17 Pros and Cons of Being an Insurance Underwriter

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When we need insurance, our initial contact is usually with an insurance agent.

They take certain information and then pass it along to the insurance underwriter.

An underwriter is in charge of reviewing the risks of insurance applications.

They collect data about the prospective client like credit reports, medical records, age, etc. to assess whether they should be approved.

The underwriter will also determine the best coverage options and monthly premiums.

In order to work as an insurance underwriter, one must have a bachelor’s degree in finance, business, or related area.

Candidates should have strong skills in math, computer programs, communication, logic, observation, and logic.

Most underwriters work at insurance agencies that could be located in small towns, large cities, or rural areas.

These professionals may also work in banks, investment firms, and other businesses that need to assess risk for insurance purposes.

The most common areas the underwriters work in are health, life, property, and mortgage insurance.

If you are thinking about a career as an insurance underwriter, read on for a list of the pros and cons of the profession.

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Pros

1. Set Work Schedule

Insurance underwriters typically work 8-hour days, with some flexibility as to the time frame (8-4, 9-5, etc).

They don’t usually work weekends, and have all the major holidays off.

The schedule does not change as insurance companies are usually open during business hours.

It’s definitely a nice perk to know your schedule will not change and you don’t have to worry about juggling your other responsibilities to suit your job.

2. Good Work-Life Balance

Due in part to the set hours, the insurance underwriter position offers a good work-life balance.

You can spend some time with family before leaving for work, take the kids to school, and be home to have dinner with everyone.

The weekends will be work free and all about relaxing.

Holidays can be spent enjoying the day, and not working.

Most insurance companies offer good benefits packages that include paid time off, vacation time, sick time, and parental leave.

3. Autonomy/Independence

Working as an insurance underwriter is great if you like solitude and the ability to work independently.

Most underwriters work in their own office and have little in-person contact in their daily activities.

They spend most of their time using computer programs, sending emails, and making phone calls to prospective customers. 

This is a definite pro for introverts and people that like to work on their own.

4. Good Money

Insurance underwriters make an average of $76,361 per year.

So, if you’re looking for financial security, this is a great job.

There is the possibility of earning even more if you further your education and earn a master’s degree or certification in other areas.

Underwriters also have the opportunity to earn commission and bonuses.

5. Work Remotely

Many insurance underwriters have the option of working from home or doing a hybrid schedule (half remote, half in-person).

This is always a nice perk of any job. It can be a stress reliever to be able to stay in your pajamas, not have a long commute (or any commute), be able to not worry about child care if someone is sick, and run an errand if need be.

You also save on gas, and mass transit, and help out the planet all at the same time.

6. Low Stress

For the most part, working as an insurance underwriter comes with very little stress.

There are no surprises, no emergencies, and very little conflict.

Co-workers and superiors are normally cordial and helpful, while not infringing on your work.

You know exactly what you’ll be doing each day, work at your own pace, and help from colleagues is also on hand should the need arise.

7. Comfortable Work Environment

Whether you are working in the office or from home, you will most likely be in a comfortable place with good lighting, ventilation, and a positive atmosphere.

Most underwriters have their own offices that they are able to decorate to their specifications. 

Employees at insurance normally have a lounge where they can take their breaks and eat lunch.

Many offices also offer employees complimentary coffee and snacks.

8. Great Benefits 

Insurance companies usually provide their employees with outstanding benefits. 

After all, they are insurance companies.

They provide health, dental, and vision insurance, as well as disability coverage, 401K matching, and generous paid time off.

9. Discounts On Insurance

As you might think, underwriters do get discounts on insurance premiums.

The amount differs depending on the company but can range from 15% to 50%.

This is especially helpful when you are in the market for a home.

A discount can help you afford mortgage and property insurance.

Cons

1. Repetitive

Some people in the underwriting profession say that the tasks involved in the job are not varied enough.

It’s an endless stream of gathering information, analyzing data, and crunching numbers.

This lack of variety can cause underwriters to become complacent and lose interest in the job altogether.

2. Need A College Degree

The need for a college degree can steer many people away from the profession.

A college degree can be expensive and take years to obtain.

The type of degree needed (finance) can involve difficult courses of study and be difficult to complete.

3. No Social Interaction

While some people enjoy working independently, others do not find the solitude of the profession enjoyable.

If you enjoy working with a team, or interacting with people throughout the day, being an underwriter may not be for you.

4. Hard To Stay Fit

One of the big drawbacks of being an insurance underwriter is the lack of physical activity.

Most of the day is spent sitting at a desk, working at a computer, or talking on the phone.

There’s little opportunity to get up and move around.

Sitting at a desk for 8 hours each day can lead to weight gain, muscle aches, and a general feeling of lethargy.

It’s important to stretch and move around as much as possible so you don’t experience these common side effects of a desk job.

If being active throughout the day is a vital work requirement, you may not be happy in this profession.

5. Mentally Demanding

Some underwriters say that although the job is not physically strenuous, it is mentally demanding.

Underwriters must constantly use their brains to analyze data and formulate numbers for premiums.

They must be ready to communicate and answer client questions with no preparation.

An underwriter must constantly be thinking, planning, and strategizing.

This can be just as exhausting as running around for 8 hours.

6. Not Very Impactful On Society/Unfulfilling 

Although it’s a well-paying job, insurance underwriters don’t have a large impact on the lives of people, or communities at large.

Therefore, it might not give someone the personal fulfillment they are looking for in a career.

People looking to change the world for the better may not be happy with this career.

7. May Get Boring/Burnout

Doing the same tasks day in and day out could lead to extreme boredom.

Being isolated from others can also take its toll. 

Even though the job itself is not particularly stressful, boredom and mundane days can, in itself, cause stress and lead to burnout on the job.

8. Having To Reject People

Unfortunately, part of the job is having to reject people’s applications before they meet the requirements set by the company.

It’s never a good feeling having to say no to people.

It can make you feel defeated and like you’re not doing your job properly.

Furthermore, customers tend to get upset when they are rejected.

Some may become hostile towards you and lash out.

It’s important to remember not to take things personally, and remember that you did what you could to help. 

17 Pros and Cons of Being an Insurance Underwriter – Summary Table

ProsCons
1. Set Work Shedule1. Repetitive
2. Good Work-Life Balance2. Need A College Degree
3. Autonomy/Independence3. No Social Interaction
4. Good Money4. Hard To Stay Fit
5. Work Remotely5. Mentally Demanding
6. Low Stress6. Not Very Impactful On Society/Unfulfilling
7. Comfortable Work Environment7. May Get Boring/Burnout
8. Great Benefits8. Having To Reject People
9. Discounts On Insurance

Should You Become An Insurance Underwriter?

Insurance underwriters make very good money, have workplace autonomy, and have comfortable working conditions.

They get great benefits and are able to enjoy a lot of family time.

If these attributes are important to you, then you might be a good fit in the profession.

Keep in mind, that you do need a degree, you often work alone, and the job is not the most exciting of careers.

You also spend much of your time behind a desk.

But if none of that bothers you, being an insurance underwriter could be right for you.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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