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What does an Underwriting Assistant do?

By Licia Morrow
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An underwriting assistant processes paperwork, performs clerical duties, and assists business individuals or teams responsible for preparing documents. These documents are usually of a binding and legal nature, such as insurance policies or mortgage loans. An underwriting assistant usually reports to an underwriter, but supervisory titles can vary from industry to industry. Depending upon the size of the organization in which he works, an assistant may be responsible for duties ranging from customer service to clerical tasks to document control.

Handling printed copies and being able to organize them is a major task of the underwriting assisting job. An underwriting associate will keep documentation updated, including client communications, records tracking, and specification changes. He will also control and coordinate the filing of documentation as it relates to policies and other legal records. The underwriting assistant will follow up with customers to ensure accurate records and will likely field general questions about written and electronic forms, procedures, and practices. If the organization has clients in distant locations, an underwriting assistant will likely travel with the team to help with the compiling and storing of paperwork and computerized documents.

With the advancement of technology, many parts of this job will be computerized. This assistant will conduct Internet research, run reports detailing sales, account management, and operations information, and file documentation with technology such as a computer or handheld device. He may utilize a computer tracking system for maintaining control of the organization's documentation, and in some cases, may direct training of others in how to utilize this computer system.

Depending upon the industry in which he works, the underwriting assistant may be responsible for additional tasks and may need previous experience to reach goals. He may be in charge of reviewing, understanding, and communicating current policies and laws to others. Information related to the business practices of his company will likely be recorded, stored, and forwarded by the underwriting assistant. He may use this information to help him prepare documentation for government agencies, internal company departments, and outside entities.

A typical day for this type of assistant may involve traveling to customer sites, working with a computer, and managing paperwork. He will likely spend much of the day filling out forms, filing, and speaking to others in meetings or on the phone. Much of the work relating to documentation can be solitary; however, some job positions in this career path may involve much time spent working in groups.

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Discussion Comments
By myharley — On Oct 10, 2011

I was employed at a bank as an underwriting assistant for several months before being promoted. I found out that I enjoyed this type of work and when I read what a mortgage underwriter job description was, thought I would apply for the job.

Since I had a college education and had already been working in the field, I was hired on as an underwriter. Being an assistant before this really gave me a good idea of the overall process.

I think this was beneficial for me once I became an underwriter. There is nothing quite like experience to teach you important lessons, and I learned many of these as an assistant, that helped me be a confident underwriter.

By John57 — On Oct 10, 2011

Several years ago I worked in an insurance underwriting job as a medical underwriter. This was for a major insurance company for long term health care coverage.

As underwriters, we had underwriting assistants who made our job much easier and more efficient. Our assistants would make sure each of the files were current and up to date with all the correct paperwork before they made it to our desk.

If the application was incomplete or there weren't enough medical records to make a decision, they would make sure all of this was taken care of for us.

Once the file got to me as an underwriter, all I had to do was review the application and medical records and make a decision according to the current standards and guidelines.

As underwriters, we could have done all this paperwork ourselves, but our time was more productive when we had reliable underwriting assistants.

By everetra — On Oct 09, 2011

@hamje32 - While that may be, I actually think computers have automated the jobs of the underwriters. Computers are better able to raise red flags when it comes to policy changes and perhaps items in an individual's background that would make them an undue risk for an insurance company.

I think automation will reduce the job prospects for underwriting assistants in the long run.

By hamje32 — On Oct 09, 2011

@Sinbad - If you ever got a good deal on an insurance policy or a mortgage loan, you can thank the underwriting assistant. It’s my understanding that the underwriting assistant does the real work of screening prospective applicants.

The underwriter will make the final decision, of course, but the assistant will provide information that helps the underwriter make that determination.

So in the case of insurance, the determination of what your premium will be, how much you will be covered for, and even if you qualify will be based on the information provided by the assistant.

I agree that if you were going into this field, you would need to pay close attention to details; a lot rides on your recommendation. If you miss something important, you may wind up with a customer who defaults on a loan.

Personally, I think some legal or finance background would give you an edge in this field.

By amysamp — On Oct 08, 2011

@Sinbad - I agree with you, it would be stressful handling all of the details, but I may just think that because I solidly prefer to be an ideas or communications person as I have never been too great with details. My husband; however, is looking for a job and I thought this one would suit him well.

What I found was that these salaries really have quite the range from mid thirties a year to a six-figure salary. So what it looked like from the descriptions of the different underwriting assistant jobs was that the more general job description the more you were apt to fall in the thirty something thousand a year range.

This salary is not bad by any means but it is lower than the United States' national salary average.

By Sinbad — On Oct 08, 2011

Although this job does not seem to entail much creative thinking in coming up with new and inventive ideas; it seems to entail much responsibility in the opposite realm of details.

This person has to be on top of those details, which I think may be tougher to do when you are handling someone else's work, as I am sure mistakes are easier to catch when you are intimately familiar with the work.

Being that this person holds this much responsibility with seemingly important details it makes me wonder how much a underwriting assistant makes a year...

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