38 Interview Questions for Underwriters (Plus Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 25, 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.

An underwriter is a financial expert who helps insurance companies, banks, and other financial institutions assess the risk of financial contracts, such as loans and insurance, to determine their premium rates and applicants' eligibility. During the interviewing process, a hiring manager asks underwriter candidates questions to evaluate their skills and suitability. Knowing what interview questions to anticipate can help you prepare adequately and secure the job. In this article, we define interview questions for underwriters, list examples of general experience, background, and in-depth interview questions, and share sample answers to help you prepare.

General interview questions for underwriters

Typically, general interview questions for underwriters begin an interview. These questions allow the interviewer to learn more about your personality, personal preferences, and behaviour. Employers use these questions to determine whether a candidate has the right attitude for the job and company culture.

Consider the abilities required for someone working in an underwriter role, such as research, communication, problem-solving, risk analysis, and teamwork skills, to prepare responses to general questions. They may evaluate your personality, general career goals, knowledge of their organization, and expertise in underwriting. The following are examples of general interview questions:

  1. Why do you want this position?

  2. Why did you pursue the underwriting profession?

  3. What are your strengths and weaknesses as an underwriter and how do you think they translate well to this job?

  4. What is the most rewarding experience you've had in your career so far?

  5. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in your career?

  6. What do you know about our company and its products/services?

  7. What qualities do you think make someone a good underwriter?

  8. What are some of the most exciting and challenging projects you've undertaken?

  9. How might you concentrate on assignments that may be repetitive?

  10. Share instances of when you used risk analysis to make a significant decision in your life.

  11. Tell me about an instance when you had to show your moral integrity.

  12. Have you ever had to go above and beyond your duties to finish a project?

Related: How to Become an Insurance Fraud Investigator (With FAQs)

Questions about experience and background

After an employer understands your skills and attitude, they typically ask other questions to determine the applicability of your background and experience to an underwriter position. These inquiries usually centre on various facets of underwriting duties and evaluate your capability to perform job tasks. By asking you about your background and experience, the employer can also discover more about your career and educational accomplishments. The following are examples of experience and background questions you may encounter:

  1. Where did you attend school and what's the highest credential you attained?

  2. How many years have you been in the insurance industry?

  3. What did you like most about your former job? What did you least enjoy?

  4. How do you stay updated on insurance legislation?

  5. Describe your background in finance and insurance, including any education and training.

  6. How do you manage assessments of moderate risk?

  7. What steps do you take when you're unable to gather enough financial data for an application?

  8. How do you leverage debt-to-loan ratios into risk evaluations?

  9. Tell me about your most challenging experience dealing with customers.

  10. How do you share information and conclusions with the customer or co-signer?

  11. How do you ensure accuracy when working with huge data sets?

Related: How to Create a Mortgage Underwriter Resume (Including Tips)

In-depth interview questions for underwriters

During an interview, a hiring manager asks in-depth questions to determine your level of competence, technical knowledge, and underwriting skills. These questions uncover your background and suitability for the job. They also allow you to emphasize the qualities that make you the most suitable candidate. The following are in-depth questions that you may receive:

  1. Tell me about an experience you had with a challenging broker.

  2. What statistics and underwriting software are you most experienced using?

  3. What are some factors that cause you to reject a loan application immediately?

  4. Tell me about a specific instance when you handled a challenge successfully.

  5. What resources do you consult most frequently when deciding on a claim?

  6. What do you do if you suspect someone of committing insurance fraud?

  7. Your customer had a poor financial history, followed by an excellent one. What steps do you use to assess risk?

  8. What actions do you take when you possess limited information about a client while making a decision?

  9. Tell me about a client that was high-risk but who you still approved. What data or criteria did you use?

  10. What do you believe are the most important considerations when underwriting insurance contracts?

  11. How have you used your experience to grow as a professional underwriter?

Related: HR Interview Questions: Preparing for Your Interview

Underwriter interview questions with sample answers

The following are questions you may receive in an underwriting interview and sample answers:

1. Explain how you might evaluate and develop a quote on short notice

This question is a behavioural test that evaluates timeliness, organization, and project management skills. Underwriters frequently have strict deadlines, so this is a good opportunity to show that you can adhere to them. When asked this question, consider detailing each step to show that you can work under pressure and produce quality work in a timely manner.

Example answer: "As soon as I receive a new project, I divide it into its necessary tasks. I then allocate a due date to each task and list the documents and information I require to complete them. Then, I set a time and date for acquiring the necessary information depending on the project's deadline. Each day before leaving work, I check whether there are any additional and urgent projects or projects that require more time. I create fresh schedules depending on additional projects to ensure timely completion."

2. Share an occasion when you disagreed with a co-signer. How did you approach this?

Because underwriters usually collaborate with co-signers and brokers, this question aims to evaluate how you solve conflicts with colleagues. Provide details on your communication and problem-solving skills and share how you managed a difference in opinions effectively.

Example answer: "I worked on a project where one of the co-signers did not concur with the contract's provisions. They had concerns about the law and their responsibilities. Although we were unable to modify the contract to meet their demands entirely, I negotiated to reach a reasonable compromise. Additionally, I provided a clearer explanation of the law and its demands to the co-signer, so they felt more at ease signing it."

Related: How to Become an Underwriter (With Salary and Skills)

3. What factors do you use to determine a risky contract or claim?

Identifying risky contracts is an important aspect of an underwriter's job. A hiring manager may ask this question to discover more about a candidate's understanding of contract risks and their ability to detect warning signs. Answer this question by mentioning your experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The interviewer may also ask you to provide an example of a risky contract.

Example answer: "In addition to running claims through the company system, I assess each claim manually to determine its validity. If the program identifies any potential concerns, I instantly investigate them more thoroughly. I also review the claim records of the filer, concentrating on the dates and types of claims. I compare them to other clients' who reside in the same region and have similar types of coverage. When comparing, I consider how long it takes from the time of policy purchase to the filing of the claim."

Related: How to Become a Mortgage Underwriter in 5 Steps

4. Describe your most interesting insurance claim.

This question may not require a precise response, so you can use it to emphasize any skills or strengths you possess but haven't mentioned yet. For example, you could showcase your excellent customer service abilities or any specialized training you may have. You can also use this question to highlight any knowledge or experiences you acquired from your previous role.

Example answer: "I processed a claim for a driver who got lost while travelling. They accidentally found themselves in a remote region where a herd of buffalos was grazing on the roadside. My client's horn startled the buffalos, which ran at his truck and destroyed the paint, headlights and other items. He came to my office worried and perplexed. I investigated the situation and determined that the claim was genuine by compiling information from several sources. I submitted the findings to my broker and we resolved the claim promptly and efficiently."

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