Preparing for Your Insurance Underwriting Interview: 9 Essential Questions and How to Answer Them

Insurance underwriters look at how risky it is to issue a policy of insurance to see if an insurance company would make money by doing so. This includes choosing who will get an insurance policy and talking about what it will cover if it is given out.

Additionally, insurance underwriters determine the price of the insurance premium that will be charged to the customer. They must provide a competitive price to their customers while still maintaining a profit for the company.

Landing a job as an insurance underwriter requires mastery of technical skills and industry knowledge. But before you can prove yourself in the role you have to pass the interview.

Insurance underwriter interviews will test your understanding of risk assessment, data analysis, communication skills, and other core competencies Expect situational and behavioral questions that probe your judgment, ethics, and personality.

Here are nine common insurance underwriting interview questions to expect—and how to prepare winning answers

1. Why Do You Want to Be an Insurance Underwriter?

Interviewers will want to know what draws you to this career. Share your interest in risk management, passion for the insurance industry, and career goals in the field.

For example: “I’m fascinated by the challenge of accurately pricing risk. I want to protect policyholders from undue loss while ensuring profitability for the insurer. This role allows me to use data analytics and business skills to serve both goals.”

Focus your answer on the aspects of insurance underwriting that genuinely appeals to you. The interviewer will listen for sincerity and fit.

2. What Underwriting Experience Do You Have?

Even if you’re new to insurance underwriting itself, highlight any relevant experience you do have:

  • Risk assessment in another industry
  • Data analysis and modeling
  • Financial assessment
  • Customer service and relationship management
  • Insurance industry experience in a different role

Draw connections between your skills and how they’ll support you as an underwriter. For instance, data analysis abilities developed in a previous job help you accurately price policies and manage risk pools.

3. What Underwriting Software Programs Do You Have Experience With?

Many insurance carriers use specialized underwriting software to quote, bind, issue, and administer policies. Common programs include DecisionPoint, Eclipse, Rating Central, and StoneRiver.

If you have hands-on experience with any of these programs, highlight it in your answer. Even classroom training is worth mentioning.

If you don’t have direct underwriting systems experience yet, emphasize your general aptitude in learning new software. Focus on how quickly you’ve mastered data tools, CRMs, or other insurance apps in past roles.

4. How Do You Assess and Price Risk for Life Insurance Products?

For underwriting roles focused on life insurance, expect detailed questions about risk assessment for specific products:

  • Term life – Assess applicant age, health, family medical history, occupation, lifestyle, hobbies, and other mortality factors. Consider length of policy term and coverage amount. Apply standard mortality tables.

  • Permanent life – In addition to mortality risk, gauge longevity prospects to project needed premiums over lifetime. Assess “persistency” risk – likelihood client discontinues premium payments.

  • Annuities – Factor in interest rates, market volatility, inflation, and longevity. Use annuity mortality tables and specialized software.

Use industry terminology and demonstrate technical expertise relevant to the product line. Give examples of how you’d calculate premiums based on specific applicant scenarios.

5. How Do You Prioritize When Underwriting Multiple Policies Simultaneously?

Underwriters often juggle many applications at once. Discuss strategies for prioritizing workload and managing time effectively:

  • Evaluate urgency – Is there a pending deadline on certain applications? Which clients expect fast turnaround?

  • Batch similar policies – Group by line of business, geography, or channel to improve efficiency.

  • Spread complex and simple cases – Balance intensive applications with quicker ones.

  • Review case details upfront – Identify any missing information you’ll need to request early.

  • Communicate with transparency – Set expectations with clients on application status and timing.

Emphasize being organized, proactive, and attentive to client needs. Share examples of how you’ve successfully prioritized high workloads.

6. How Would You Handle a Disagreement With an Underwriter About a Risk Assessment?

Underwriting decisions involve judgment calls. Interviewers want to know how you’ll handle reasonable differences in opinion:

  • Discuss the rationale calmly – Understand the other underwriter’s perspective. Present your viewpoint factually.

  • Request additional data – Is there more information that would clarify the application?

  • Involve managers if needed – Seek guidance from leadership as appropriate.

  • Ultimately defer to team decision – Set ego aside and yield to group consensus.

Demonstrate you’ll remain objective, seek compromise, and maintain positive team relationships. Portray the utmost ethics in underwriting decisions.

7. What Challenges Do You Anticipate in This Underwriting Role?

This question tests your understanding of the realities of the job. Be honest while keeping your tone positive:

  • Learning new software tools efficiently
  • Adapting to the insurance company’s unique risk assessment models
  • Managing high application volumes during busy enrollment seasons
  • Staying current on changing underwriting guidelines and regulations

Then emphasize your confidence in overcoming these challenges with commitment and hard work.

