National Avg. Salary$39,210 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate8.7% More Growth Data →
Recommended DegreeBachelor's Programs & Degrees →
- Don't Take Work Home
- Office Work Environment
- Working With Numbers
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Underwriters are individuals who evaluate the amount of risk embedded in a transaction. They commonly evaluate the risk of selling an insurance plan to an individual or group, or the risk of distributing mortgage or other loan funds. They work to help companies make wise investments.
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in underwriter roles:
- Review all paperwork related to loans or insurance applications to ensure information collected is complete and adheres to all legal regulations
- Review loan and insurance applications for any discrepancies or red flags
- Determine the amount of risk a company would assume by granting a loan or issuing coverage
- Make final determinations on whether or not a loan or insurance coverage should be issued
- Determine appropriate premiums or interest rates to lower the risk involved in the transaction
A Day in the Life
Underwriters are analysts who serve as the final line of defense against a company completing a transaction that represents high risk for loss of funds. Underwriters commonly work in the insurance and lending industries. They provide final approvals on loan and insurance coverage applications. When an application is received, the underwriter reviews all materials, ensures all required documentation has been submitted, and analyzes all paperwork for red flags or other issues that could represent risk.
In the lending industry, underwriters give final approval for mortgages, lines of credit, and other types of loans. Though loan applicants never see or work with underwriters, the underwriter is the most important person in the loan process because he/she has final say on whether or not a loan application is approved. The underwriter reviews the paperwork and determines the borrower’s ability to repay the loan, and his/her likelihood of repaying. To do this, the underwriter looks at income and credit histories.
In insurance, the underwriter reviews individual and group coverage applications for many different lines of coverage, including health, life, supplementary, and property insurance. When working in insurance, the underwriter’s responsibility is to determine appropriate policy premiums to cover the amount of risk an applicant represents. For example, an underwriter may recommend high premiums for auto insurance for an individual with a poor driving record, or he/she may deny coverage issuance.
Typical Work Schedule
Most underwriters work full-time schedules during normal business hours. Overtime may be required on occasion when needed to compete work during busy periods, but is not common.
- Loan underwriters process applications for mortgages, lines of credit, and other loans, evaluating the risk that borrowers represent for defaulting on the loan.
- Insurance underwriters determine whether or not coverage should be issued for health, life, and property insurance, and recommend premium payments that combat that risk.
- IPO underwriters help companies determine whether or not they should go public on the stock exchange. They evaluate interest in stock purchases to make recommendations.
Underwriters are most commonly hired to work for insurance companies, banks and creditors, and investment firms.
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Underwriter Salary Data
We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Underwriter salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Underwriter's can make an average annual salary of $39,210, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $30,480 or $15 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#540 Nationally for All Careers
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How To Become
In some cases, it’s possible for aspiring underwriters to work their way into the role with only a high school diploma. Not all businesses require underwriters to have a degree, and professional experience in the industry can be a sufficient background for securing employment as an underwriter. Without a degree, the process can take many years. You’ll need to start off at a lender or insurance company in an entry-level position and work your way up the ladder, gaining experience and earning promotions.
To skip some of the upfront work, or to qualify for positions for more prestigious companies or investment firms, you’ll need to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Degrees in a math-focused major, such as finance, accounting, business, or economics, are preferred. A bachelor’s degree may allow you to qualify for open underwriter roles directly after graduation, and will also allow you to qualify for promotions into senior underwriter and underwriting manager roles later in your career.
In addition to the required education, many underwriters also pursue professional certifications to become more competitive when applying for open roles. Professional certifications are offered through organizations like The Institutes, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, and The American College of Financial Services. These programs may require candidates to have earned professional underwriting experience before admission, and usually require both coursework and passing an exam before certification is awarded.
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It’s possible to become an underwriter with only a high school diploma, but doing so requires many years of professional experience in the insurance or lending industries.
Recommended Min. Degree
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Underwriter. a Bachelor's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Underwriter
- 0.6% Doctorate
- 2.5% Masters
- 22.9% Bachelors
- 12.9% Associates
- 32.8% College
- 27% High School
- 1.4% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs213,800
2024 Est. Jobs232,300
Job Growth Rate8.7%
Est. New Jobs18,500
How does Underwriter job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 18,500 jobs for a total of 232,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 8.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#258 Nationally for All Careers
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