Effective Interview Questions for Hiring Top-Performing Insurance Underwriters

As an executive or hiring manager in the insurance industry, finding the right insurance underwriter is crucial for the success of your organization. Insurance underwriters play a vital role in assessing risk, determining premiums, and ensuring the profitability of insurance policies. To help you identify the best candidates for this position, we have compiled a comprehensive list of interview questions that cover various aspects of an insurance underwriter’s job responsibilities and qualifications.

Job Description For An Insurance Underwriter

An insurance underwriter is a professional who evaluates insurance applications and determines the risk associated with providing coverage to individuals or businesses. They assess various factors such as the applicant’s background, financial stability, and the nature of the insured asset to determine the appropriate premium and coverage limits. Insurance underwriters work closely with insurance agents, brokers, and other professionals to ensure that the company’s underwriting guidelines are followed and that the risks are properly managed.

Interview Questions To Ask An Insurance Underwriter

General Questions:

  1. Can you explain your understanding of the role of an insurance underwriter?
  2. What motivated you to pursue a career in insurance underwriting?
  3. What do you consider to be the most important skills for an insurance underwriter to possess?
  4. How do you stay up-to-date with industry trends and changes in underwriting guidelines?
  5. Can you describe your experience with different types of insurance policies?

Behaviour-based Questions:

  1. Can you give an example of a complex risk assessment you conducted and how you arrived at your decision?
  2. Describe a time when you had to explain a complex underwriting decision to a client or agent. How did you approach the situation?
  3. Have you ever disagreed with a colleague or supervisor regarding an underwriting decision? How did you handle the situation?
  4. Can you share an instance where you identified a potential risk that others had overlooked? What actions did you take?
  5. Describe a time when you had to work under pressure to meet a tight deadline. How did you manage your time and prioritize your tasks?

Job-specific Questions:

  1. What factors do you consider when assessing the risk of a life insurance policy?
  2. How do you determine the appropriate premium for a commercial property insurance policy?
  3. Can you explain the difference between an insurance endorsement and a rider?
  4. What steps do you take to ensure that you are following the company’s underwriting guidelines?
  5. How do you handle a situation where an applicant provides incomplete or inaccurate information?

Growth and Development:

  1. What are your long-term career goals in the insurance industry?
  2. How do you plan to continue developing your underwriting skills and knowledge?
  3. Are you interested in pursuing any industry certifications, such as the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation?
  4. Can you describe a recent industry trend or development that you find particularly interesting or challenging?
  5. How do you see the role of technology evolving in the underwriting process, and how do you plan to adapt to these changes?

Cultural Fit and Soft Skills Questions:

  1. Can you describe your ideal work environment and what you value in a team?
  2. How do you handle constructive criticism or feedback from your colleagues or supervisors?
  3. Can you give an example of a successful collaboration with a colleague from a different department?
  4. How do you prioritize and manage multiple tasks and competing priorities?
  5. Can you describe a situation where you had to communicate a complex idea to a non-technical audience? How did you approach it?

Sample Answers:

  • “I understand the role of an insurance underwriter to be someone who assesses risk and determines the appropriate premium and coverage for insurance policies. This involves analyzing various factors such as the applicant’s background, financial stability, and the nature of the insured asset.”
  • “I once conducted a complex risk assessment for a commercial property insurance policy where the building had a history of water damage claims. After thoroughly reviewing the property’s history, maintenance records, and conducting a site visit, I determined that the risk was too high and recommended that we decline the application. This decision ultimately protected our company from potential significant losses.”

Legal Considerations and Questions to Avoid:

When conducting interviews for insurance underwriters, it is essential to avoid asking questions that may be considered discriminatory or illegal. These include questions related to protected characteristics such as age, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability. Instead, focus on job-related qualifications, skills, and experiences that directly impact the candidate’s ability to perform the role effectively.

Interview Tips For Insurance Underwriters

  1. Review the candidate’s resume and application thoroughly before the interview to familiarize yourself with their background and qualifications.
  2. Prepare a structured set of questions that cover various aspects of the job, including technical knowledge, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal skills.
  3. Use a combination of general, behavioral, and job-specific questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s abilities and fit for the role.
  4. Listen actively to the candidate’s responses and ask follow-up questions to clarify or expand on their answers.
  5. Take notes during the interview to help you remember key points and evaluate the candidate’s responses later.
  6. Provide the candidate with information about the company’s culture, values, and expectations to help them determine if the role is a good fit for them.
  7. Allow the candidate to ask questions about the role and the company, as this can provide valuable insights into their interest and preparedness.

Conclusion

Conducting effective interviews is crucial for identifying top-performing insurance underwriters who can contribute to the success of your organization. By using a combination of general, behavioral, and job-specific questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s qualifications, skills, and fit for the role. Remember to avoid discriminatory or illegal questions and focus on job-related factors that directly impact the candidate’s ability to perform the role effectively. With these interview questions and tips, you’ll be well-equipped to find the best insurance underwriters for your team.

About the Author:

Picture of Kyle Bolt
Kyle Bolt, the founder of Crew HR - Simple HR Software, brings a wealth of expertise with over 15 years in Human Resources. Kyle has dedicated his career to building high-performing teams and fostering workplace cultures that drive business success. His hands-on experience has made CrewHR a trusted partner for businesses looking to simplify and streamline their HR processes.
Picture of Kyle Bolt
Kyle Bolt, the founder of Crew HR - Simple HR Software, brings a wealth of expertise with over 15 years in Human Resources. Kyle has dedicated his career to building high-performing teams and fostering workplace cultures that drive business success. His hands-on experience has made CrewHR a trusted partner for businesses looking to simplify and streamline their HR processes.

Simple HR Software 

CrewHR brings staff scheduling, time & attendance, and your HR processes together in one easy-to-use platform.