Insurance underwriter certifications: examples and benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To successfully run an insurance firm, having the right payouts and policy prices is essential. One way of ensuring this takes place is by hiring insurance underwriters with relevant certifications. Learning about suitable certifications for insurance underwriters can be useful if you wish to work in the insurance industry. In this article, we discuss what insurance underwriter certifications are, provide examples of these certifications including the requirements, career options and expectations of each course, and outline their benefits.

What are insurance underwriter certifications?

Insurance underwriter certifications are qualifications aspiring insurance underwriters take to qualify for this role. These certifications demonstrate to prospective employers that you possess the required skills and knowledge to work for an insurance firm as an underwriter. The subject matter of these courses may vary widely, as different insurance underwriter qualifications apply to different parts of the insurance underwriting industry. For instance, these qualifications may focus on life insurance, risk management or commercial underwriting.

An insurance underwriter works for an insurance firm and is responsible for establishing the level of risk in certain situations. Insurance companies use these risk levels to set prices for their insurance policies. For instance, if a specific situation has a high-risk level, the policy is likely to cost more than for a situation where the risk is lower. Insurance companies also use underwriters to establish the payouts these firms provide. To do this, they assess the situation's risk and the price of the policy and set a payout that benefits both the insurance firm and the policyholder.

Related: 8 important compliance certifications for various industries

Examples of insurance underwriter qualifications

Below are some examples of insurance underwriter qualifications, including the requirements, career options and expectations of each course:

Award in London Market Insurance (ALMI)

This course enables those with little or no experience to gain foundational knowledge of the London Market, which is a distinct segment of London's reinsurance and insurance industry. The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) runs this qualification and consulted with those who work in the London Market to ensure its relevance. It enables candidates to learn an overview of the insurance process for London, in addition to covering some technical topics.

There are no requirements for this course and it's necessary to pass multiple-choice assessments for each module to pass the qualification. The two modules for this course cover the essentials of the London Market, alongside the key principles and practices of this market. Typically, it takes approximately 100 hours to complete this course. This course is ideal for the following individuals:

  • professionals who lack insurance qualifications but want to demonstrate their knowledge of the London Market to employers

  • those who work in a support function for an insurance or reinsurance firm who want to potentially work as an insurance practitioner

  • individuals who work for a company that provides insurance services as a secondary product who may want to focus their role more on insurance, such as lawyers, loss adjusters, actuaries and accountants

Related: Why study business? (Plus definition and types of degree)

Certificate in London Market Insurance

Also run by the CII, the Certificate in London Market Insurance is a more advanced qualification that enables candidates to build on the foundational knowledge they learned from the ALMI. From this course, candidates can expect to gain an understanding of the London Market's underwriting disciplines, alongside the insurance cycle's core elements. In addition, they may learn the benefits and drawbacks of using specific distribution channels, including delegated underwriting.

There are no entry requirements for this course, although completing the ALMI beforehand is advisable. As with the ALMI, each module requires the completion of a multiple-choice assessment to pass the course. There are three modules for this course, two of which are the same as the ALMI's modules. The third module covers underwriting principles in the London Market. Normally, candidates complete 160 hours of learning to finish this qualification. This course is beneficial for those who work for insurance syndicates, managing agents, brokers or member's agents in a support function who want to advance to more senior positions.

Related: What does an insurance underwriter do? (With skills)

Certificate in Insurance

The CII's Certificate in Insurance is a key course for anyone working in the insurance industry. By gaining this qualification, candidates may acquire knowledge of key insurance disciplines, in addition to specialist knowledge. Due to the various modules on offer, candidates may focus their studies on technical topics that help them to pursue specific insurance-related careers. Candidates can expect to learn about foundational insurance principles, such as claims and underwriting disciplines and knowledge of regulatory requirements. Additionally, they may learn about healthcare, household, commercial and motor insurance.

Depending on the selected modules, this certification may take between 160 and 200 hours to complete. As with the previous two courses, it's necessary for candidates to complete multiple-choice assessments for each module to complete the course. There are no entry requirements for this course and this certificate is suitable for the following individuals:

  • those working in underwriting or claims handling roles in customer service environments who wish to develop their knowledge

  • those working in a support function for an insurance firm who wish to move into an insurance practitioner role

  • those lacking insurance qualifications and experience who want to work in the insurance industry

  • other professionals, such as lawyers, actuaries and accountants, who want to specialise in insurance within their field

Diploma in Insurance

Completing the CII's Diploma in Insurance is a good option for those who want to work in a more technical or supervisory capacity in the insurance industry. This diploma allows individuals to gain an excellent awareness of insurance fundamentals, alongside the necessary technical knowledge to work in more advanced insurance-related roles. Candidates can expect to complete a combination of written and mixed assessments to pass this course, depending on the selected modules.

To gain this qualification, it's necessary for candidates to pass two core modules, which cover insurance law and then either business and finance or business and economics in an insurance-related context. Candidates can then study a variety of optional modules to complete this course, covering various topics, including reinsurance, liability, motor, aviation and personal insurance, in addition to commercial property insurance. Typically it takes 480 hours to complete this qualification. There are no entry requirements, but completion of the CII's Certificate in Insurance is advisable. This qualification is suitable for the following individuals:

  • those who want to work as insurance technicians

  • those wanting to pursue managerial roles in the insurance industry

  • those working in a support function in an insurance or reinsurance firm who want to work as an insurance practitioner

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Benefits of insurance underwriter qualifications

There are several benefits of having an insurance underwriter qualification, including:

Demonstrate your skills and knowledge

As a candidate, one of the main benefits of having an insurance underwriter qualification is that it provides evidence of your skills and knowledge. Working as an insurance underwriter is a highly competitive field, so these qualifications may be a good way of gaining a competitive advantage when applying for jobs. In particular, these courses might be highly valuable for candidates who lack industry experience, as prospective employers can see you still possess the ability to work in this role.

Related: How to become an underwriter with no experience in 4 steps

Follow industry standards consistently

Insurance firms also benefit when insurance underwriters possess relevant certifications. For instance, these qualifications ensure all their underwriters consistently follow industry standards. Additionally, these certifications limit the risk of their employees completing work to a low standard. They also ensure their employees possess the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively fulfil their responsibilities.

Related: The difference between quality control vs. quality assurance

Understand key concepts

Moreover, insurance underwriter qualifications help aspiring insurance professionals gain an understanding of key insurance-related concepts. For example, suppose someone has no industry experience or prior insurance-related knowledge. In this scenario, completing one of these courses can introduce them to the fundamental concepts that are essential to know to work as an underwriter.

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Develop your career

Insurance companies often use insurance underwriter qualifications to provide existing staff members with professional development opportunities. While some people complete underwriter certifications on their own, many insurance firms encourage existing employees to pursue these qualifications. Doing this helps to ensure their staff improve their work performance and allows these individuals to progress to more senior positions. This means insurance firms might be able to avoid external hires for more senior roles due to the ability to make internal promotions.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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