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How Do I Become a Professional Liability Underwriter?

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  • Written By: S. McCumber
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2014
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A professional liability underwriter examines the potential risk posed by the services offered by specially trained professionals such as attorneys, architects, software engineers and accountants. To become a professional liability underwriter, one needs experience in analyzing insurance risk and training that is specific to the professional liability market. Most insurance companies require that professional liability underwriters obtain a property and casualty license. Most insurance underwriters obtain the Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU) designation to work in this profession.

General liability covers property damage, personal injury, bodily injury and advertising injury. Professionals such as attorneys and accountants are exposed to liabilities that are not covered by general liability. If they make mistakes while performing their services, they could cause loss or damage that does not fall under general liability coverage. Professional liability helps fill this coverage gap.

To become a professional liability underwriter, an underwriter must know the different types of professional liability insurances and how they fit different clients’ needs. An insurance underwriter learns about these different types of coverages through experience, company training and continuing education classes. Most insurance carriers that offer professional liability insurance will offer training to underwriters that is specific to their particular liability product.

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Professional liability insurance is a casualty coverage. As such, liability underwriters are normally required to obtain a property and casualty license. A license is obtained by completing a course of study and passing an exam administered by a governing body in charge of insurance licensing.

Most underwriters choose to pursue the RPLU designation in order to become a professional liability underwriter. To obtain the RPLU designation, underwriters are required to study courses approved by the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) and then pass exams concerning the subject matter. Professional liability underwriters often study for the RPLU designation as a post-employment requirement to become a professional liability underwriter.

Excellent analytical skills also are important for professional liability underwriters to have. They are asked to gather information and evaluate the potential risks associated with each client. They interact frequently with both agents and clients, so they need excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Underwriters are often responsible for ensuring compliance with policy requirements, so great attention to detail and the ability to consistently follow up on tasks are vital to become a professional liability underwriter. In addition, underwriters are often required to act as a go-between for the insurance carrier, client and broker in claims issues. Customer service skills are important because the professional liability underwriter is tasked with dealing with both broker partners and their clients.

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