Insurance underwriters analyse risk in insurance proposals, determine policy terms and calculate premiums on the basis of careful analysis of previous records, objective statistics, and potential risks the client may face. They decide if applications for insurance cover (risks) should be accepted and if so, what the terms of that acceptance are. They assess a risk according to the likelihood of a claim being made by weighing up a number of factors and asking for detailed information from prospective clients (policyholders). The aim is to minimise losses for their company and help to make a profit.
Most underwriters specialise in one type of insurance. The main types of insurance include:
- General insurance: covers household, pet, motor, travel
- Life insurance/assurance: covers illness, injury, death
- Commercial insurance: covers companies
- Re-insurance: part of the risk is placed with another insurer
Life and health insurance underwriters collect information about clients' past and present living conditions to determine the type of policies they need. An underwriter will carefully examine a client's medical records, investigate his or her working environment, and consider the needs of his or her immediate family. Statistics about a person's age, health status, and family history are compared with those of other policyholders. The underwriter calculates an appropriate policy amount and premium that must be paid by the client.
In property and casualty insurance companies, underwriters assess the risks of property damage due to natural disasters, fires, and thefts. When insuring a home or business, an underwriter considers the type, location, and condition of the establishment. He or she might investigate safety records and order an inspection before creating a policy. The underwriter must make careful decisions regarding the worth of a business or home and the potential amount the insurance company may be compelled to pay in the event of an accident.
Underwriters in the automobile insurance industry take several precautions before insuring a driver. An underwriter must perform exhaustive background checks on an individual to ensure that past driving records are accurate and not marred by several accidents and citations. He or she considers the type of car to be insured, the area in which it will primarily be driven, and the experience level of the driver. The underwriter compares data collected about the driver and vehicle with statistics for similar drivers, and creates a new policy accordingly.
This area of work is open to graduates of all disciplines, however a degree in the following subject areas may help to gain a place on a graduate training scheme:
- Accounting or Finance
- Business or Management
- Financial Services
More information: SECOND YEAR INTERNSHIPS IN INSURANCE
More information: GRADUATE SCHEMES IN INSURANCE