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Without good underwriters, insurance doesn’t work.

Underwriters are the ones who actually create (or underwrite) insurance policies. When you apply for insurance, an underwriter decides what should be covered and how much to charge for it. Basically, their job is one big judgment call. A good underwriter has the financial and risk know-how and sharp attention to detail to create coverage that satisfies the company and the client.

But underwriters very rarely interact with clients directly. Once they assess the risk and write the coverage, underwriters work behind the scenes while agents or brokers handle the back and forth with clients. Instead, underwriters use complex algorithms and risk management techniques to underwrite the most effective coverage.

As a result, most underwriters work 40-hour weeks mostly during standard business hours. Because their job is so foundational to how insurance works, underwriters exist in every corner of the industry, including life, health, mortgage and property-casualty insurance.

Undergraduate degree required? No, but having a degree certainly helps. A degree in finance, business, economics or mathematics is the most beneficial.

Advanced degree required? No.

Additional requirements? Not at first, but certifications can help advance your career — and salary. The most common certifications are the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU®), Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU™), Associate in Personal Insurance (API™), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).

Typical career path: New underwriters start out writing basic policies under the supervision of experienced underwriters. As underwriters gain experience and additional underwriting chops through acquiring certifications, they start taking on more types of policies and increasingly complicated policies and gaining greater accountability.

Salary range:

  • Entry level: $50,552
  • Senior level: $76,792
  • Median: $65,040

Entry-level job titles:

  • Underwriter
  • Underwriting Assistant
  • Underwriting Specialist
  • Case Administrator