Building your Insurance Career; #1 Underwriting

Building your Insurance Career; #1 Underwriting (1)

As an expert in insurance recruitment, I am constantly fielding questions about underwriting, claims and broking.  I thought it might be useful to discuss each of these briefly and share some of my insights on careers in these fields.

First up…Underwriting.

Underwriting Career Paths

Underwriters typically hold degrees in economics, business, maths or a related subject. In the Dublin market the most common entry method is to train as an underwriting assistant for 1- 2 years in property, motor, commercial or various other niche lines of business.

A commercial underwriter with 4+ years’ experience will often have the option to migrate into reinsurance, or captive insurance, where salaries can be a little higher. Reinsurance underwriting Is closer to actuarial work than your typical underwriting role and therefore requires a really strong numeric aptitude from the individual. Employers are extremely cautious about who they hire as the workload can be intense at times.

Captive underwriting opportunities are typically seen in the likes of Aon, Marsh, Willis Towers Watson, or even a self-insured entity like CRH plc. Captive underwriting involves a huge amount of Solvency II financial month end and quarter end reporting. In that sense it differs hugely from traditional underwriting where human to human contact is inherent, and at times can feel like the work you would expect a Chartered Accountant to do. Some love it but many others prefer negotiating with brokers, building relationships and developing innovative products.

Current Market Trends in Underwriting

Underwriters now have more options in Dublin than in recent years and salaries have increased considerably in the past 2 years as a result.

Insurers are currently hungry to develop market share in motor and household products as well as several niche areas within commercial insurance, professional indemnity and financial lines. Whether your strengths lie in relationship management and sales, or product development and analytics, there is a great career for a good underwriter, and insurers, reinsurers and captives are proving time and time again they are willing to invest In hiring the best people for these key appointments.

About Sarah Kavanagh

Sarah Kavanagh is a Senior Associate with Barden’s Financial Services practice. She is an expert in financial services careers.

She is a UCC grad, holding a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Economics & Psychology, and a MBS in Business Economics. She also went on to study and complete the Qualified Financial Advisor, Financial Planning & Services exams with The Institute of Bankers.

Sarah joined Barden in January 2020 and prior to that worked in various aspects of financial services including banking and asset management.

Get in touch with Sarah at




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