talent. However, increased automation may impact the or evolve the role for less complex risks.

Diploma
Education & Credentials
*

College/Undergraduate degree typically required.

Data chart
Quantitative Skills Required
*
Group of people
Interpersonal Skills & Relationship Management
*
Multiple devices Specialized Technology Skills *
Desktop area Work Environment

Typically corporate head office; potentially some travel


WHAT IT IS

Key Role Dimensions

Assessing insurance applications for risks and recommended premiums: Determine the amount of premium to charge given the terms of the insurance policy and the risk in an application.

Balancing competing demands: Work in a data-intensive, risk-focused environment; manage the responsibility associated with decisions and the demands of clients and insurance brokers.

May involve a high degree of specialization: Insurance Underwriters can focus on a type of insurance (e.g. personal lines, Home and Auto) or an industry sector (e.g. Retail, Mining, Infrastructure) where specialized knowledge may be required.

Focus Areas

Insurance Underwriters typically focus on these types of insurance:

  • Life Insurance: A financial benefit assigned to a person’s family or other beneficiary in the event of the person’s death.
  • Health Insurance: Provides coverage against costs associated with injury or illness. May include disability, injury, medical device/hospital coverage and related health risks.
  • Property & Casualty Insurance: Property insurance covers risks associated with properties including fire, theft and damage. Casualty insurance covers against accidents or incidents affecting property (e.g. motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and personal property).
  • Commercial & Industrial Insurance: Covers a number of areas specific to organizations and industries, such as property damage, theft and business interruption, as well as emerging risks associated with cyber security, the sharing economy, autonomous vehicles, and climatic change.  Underwriters in Commercial & Industrial tend to specialize in an industry sector.

WHAT IT TAKES TO SUCCEED

Key Job Accountabilities

Insurance Underwriters generally:

Review and evaluate applications for insurance:

  • Evaluate the risks in an application using advanced computer programs to determine risk levels, including probabilities and financial impacts.

Determine or recommend terms and conditions of insurance contracts:

  • Identify the type of insurance coverage available for the risk in the application.
  • Communicate the terms and conditions of the coverage to insurance brokers and/or clients.

Develop and maintain a professional network with insurance brokers and industry experts:

  • Provide underwriting advice and answer inquiries from insurance brokers and/or customers and colleagues.
  • Foster relationships with insurance brokers, where applicable, to enable information flow and problem-solving on applications.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

Must-haves:

  • Excellent mathematical and quantitative analysis skills
  • Strong analytic, judgment and decision-making skills to determine validity of policy application
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) – programming and design, including proficiency in various computer software packages (e.g. FormsPlus, VUE Wrap-up Management, SQL Database technology)
  • Financial services business functions and operations with knowledge of specific business lines related to their segment (e.g. life, auto, home)
  • Customer focus with a proven ability to consistently deliver high-quality service, working collaboratively with customers, insurance brokers and agents
  • Demonstrated application of high ethical standards

 Nice-to-haves:

  • Experience in claims case management
  • Experience in an industry sector related to an insurance segment (e.g. healthcare, construction, transportation)

Education & Credentials

Entry-level positions typically require:

  • College diploma or
  • Undergraduate university degree

In the fields of:

  • Business Administration
  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Law

Employers may also require candidates to possess one or more of the following designations:


WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU

Career Pathways

There are a number of pathways open to Insurance Underwriters through:

  • Increased Seniority: If you wish to pursue managerial or executive roles, many organizations have a variety of leadership roles in U

  • Deeper Specialization: If you wish to become a technical expert, there are opportunities in more complex Underwriting roles such as reinsurance, risk management, specialized industries or actuarial science.

Future Trends & Impacts

There are several external factors and environmental trends that can influence the demand and qualifications for this role:

  • Natural Disasters: Need for property and casualty insurance
  • Life Insurance: Growth in popularity of annuities
  • Regulations: Changes in regulations such as Ontario’s Auto Insurance Reform
  • Accreditation: Licensing requirements for underwriting practitioners
  • Increased Automation: May reduce requirements for non-specialized roles


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