Employers prefer to hire candidates who have a bachelor’s degree. However, insurance-related work experience and strong computer skills may be enough. Certification is necessary for advancement to senior underwriter and underwriter manager positions. Courses in business, finance, economics, and mathematics are particularly helpful.
Beginning underwriters usually work as trainees under the supervision of senior underwriters. Trainees work on basic applications and learn the most common risk factors. As they gain experience, they become responsible for more complex applications and work independently.
Underwriters must be able to evaluate information and solve complex problems. They must have the ability to consider the costs and benefits of various decisions and to choose the appropriate one. They must pay attention to detail, because each individual item on an insurance application can affect the coverage decision. They need good communication and interpersonal skills because much of their work involves dealing with other people, such as insurance agents. They must be comfortable working with computers and making mathematical calculations.