DEFINITION of 'Associate In Commercial Underwriting - AU'

Associate In Commercial Underwriting - AU -  is a person with qualifications to evaluate risk for insurance companies. Insurance is protection against future financial loss from injury, illness, property damage or liability for the losses of others. Insurance underwriters review applications for insurance coverage. They evaluate the potential risk, and accept, reject or modify the policy according to law or company standards. This professional designation is awarded by The Institutes upon successful completion of three national exams. The program leading to this designation is designed for agency and company underwriters, field representatives and account managers; this requires a working knowledge of insurance principles and coverages.

BREAKING DOWN 'Associate In Commercial Underwriting - AU'

The AU designation program complements commercial underwriting skills. The term underwriter derives from financial bankers, who would accept some of the risk on a given venture, historically a sea voyage. In exchange for a premium, they would write their names under the risk information which was written on a slip created for this purpose. Today, Insurance underwriters are professionals who evaluate and analyze the risks of insuring people and assets and establish pricing for accepted insurable risks.  Underwriters help price life insurance, health insurance, commercial liability insurance, and homeowners insurance. 

Course Requirements

According to the Institute, "To earn the Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU) designation, you must pass four foundation courses.  You can also earn the Associate in Commercial Underwriting—Management (AU-M) designation by passing the four AU foundation courses plus AU 67 Strategic Underwriting Techniques.

In order to satisfy the Ethics requirement, you must pass one of the following free, 50-question online exams: Ethical Guidelines for Insurance Professionals (Ethics 311); Ethics 312 Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct."

The Institutes calls itself "the industry’s trusted and respected knowledge leader, The Institutes and our affiliates are committed to meeting the evolving professional development needs of the risk management and insurance community. We prepare people to fulfill their professional and ethical responsibilities by offering customer-focused and innovative educational, research, networking, and career resource solutions. We offer a wide variety of courses, programs and professional development opportunities to fill knowledge gaps at any level and in a variety of functional areas within the risk management and insurance industry."

The organization offers these professional designations: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU); Associate in General Insurance (AINS); Associate in Claims (AIC); Associate in Risk Management (ARM); Associate in Commercial Underwriting (AU); Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI); Associate in Reinsurance (ARe); Associate in Insurance Data Analytics (AIDA); Associate in Insurance Services (AIS); and Associate in Management (AIM).

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