8. On What Basis Would You Decline an Insurance Application?

Tread carefully here, as unfair discrimination is illegal. Focus on financial and mortality risk data:

  • Failure to meet company guidelines on age, income, credit history, or other key factors
  • Medical history indicating materially higher mortality risk
  • Discrepancies that raise concerns about intentional fraud or misrepresentation

Note the applicant would receive an Adverse Action notice to dispute or appeal the decision. Demonstrate ethics and objectivity.

9. How Would You Improve Our Current Underwriting Process?

Show you’ve researched the insurer’s reputation and seek to add value. Suggest realistic improvements:

  • Leverage data analytics to refine risk models
  • Automate repetitive tasks to boost underwriter capacity
  • Streamline information collection from applicants
  • Expand online self-service options for basic policies
  • Shorten policy issue turnaround times

Avoid criticizing. Instead, offer ideas to help the insurer gain competitive advantage through stronger underwriting practices.


Preparing responses to common insurance underwriting interview questions allows you to demonstrate your technical abilities, problem-solving skills, and communication adeptness to potential employers.

Use these examples to craft your own impressive answers. With practice and confidence, you can excel in your upcoming interview and launch your career as a skilled insurance underwriter.

Additional Insurance Underwriter Interview Questions

  • What kind of experience do you have with insurance operations?
  • What is your preferred line of insurance to work with?
  • When did you use data and analytics to help you decide what to do?
  • What are the elements of a decision support system?
  • The agent wants you to take a different stance than what you’re supposed to do. What would you do?
  • How familiar are you with data aggregator services?

Insurance Underwriter Interview Questions

When doing a background check on a client, what sources do you use? What things in their background would make you think twice about giving them a policy?

Explanation: This is an example of an operational question. Interviewers will ask this type of question to determine how you go about doing your job. When asked an operational question, it’s best to explain the steps you take to complete the task along with the tools, sources, and process you use.

Example: “When performing a background check on a client, I use a variety of sources. Some of these are the White Pages, a number of credit rating services (such as Experian and Standard & Poor’s), ”.

Question: How do you go about researching and locating information about a client’s finances?

Explanation: This is both an operational question as well as a follow-up question to the previous one. Whenever you provide an answer to an interviewer’s query, you can anticipate follow-up questions. These help the interviewer learn more about the subject you’re talking about or find out more about your background and skills. Keeping your answers short will encourage the interviewer to ask follow-up questions.

Example: “As an underwriter, I understand the importance of accurate and comprehensive information. Therefore, I have developed several sources I can use to explore an applicant’s background quickly. For financial information, I rely on the credit bureaus as well as the client’s financial institutions. If they previously had insurance, I contact these companies, most of which are willing to share the information. I will not make a recommendation until I’ve exhausted my sources for financial information. “.

How do you stay up to date on the laws and rules that apply to you as well as the latest practices in the insurance industry?

Explanation: Staying current with laws, regulations, and industry trends within the insurance industry is critically important. It is also challenging because the laws, regulations, and trends change frequently. The interviewer will ask you this kind of question to make sure you know what’s going on in the industry right now.

Example: “Staying current with all laws and regulations applicable to the insurance industry is almost a full-time job. There are several ways I accomplish this. I read several industry journals, blogs, and online newsletters. I also subscribe to a service that provides me with updates regarding legislative actions impacting our industry. Together, these sources provide me with the information I need to stay current. ”.

Question: Some business insurance policies you work on will require multiple signatures and approvals. How do you resolve conflicts that may arise between stakeholders?.

Explanation: This operational question is attempting to learn about your negotiating and communication skills. Not only do you have to deal with numbers and facts as an insurance underwriter, but you also have to deal with people. Your ability to do this will help you obtain the job.

“It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes I come across an insurance policy where two parties disagree on some of the terms.” I try to get everyone to agree by carefully going over the policy’s details and then asking them if they have any problems with it. I try to address these and suggest how the parties can compromise to reach an agreement, if necessary. It is usually effective and results in the parties agreeing to the revised policy. ”.

Question: What software programs and applications do you use to evaluate clients and issue your underwriting recommendations?

Explanation: An interviewer will ask this type of question for two reasons. The first is to see how knowledgeable you are in this area and how familiar you are with the software that insurance underwriters use. The second reason is to confirm you are familiar with the applications their organization currently uses. Hopefully, your pre-interview research has helped you understand the apps they use so you can address this. It’s possible that you don’t know their apps well enough to suggest ones that you do know as good alternatives to the ones they are currently using.

Example: “There are a significant number of applications insurance underwriters use when evaluating applicants for policies. These include Applied Rater, Instec, Bridge Rating, Bridge Underwriting, and OneShield. I also use Microsoft Office Suite to compile reports. The apps I most frequently use are Word and Excel. ”.

