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What does a Commercial Underwriter do?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A commercial underwriter is a professional in an organization who makes decisions about property and policy risks. The underwriter is responsible for ensuring that a company makes smart financial decisions that will contribute to a higher quality of business. This involves evaluating business risks and decisions that could have a large impact on the company as a whole. It is also the duty of a commercial underwriter to investigate relationships that the business makes with other businesses or individuals. These relationships can have long-term positive or negative effects on the company, so their evaluation at the outset by an experienced professional is crucial.

Commercial underwriters also look at liability policies. Potential losses and gains must be weighed carefully; as this can easily turn into a betting game, the underwriter should rely on the help of data that charts policy trends over the last several years. Using these statistics, current knowledge of the company and the training he or she has received, the commercial underwriter should come to a solid, well-researched decision regarding the policies of the company and the impacts these policies will have on its future. Typical commercial underwriter jobs involve inspecting physical conditions of the business’s property, asking about inspection policies and researching the benefits and drawbacks of these, assisting with real estate and equity structures, analyzing rent and income statements, preparing loan submission packages, aligning commercial risks with business practices and standards, finalizing policy contracts and forms and interpreting coverage forms.

A commercial insurance underwriter works with claims in the wake of a financial or natural disaster. This type of underwriter works with insurance companies to work out premiums based on the risk and property involved in the disaster. He or she draws up all the paperwork, policy outlines and insurance applications. A commercial insurance underwriter ensures that an insurance applicant meets the requirements as set by the company.

A commercial underwriter should obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration, finance or accounting. Commercial underwriting involves the ability to solve complex problems easily and make quick decisions. The ability to communicate efficiently both orally and in written form is also critical. A commercial underwriter may work independently on some projects and join forces with a larger group of colleagues on other tasks, so he or she should feel comfortable working alone and with a team. Organizational and motivational skills are also helpful, and statistics in this industry show that commercial underwriters who have strong computer skills are more likely to land jobs in this field.

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Discussion Comments
By golf07 — On Apr 21, 2012

If someone is interested in commercial mortgage underwriting do they have the same training as a residential mortgage underwriter?

It seems like many of the policies would be the same, but you would be dealing with much higher dollar amounts.

Buying a single dwelling home compared to a commercial business would be more expensive. There would also be zoning laws and city regulations that would have to be followed.

My daughter works as a residential mortgage underwriter, but has been interested in getting involved in the commercial side of things.

She is hoping with her years of experience in underwriting, it would be a smooth transition to become a commercial underwriter.

By bagley79 — On Apr 21, 2012

My son works in commercial real estate and working with a commercial loan underwriter is part of his job.

When they are in the process of buying a new property, they often work with the commercial underwriter. They are able to give them information that helps them determine what their risks are and how much they can afford.

Sometimes an underwriter receives negative feedback from agents in the company when they don't agree. Both of them feel like they are doing their job, but there are many times when they don't see eye to eye.

By Mykol — On Apr 20, 2012

When I think about many of the natural disasters that happen all across the country, I imagine this keeps commercial underwriters very busy.

Just in the last few weeks we have had several counties in our state declared disaster areas because of weather related damages.

This not only affects homes, but many places of business as well. There was one business a few miles from us who had about 20 buildings on their property and every one of them was damaged or destroyed.

A commercial underwriter would be responsible for determining how much would be covered in an event like this. I can see how strong computer and math skills would be helpful in this career.

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