Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992

Alert

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit alberta.ca for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Updated

Insurance Underwriter

Insurance underwriters evaluate the risks involved in applications for insurance. On behalf of the insurance company, they decide whether to accept those risks. They may work for life insurance companies or general insurance companies.

Also Known As

Personal Lines Underwriter, Commercial Insurance Underwriter, Technical Underwriting Assistant, Underwriter, Underwriter Trainee

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Insurance Underwriters (1234) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Insurance Underwriters (B114) 
  • 2011 NOC: Insurance underwriters (1313) 
  • 2016 NOC: Insurance underwriters (1313) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Insurance Underwriters
2006 NOC : 1234

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

METHODICAL

Interest in co-ordinating information to review individual and group applications for automobile, fire, health, liability, life, property, marine, aircraft and other insurance, to ensure compliance with government regulations, andto adjust premiums, coverage or risk itself for acceptance of new and renewal applications

SOCIAL

Interest in speaking with clients, insurance agents, consultants and other company personnel to provide underwriting advice and answer inquiries

directive

Interest in approving the sale of insurance policies

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Apr 12, 2022

When individuals and organizations apply for insurance policies, insurance agents and brokers present the applications to underwriters who work for the insurance company. Insurance underwriters then:

  • Review the applications to determine whether the applicant fits the company’s risk parameters
  • Check details to ensure the premium charged is enough to offset the insurance company’s risk, and detect fraudulent requests for coverage
  • Discuss premiums and coverages with agents and brokers

Underwriters work within corporate policies, principles, and rules for taking acceptable risks. If they decide a risk is not acceptable, they may:

  • Adjust the premium or coverage to make the risk acceptable
  • Propose changes to the coverage or the deductible
  • Accept a portion of the risk, and transfer a portion of the risk to a reinsurance company (a company that insures insurance companies)
  • Decline the application for coverage

If the policy needs to be changed after it is in place, underwriters determine whether to accept the proposed changes. They also review the risk at renewal to ensure it remains acceptable. Depending on the company and product line, they may check policies issued by others. In this case, they try to ensure the policies follow guidelines, fit the risks being covered, and charge correct rates.

Insurance underwriters spend much of their time on the phone with, writing letters to, or exchanging emails with insurance agents and brokers, people in other departments of their company (such as claims and legal departments), and others.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 12, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Insurance underwriters most often work in an office setting but may travel within a specified territory. Because brokers often press for quick answers, an underwriter’s job can be stressful. Insurance companies use computers a lot to speed up decision making and reduce paper flow.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 12, 2022

Insurance underwriters need:

  • Analytical skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Attention to details
  • Math skills
  • A curious nature
  • An ability to make sound, objective decisions
  • Communication skills
  • Negotiating skills, for dealing with brokers

They should enjoy coordinating information and taking a methodical approach to their work. They should also like working with people and making decisions.

Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 12, 2022
  • Minimum Education Varies

Most insurance companies prefer to hire underwriting trainees with some post-secondary education. It takes most underwriters 2 to 5 years to become fully qualified. They do this by taking related courses and slowly taking on more responsibility. They must be able to analyze reports from other departments (such as claims or accounting departments). They also need to keep up to date with current affairs and changes that affect their work.

Before enrolling in an education program, prospective underwriters should discuss their training options with potential employers.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 12, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation. However, most general insurance companies encourage their underwriters to take a program of study offered by the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC). The program leads to the designation Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP). Courses are offered in class, virtually and through distance education through the IIC local chapter or at designated post-secondary schools. The IIC also offers the Advanced CIP and Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) designations.

Education and certification programs for life insurance underwriters are offered by LOMA and Advocis.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 12, 2022

Underwriters in the field of general insurance tend to work in regional offices of insurance companies, often in large cities. Life insurance underwriters most often work in company head offices.

With experience, underwriters begin assessing more complex risks such as commercial or farm properties or auto fleets. This includes quoting premiums on risks—that is, determining prices and conditions to offer for proposed policies.

After earning a designation as a Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP), a general insurance underwriter may move into more advanced areas. This can include more technical areas such as underwriting and management. Or they may move into other departments such as marketing.

Some underwriters become independent insurance agents. Others enter the fields of reinsurance or brokering. All insurance agents and independent adjusters must be licensed (to learn more, see the Insurance Adjuster and Insurance Agent / Broker occupational profiles).

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 1313: Insurance underwriters occupational group, 100.0% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 1313: Insurance underwriters occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 0 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 12, 2022

Insurance Underwriters are part of the larger 2016 National Occupational Classification 1313: Insurance Underwriters.

According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Insurance Underwriters occupational group earned on average from $31.96 to $51.61 an hour. The overall average was $39.75 an hour. To learn more, see the Insurance Underwriters wage profile.

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 12, 2022

Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada website: myadvocis.ca

Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) website: www.abcouncil.ab.ca

Canadian Securities Institute website: www.csi.ca

Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC) website: www.insuranceinstitute.ca

IIC, Career Connections website: www.career-connections.info

LOMA website: loma.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?
Top