Insurance underwriter

Financial services

Career outlook for insurance underwriter

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would calculate how much to charge people and companies for insurance so they are properly protected from losses and your company can make a profit.

You’d need to analyse complex information and be confident in working with statistics.

You could specialise in

  • Life assurance - covering illness, injury and death
  • General insurance - covering household, travel or motor
  • Commercial insurance - covering companies
  • Reinsurance - where part of the risk is placed with another company.

So, if your customer’s possessions were damaged or they had an accident then, depending on the terms of the insurance policy, your company would need to pay to fix the problem or reimburse them for their losses.

You’d be responsible for deciding whether to accept an insurance application, and what the terms, conditions and cost of the insurance policy would be.

You would:

  • Study insurance proposals
  • Gather background information, such as medical histories
  • Analyse statistics from actuaries and other sources
  • Get specialist risk assessments from experts, like surveyors or doctors
  • Assess risk (the likelihood of an insurance payout)
  • Calculate the price of insurance premiums
  • Judge whether some of the risk should be shared with another insurer (known as 'reinsurance')
  • Prepare quotes and negotiating terms with brokers or business clients
  • Decide whether any special conditions should apply to policies
  • Write policy wording
  • Maintain accurate and detailed records

You would work closely with actuaries who are experts in calculating risk. You would also work alongside claims and risk managers, brokers and other insurance professionals.

Working conditions


In a full-time job as an insurance underwriter, you would work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to work evenings and weekends during busy periods. Part-time hours and job share opportunities are sometimes available.


You would be mainly office-based.


You may travel to attend meetings with insurance brokers or business clients.

UK employment status





Self employed


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Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Working with technology
  • Written communication
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Making decisions
  • Negotiating
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


Some employers recruit those with suitable Nationals and Highers (SCQF Level 5-6) as insurance underwriter trainees: qualifications at SCQF levels 5 to 6, a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8), or a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) or relevant work-based qualifications such as Modern Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services (SVQ Level 2/3). 

Though you can apply to this job with any HND/C and degree, qualifications with a numerate, finance, business, or economics focus may be of particular value.

Some employers may offer an Underwriting Apprenticeship Programme aimed at well-qualified school and college leavers. Applicants must have a group of four or five Highers; grades should be equivalent to a minimum of 300 UCAS tariff points.

English and Maths must be held at least at Standard grade or National 5.  

Larger insurance companies increasingly offer graduate training programmes most employers requiring a degree at 2:1 or above for entry. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses and employers)
  • Maths (required by most courses and employers)
  • Accounting
  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Statistics
  • ICT subjects
  • Humanities subjects

You will also need

Once in a job you will need to gain Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) qualifications working towards CII Associate status.

Some employers may require you complete a relevant Modern Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services (SCQF level 5/6) or Technical Modern Apprenticeship in Insurance (SVQ level 4).

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show customer service skills and understanding/experience of finance such as Skills for Work Financial Services (SCQF level 5).