What underwriting jobs in South Africa entail
Are you looking for insurance jobs? If you have good people skills and excellent judgement, pursuing underwriting jobs might be the perfect choice for you. Whether you are a recent graduate or you are looking to make a career change, read our blog to learn more about underwriting.
What is an Underwriter?
An underwriter can typically find employment in insurance and reinsurance companies. Employment opportunities are also available in financial institutes.
An insurance underwriter typically works with life, commercial and general insurance, and is responsible for analysing information with the aim of determining the level of risk involved in accepting insurance applications.
Another core duty that is associated with this position is stipulating policy terms. Insurance jobs also include the responsibility of premium calculations. These tasks are carried out by reviewing actuarial and statistical data. Background information is also included in this analysis.
Job Description of an Insurance Underwriter
An insurance underwriter determines whether it is profitable for a company to approve insurance applications. Assessing the risk of the application involves common sense as well as the meticulous analysis of information. It is vital that quotes are affordable for clients as well as profitable for the business.
Duties that are associated with this position include analysing insurance applications, researching background information and conducting risk assessments. Underwriters use computer programs to examine statistical data. They also write quotes.
An important part of this role involves liaising with brokers and clients with the aim of negotiating policy terms. Employees in this position set premiums and write policies.
Qualifications and Skills needed for Underwriting Jobs
If you have a university degree, you can apply for underwriting jobs. While any degree makes you a candidate for this position, prospective employers may prioritise candidates with a qualification in finance and accounting.
Degrees in economics, law or management are other qualifications which are preferred by some employers. Business studies can also increase your chances of being hired as an underwriter. Some positions may require specialised knowledge in the medical or technical fields.
To work as an underwriter your qualifications will need to be approved by the Financial Services Board. You will also need to pass the Level 1 and Level 2 Regulatory examinations in order to be approved by FAIS. You can complete programs and find recognised insurance related courses at the Insurance Institute of South Africa.
Another factor that will influence whether you are hired or not, is work experience. Employers generally prefer applicants who have experience working in the insurance industry. You can gain relevant work experience through internships or by finding holiday jobs. Relevant experience includes claims assessments and customer services in an insurance company.
Legal services or survey work is also beneficial to include on your resume when you are applying for these types of insurance jobs. Research, banking, accounting and analysis work is advantageous. Experience working in an insurance company’s call centre can also help you to enter the field of underwriting.
A point of entry for this career is finding a position as an assistant in an underwriting team. Once you have gained experience and developed your skills, you can work your way up to a junior underwriter position. While underwriting positions require a degree, some insurance companies hire Matriculants to work in call centres. In this position they will record client information in a computer program which will generate a premium accordingly.
Do you have what it takes to become an insurance underwriter? To succeed in this role you will need analytical skills as well as superior maths and statistics capabilities. Superior interpersonal, communication and negotiation skills are also vital for this role. IT skills are required. If you want to become an underwriter you will need to be detail orientated.
Work Environment of an Underwriter
Professionals in this field typically have normal working hours from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. However during busy periods overtime may be required. Underwriters spend most of their working hours in an office however visits to clients may be necessary.
Large international firms may offer opportunities for overseas travel. According to PayScale the average salary for insurance underwriter jobs is R188 622 per annum.
Now that you know more about insurance underwriting and the responsibilities that come with it, you can assess whether it is the right career path for you. Already qualified and on the lookout for job opportunities? Browse through the vacancies listed on Job Mail and find underwriting jobs that match your skills. Don’t forget to register you CV!