Underwriter Salary

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loudmouth
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Post by loudmouth » Mon Dec 13, 2004 12:49 pm

What is the average starting salary for underwriter?

FiniteReUnderwriter
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Post by FiniteReUnderwriter » Tue Dec 14, 2004 8:10 am

Company U/W around $40,000 with college degree from good school. After 5 years experience with company, a good performer can expect to double that, and a fair performer can expect about 50% increase.

At start, very little difference between personal lines and commercial lines U/W, but given the commodity nature of personal lines, the commercial U/W will begin to outpace the other in salary.

After 10 years of experience, a "starting" reinsurance U/W might be in range of $100,000 to $150,000 with good track record.

Hope that helps.

pita3333
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Post by pita3333 » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:09 pm

Realize that any and all replies in this topic are likely to regional in nature... also ... some positions on agency side still use term "underwriter" where others have moved towards "account manager" ... and still some use the old "csr" which these days is really just a processor.

Titles....want to make someone feel important (and usually without associated salaray?)... just give them a highpolutant title!

:rolleyes:
Michael Trouillon
Greater Los Angeles area

Consultant/Trainer agency automation system

Industry since 82

Past: Compliance Mgr master pol pgm, Ops Mgr, Marketing Mgr, Account Mgr

Dilbert
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Post by Dilbert » Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:13 pm

I echo the regional sentiment above. In this neck of the woods (Midwest) most seasoned underwriters are in the $40K-$60K range and newbies are around $30K. This is a true company underwriter position. We just lost an underwriter with 5 yrs experience to a rival who offered her $52K.

loudmouth
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Post by loudmouth » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:38 am

Thanks...that will be helpful to my friend who will apply for some positions in So. Cal. So, I'm guessing an U/W gets a base salary of 40-50k plus commission?

ins geek
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Post by ins geek » Wed Dec 15, 2004 6:30 am

Commission for an underwriter? Doubtful if they're a true company underwriter!! I've never seen a personal lines u/w get a commission, and I haven't heard of commercial getting one although I guess it's possible. The function of an underwriter is to review the applications the producer bound and submitted to the company; the u/w makes sure it meets the guidelines, and if not, the policy is rejected. Most u/w don't generate any business, they're simply reviewing what's been submitted. As the other folks have said, it varies by region and how people are using the title; I'm refering to the true textbook definition of u/w. I think I started out in the 30,000 range and I'm now a supervisor at 52,000. Personal lines is tough, your firend will make much more in commercial, wish I'd gone that route. :blink: :o

FiniteReUnderwriter
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Post by FiniteReUnderwriter » Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:26 pm

Again, from solely the "company" persepctive as opposed to broker (of which I have no knowledge), never heard of a "company" U/W getting paid a "commission" in the true sense of the word.

Annual bonuses are usual and customary for senior U/W and above. Lower level bonus rung maybe eligible for up to 15% to 25% of base salary if their overall unit or company does well; with more seniority, not unheard of bonus eligible being up to 50% of base salary.

Less frequently, there are stock options - but that is the exception rather than rule and usually limited to most senior level.

Some companies use title "Underwriter" to connote both marketing and risk selection / pricing. Others limit to only risk selection and pricing. The more marketing or production orientation of the job description, the higher pay, higher bonuses and options, etc.

Of course, senior management positions go up from there.

Regards,

loudmouth
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Post by loudmouth » Wed Dec 15, 2004 3:21 pm

ins geek,

why not be in commercial underwriting? is it difficult to move from one to the other? Can I recommend that she start in personal lines and move on to commercial underwriting once she's got her foot in the door? She will be graduating this summer and has about 1.5 years in insurnace business as a CSR for a farmers insurance agency.

ins geek
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Post by ins geek » Thu Dec 16, 2004 11:41 am

It's better if she can start right in as a commercial trainee, and work up from there. I've been in personal lines for 12ish years, and there are two problems; once you start making decent money you don't want to go back to trainee pay, and folks see you as strictly personal lines and would rather have someone with some commercial experience. (by the time I figured out there was more money in commercial it was too late!) In moving around I've found that what's on your resume is what you are, regardless of what you really can do.

I also think finitere is referring either to commerical or reinsurance, I've never heard of a senior p/l underwriter getting a bonus, let alone 50% of salary. (how do I get a job with those folks!) I've worked for 5 different major ins. companies now, and no one's ever gotten such a bonus. Having said that, realize that I'm speaking truly personal lines risk review; home/auto/umbrella/dwelling fire risks, do we write the guy with 2 speeds and a fancy sports car, or do we write the 150 year old house with plaster walls. NO marketing or sales is involved at all, just some agency management.

Commercial and reinsurance are two totally different animals, and I believe the high end personal lines (insuring $20 mil mansions, etc.) is a different beast too.

And by the way, I'm a CPCU which has helped me greatly along the way, even before I finished the designation. It got me raises and jobs, and I highly recommend it.

Hope this helps. :)

FiniteReUnderwriter
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Post by FiniteReUnderwriter » Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:32 am

ins geek,

Yes, my experience is mostly commercial / surplus lines. Major metro area on east coast.

Bonuses went down quite far in ranks for U/Ws, less so for claims and other support functions. This has been several companies (both insurer and reinsurer), not just one. I've been in biz for 25 yrs w/ hiring and compensation responsibility along the way, and currently EVP level.

Often, entry-level U/W might be eligible for 10% - 15% of base salary, and then ratchets up as promotions go. I have seen sr. U/W (5-7 yrs exp.) with bonus potential in range of 35% or higher (but hurdles are set so actual payout is less than max potential - payout is about 60% of max in a typical year, higher in good ... and sometimes "zero" in bad years). 50% max rate would typically be for supervisory / dept head level or above. Some senior mgrs have been up to 100% max rate! But, this varies widely from company to company, so certainly possible that these rates may be lower at other companies (or may not even exist).

Like base salary, reinsurer bonus potential is usually a bit higher as compared to insurer. Stock options are usually restricted to officer level, and again these are increasingly rare on the company side.

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