Job descriptions and industry overviews

Insurance underwriter: job description

21 Jun 2023, 15:38

Insurance underwriters make decisions about insurance policies using statistical and commercial information.

Insurance underwriter at a desk.

What does an insurance underwriter do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Underwriters are responsible for deciding whether or not to accept applications for insurance cover. They assess the likelihood of people and organisations making claims against their insurance policies using data, including statistics, actuarial data, customer details and information about the insurance company itself.

Typical duties include:

  • examining insurance proposals
  • working with other professionals to collect background information
  • analysing statistical data using specialist computer packages to assess risks (events that could lead to an insurance claim)
  • making decisions about whether and how a person or organisation can be insured.
  • writing quotes and negotiating the terms with brokers and clients.
  • determining premiums, making sure that they are competitive for both customers and the insurance company
  • deciding the wording of policies to reduce the likelihood of claims being made
  • preparing insurance policy terms and conditions
  • liaising with insurance brokers and customers
  • maintaining customer records.

Underwriters may work in many areas but the work generally falls into the categories of life assurance, commercial insurance, general insurance and reinsurance.

Graduate salaries

The average salary for an underwriter trainee is £22,882, according to It will vary depending on location. Earnings are highest in London, where costs of living will also be higher. Many early-career underwriter roles in London are graduate schemes run by large insurance companies that also offer bonuses and the opportunity to buy shares.

Typical employers of insurance underwriters

Typical employers include:

  • large insurance companies that focus on general insurance cover
  • specialist insurance companies, such as those offering insurance on fine art or classic cars
  • reinsurance companies
  • brokers
  • banks.

Vacancies are advertised on targetjobs and by careers services. You can also find jobs on specialist job sites such as As you progress in your career, you will find more experienced roles advertised by specialist recruitment agencies.

Qualifications and training required

There are routes into an insurance underwriting career for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates from any degree discipline can become underwriters, although some employers prefer a qualification in accounting, finance, economics, law, management or business studies. Specialist medical knowledge or a scientific, technical or engineering degree may be necessary for some vacancies, particularly those within life assurance. Relevant experience gained via vacation work and placements will help your application.

School leavers can enter the profession via an apprenticeship or by starting in an assistant role within an underwriting team and working their way up.

Training is normally provided once you are in post, and is likely to lead to professional qualifications with the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Key skills for insurance underwriters

  • Analytical skills
  • Excellent maths and statistics skills
  • The ability to work with customers from a range of backgrounds
  • Attention to detail
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Negotiation and interpersonal skills.

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