If you’ve seen the term “underwriter” and never been completely sure what it meant, you are not alone.
Underwriters are often referred to as the engines of the insurance industry. As a customer, you will not interact or see them much, but they are the experts behind the scenes in everything related to insurance. Without insurers, insurance companies would not be able to insure anyone.
We asked four underwriters at different levels of ERIE what their everyday jobs look like. Here’s what they had to share.
What is an Underwriter?
To break it down, an insurer is someone in the insurance industry (or the financial industry who takes out insurance. Through research and analysis, an insurer determines the risk associated with someone who wants to buy insurance.
For example, if a restaurant owner wants to insure their business, an insurer would examine all the risks associated with their business. This can include things like fire hazards, age and size of the building; if there are any unsafe trees nearby; or how many customers they serve in a day. All of these factors help determine how much and what type of insurance they would need in the event of a kitchen fire or if someone stumbled and fell in the restaurant.
“Ultimately, insurers decide what to insure, what insurances to offer and can help determine rates on a one-off basis,”; says Matthew Brown, commercial insurer. “I actually like the research aspect of it. And ERIE offers many tools to get the job done.”
What does an ordinary day look like for an insurer?
Many insurers will spend their day working with claims, risk control and sales teams, as well as other insurers, to create insurance.
“A large part of the day is spent working with my underwriting team,” says Karen Kocjancic, Guarantee Manager. “One of my favorite parts of my job is working with my underwriting team and coaching them to succeed.”
A large part of their job is to work closely with ERIE’s independent agents, answer calls and emails regarding new customers they want to insure. But the easiest way is for an insurer’s day to be divided into two parts: new business and renewals.
- New deal: New business is where a guarantor’s love of research shines. They work with an ERIE agent to understand the customer’s insurance needs and risks so that they can compile a list of coverages that the customer needs, including those required for their region or account type, and then determine an appropriate price.
- Renewals and redrawing: If you have a keen eye for small details, redrawing can be one of your favorite aspects of the job. Re-guarantee is to look at accounts that are already insured with ERIE and check if there are any new risks or exposures that must be reported. As if a customer recently got a pool installed, they may need a little extra coverage.
Hear from Erin, an ERIE insurer, about how her typical day goes.
What kind of background do you need to work in Underwriting?
Common characteristics of a good insurer include a great attention to detail and a love of math or research. Many insurers have a degree in finance, business or economics when they start. As they grow their careers, they can earn additional insurance certificates such as Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) or an Associate in Personal Insurance (API).
At ERIE, we have an underwriting trainee program that helps educate individuals who are interested in this career path. From there, you are placed in an underwriting division and can grow your career or advance to a career in leadership.
What is it like to work at Erie Insurance?
It is our employees who make ERIE such a good workplace. Our culture is one of the many reasons why people choose to work and build their careers here. Our company was built on the golden rule, and we support each other and our local communities through charity and volunteer efforts. Employees may even spend up to 9.5 hours per year of their working day volunteering in their local communities.
“One aspect of ERIE that I really like is being able to give where we live,” says Karen. “Over the years, I have had the privilege of working on a pair of Habitat for Humanity homes with my ERIE team and I literally hit the hammer with the prospective homeowner – extremely rewarding.”
Our culture is shaped by the many unique employees we have and their different thoughts and experiences. Our affinity networks and resource groups for employees help to engage and give our employees the opportunity to create a fair and inclusive work environment.
Join the ERIE team
At ERIE, we work together to make each other’s everyday lives better as well as our customers’. Learn more about what makes ERIE a great place to work and what makes Erie, PA a great place to live. Interested in kick-starting your career at ERIE? Join our team of underwriters and see our current job opportunities.