Question: Have you ever denied a client’s policy request, and if so, for what reasons?

Explanation: It would be rare if you were an insurance underwriter who hadn’t denied an application. This question will be asked to make sure that you have turned down some applicants and to find out what criteria you used to make your choice. The criteria are by far the most critical part of your answer. You shouldn’t be too strict so that good applicants get turned down, but you also shouldn’t be too loose so that unqualified ones get the job.

Example: “I would estimate that I approve approximately 90% of the applications I process. The ones I deny usually have several red flags which indicate they are not a good risk. Some of the red flags are bad credit, criminal backgrounds, overdue loans, and other obvious issues. I also check to see if the applicant has any old lawsuits or credit problems that have been on their record for longer than they should have been. ”.

Question: What actions would you take if you were undecided about whether a risk is worth taking?

Explanation: This is another follow-up question to the previous one. You should always anticipate follow-up questions. The two types of follow-up questions are clarification and exploration. A clarification question indicates you may not have answered the previous question clearly or thoroughly. An exploration question shows that the interviewer is interested in what you’re talking about and wants to know more.

“As I said in my last answer, I normally turn down only a small percentage of applications.” If an application is on the edge and I’m not sure if we should take the chance, I get more information from a number of different sources. I might even get in touch with the applicant to ask them about some of the problems I found and find out why the problem is still on their record. On most occasions, this will clarify my thinking and enable me to move forward to approve the application. ”.

Question: If you felt it was too risky to give insurance to a client, even though you didn’t have enough proof to say so, would you go with your gut?

Explanation: The interviewer is continuing to ask about the process you use to approve insurance applications. With this question, they are attempting to learn whether you err on the side of facts or intuition. As with most professions, good insurance underwriters use 80% facts, 10% experience, and 10% intuition.

“I have a kind of sixth sense when it comes to approving applications because I’ve been doing this job for a long time.” Naturally, I depend heavily on the information I collect, including the clients background check and financial information. From my own experience, though, I can usually tell if a client is a good risk before I even finish the formal evaluation. Otherwise, if I’m still not sure, I trust my gut to either accept or reject their application. To date, this has always worked out for me. ”.

Question: What process do you use to detect insurance fraud?

Answer: The person interviewing you will ask you about insurance fraud to make sure you really understand it and have come up with ways to spot possible fraud. They also want to make sure you know about any new fraud schemes that could hurt the industry. You should really understand this and be able to talk about what you know about insurance fraud.

Example: “Unfortunately, there’s a great deal of fraud in the insurance industry. The range of this is from people filing false claims against real policies to people buying new policies just to commit fraud. This is why I conduct a thorough and comprehensive background check on any new application. As part of my ongoing education, I also try to keep up with new fraud schemes and come up with ways to spot them when I’m reviewing an application. ”.

Question: Could you explain what debt and loan-to-value ratios are and how you use them to judge a client?

Explanation: This is a technical question. Interviewers will ask technical questions to understand your knowledge of the industry and the practices within it. Technical questions are best answered concisely and directly with little embellishment. If the interviewer needs more information or wants to learn more about the subject, they will ask follow-up questions.

For example: “A debt-to-value ratio shows how much debt a person has on the asset they want to insure.” The ratio is determined by dividing the debt by the market value of the asset. If the applicant has a high debt-to-value ratio, it means they don’t have much equity in the asset and don’t have much to lose. This is one of the red flags I look for when reviewing an application. It could indicate a high level of risk or potential fraud. ”.

What’s the day-to-day of being an underwriter? – Hey Insurance – Ep 87

What questions do insurance underwriters ask?

Most interviews will include questions about your personality, qualifications, experience and how well you would fit the job. In this article, we review examples of various insurance underwriter interview questions and sample answers to some of the most common questions. What is your experience in underwriting insurance policies?

What does an insurance underwriter look for in an interview?

As an insurance underwriter, the ability to gather and analyze data is key to making informed decisions that can have significant financial implications. Interviewers want to know if you possess the skills and methods necessary to make accurate assessments of risks and rewards, and if you can efficiently utilize tools and resources to do so.

Why would an interviewer ask an insurance underwriter a technical question?

There are a few reasons why an interviewer would ask this question to an insurance underwriter. The first reason is to get a sense of the underwriter’s technical skills. The second reason is to gauge the underwriter’s comfort level with using technology in their work.

Why is it important to ask an insurance underwriter a question?

It is important to ask this question because it allows the interviewer to gauge the depth of the insurance underwriter’s knowledge and experience. The interviewer wants to know if the underwriter has a strong understanding of the insurance policy underwriting process and if they have had success in the past in writing policies.

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