How Do You Become an Underwriter?

If you are considering a career in the world of insurance and loans, being an underwriter may be an option you are seriously looking into.

What is underwriting?

For clarity’s sake, an underwriter is responsible for the process of underwriting. Underwriting takes place when financial lenders are reviewing an application in order to make a final decision on whether the applicant is suitable. This they are, the underwriter will approve the loan.


An underwriter could be an individual or team of people who carry out the process. These people make their decisions based on a series of checks, behaviour and statistical analysis in order to approve those customers which are best suited to their product model and who they believe are most likely to meet the requirements for repayments.

Each individual lender will have their own criteria that they work from, so when you get a job as an underwriter you will be tasked with learning this exact criterion in order to conduct your work efficiently. The skill is being able to assess risk so that the customer can repay on time and will not fall into arrears, hence you will regularly come across short term loans for bad credit and have to make calculated decisions.

Furthermore, the underwriting procedure involves a mixture of manual and automatic processes. This for the sake of time; the lender can receive several transactions per day and whittle it down to their most promising applicants. The acceptance process for a loan is usually referred to as a funnel where the most applications come in at the beginning and all the different checks narrow it down until the small end of the funnel where only a minority and strongest are successfully accepted.

What do I need to do to become an insurance underwriter?

In order to be successful in your role as an underwriter, you need to be a confident communicator and have great negotiation skills. In addition, a large part of the role is being able to analyse complex information – so you will need to be comfortable with this.

Many underwriters come in the role by working their way up from a more a junior position or from a graduate training programme in underwriting or something similar.


It is common for insurance or lending companies to employ underwriting assistant to work in the call centres on site. These people will be tasked with dealing with the immediate quotations and the straightforward insurance policies. If you are wanting to get into underwriting, this may be a great way to get started and work your way up. Companies will set their own entry requirements accordingly but it is usually required that you have a GCSE in both English and Maths, and in some cases A levels of any description.

Ideal Skills

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Working in a team
  • Attention to detail
  • Organisation

See also our guide on underwriting for loans companies.

Daniel is a loans expert based in London and has been working in the payday loans industry since 2010.