Underwriters in the United States pull down an average of $55K annually. The final incomes of Underwriters generally vary between $37K and $86K; higher pay grades include potential for bonuses, profit sharing, and commissions as high as $14K, $6K, and $15K, respectively. Residence is the main element affecting pay for this group — the specific employer and tenure are driving factors as well. Women Underwriters who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a large number earn dental coverage. Most Underwriters report high levels of job satisfaction. This report is based on responses to the PayScale salary survey.
Job Description for Underwriter
Underwriters work primarily in banks which handle loans and mortgages and are responsible for analyzing the risks of a loan based on the data in the application. They also oversee other information in the loan application to ensure it is accurate.Read More...
Loans are the primary source of income for a bank, and ensuring the quality of loans is of the utmost importance. Underwriters must follow all regulations, from the guidelines of the company and external underwriter to federal regulations for the approval process. They must have strong communication skills to work well with applicants, as well as management skills to ensure that loans are of high quality and helpful for both sides. The ability to learn quickly is highly beneficial, as well, as technology is constantly changing.
Underwriters work primarily inside offices for eight-hour shifts from the bank's opening to closing. Specific training is necessary to follow federal regulations and understand all credit and loan files, and most companies require this training before applying or will offer it on-the-job. Knowledge of FNMA and FHMLC programs and guidelines is also required for the position.
- Manage underwriting territory and select new business based on analysis of their profitability.
- Analyze new and renewal business, data, claim history, loss experience, and outcome of liability decisions.
- Underwrite, submit, approve or pend loans, and present decisions to management.
- Monitor existing policies for compliance with company guidelines.
Common Career Paths for Underwriter
At the upper end, Underwriters who move into a Manager of Underwriting role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Managers of Underwriting is a much higher $88K per year. A Senior Underwriter or a Mortgage Loan Underwriter is a typical transition from an Underwriter role.
Insurance Underwriter Job Listings
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Popular Employer Salaries for Underwriter
Many Underwriters can be found at The Travelers Companies, Inc., The Chubb Corporation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMCC), State Farm Insurance Company, and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), firms that are at the top of the field. For Underwriters, comfortable salaries can be found at The Travelers Companies, Inc.; in fact, average earnings are around $72K, the highest in the area, though the difference in the company's lowest and highest employee paychecks ($51K versus $104K) is great. The Chubb Corporation, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, and Markel Corporation are a few other companies that offer generous salaries, with Underwriters earning around $70K, $70K, or $69K at each firm, respectively.
Pay for Underwriters is the lowest at State Farm Insurance Company, which has a median salary of $43K. In addition, there's little room to grow there, with salaries maxing out at $64K. Others at the bottom of the scale for this job include Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) at $47K, and Cigna Corporation where $50K is the norm, but it is worth noting that some Underwriters there earn up to $63K.
Popular Skills for Underwriter
Survey results imply that Underwriters deploy a deep pool of skills on the job. Most notably, skills in Commercial Loans, Underwriting, Mortgage Loans, and Commercial are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 11 percent and 18 percent. At the other end of the pay range are skills like Customer Service, Data Analysis, and Microsoft Excel. Most people familiar with Insurance also know Data Analysis.
Pay by Experience Level for Underwriter
Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
For Underwriters, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Respondents with less than five years' experience take home $51K on average. In contrast, those who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably higher average of $62K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $65K in this role. Underwriters who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $68K.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 39 percent, Underwriters in San Francisco receive some of the highest pay in the country. Underwriters can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like New York (+26 percent), Los Angeles (+24 percent), Chicago (+21 percent), and Minneapolis (+10 percent). In Omaha, salaries are 19 percent below the national average and represent the lowest-paying market. Richmond and Denver are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 7 percent lower and 1 percent lower, respectively.