Insurance Underwriter

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What is an 'Insurance Underwriter'

An insurance underwriter is a financial professional that evaluates the risks of insuring a particular person or asset and uses that information to set premium pricing for insurance policies. Insurance underwriters are employed by insurance companies to help price life insurance, health insurance, property/casualty insurance and homeowners insurance, among others.

Underwriters use computer programs and actuarial data to determine the likelihood and magnitude of a payout over the life of the policy. Higher-risk individuals and assets will have to pay more in premiums to receive the same level of protection as a (perceived) lower-risk person or asset.

BREAKING DOWN 'Insurance Underwriter'

Insurance underwriting is big business – just ask Warren Buffett, who for years has used insurance and reinsurance premiums to fund his investments at Berkshire Hathaway.

Insurance companies walk a tightrope between being too aggressive or too conservative in their underwriting duties. If they are too aggressive, greater-than-expected claims could cut into company earnings; if they are too conservative, they will be outpriced by the competition and lose business.

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