The position of underwriter trainee is an entry-level job at an insurance company. An underwriter trainee learns how to examine risk and determine whether it is acceptable to the insurance company. He or she also learns how to price the risk to the client if the risk is deemed acceptable. An underwriter trainee is also taught how to work with brokers, clients and other departments within the insurance company.
Normally, an underwriter trainee is expected to be licensed in the particular field in which he or she specializes. There are two major fields. The first is property and casualty, and the second is life and health. To become licensed, an underwriter normally completes a comprehensive course of study and then must pass an exam administered by a governing body.
An underwriter trainee spends much of his or her time completing coursework and learning the particular underwriting rules and guidelines of the insurance company. Most trainees spend at least one year, and often two, in a training program before they are considered full-fledged underwriters. The underwriter trainee might be allowed to study and take a licensing exam while they are employed, though some companies expect the trainee to be licensed before they are hired.
The underwriter trainee will spend much of his or her time learning about the specific market in which the insurance company specializes. There are many factors that determine which risks insurance companies are willing to insure, and the trainee must learn how to evaluate those factors and make a judgment about whether the risk is a good fit for the company. The trainee also will be expected to learn how to negotiate pricing with brokers and clients.
In addition, underwriters are often responsible for ensuring compliance with provisions of the insurance contract. The trainee will learn to schedule loss-control surveys and premium audits. He or she will have to make judgment calls about which, if any, safety protocols or loss-control recommendations are required to be implemented.
Underwriter trainees need to be well-versed in technology. Many of the tools they use to evaluate a risk are software based. Underwriters need to be proficient in word processor programs, spreadsheets and presentation software. They also need to know how to communicate effectively via email, phone systems and traditional written correspondence.
Underwriters also are required to be very detail oriented. They rely heavily on information included in applications and questionnaires to evaluate a risk. They also must diligently follow up with brokers and clients to make sure that all of the information necessary to evaluate a risk is known.