How Long Does Underwriting Take And Why Is It Important?

In the realm of finance, underwriting plays a crucial role. Underwriting is used frequently in investment banking, insurance, and housing loans. But how long does underwriting take, and why is underwriting important?

You’ve probably heard the term “insurance underwriting” if you’ve ever applied for insurance. And that may have been the maximum extent of your thinking on the subject. After all, you probably wanted coverage as soon as possible so you could get back to running your business and thinking about other things.

However, underwriters play a significant role in determining whether an insurer would accept you as a customer. So it’s in your best interest to understand what underwriters do and what factors they consider when deciding whether or not to cover you.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the underwriting process so you can be fully prepared when it comes time to receive — or renew — your insurance coverage, as well as when obtaining a mortgage loan. We’ll go through all the important aspects like what are the types of underwriting, how long does underwriting take, and why is underwriting important?

What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process of examining, selecting, and pricing consumers in the insurance sector. This is something that all insurance companies do, whether they sell life insurance, health insurance, homeowners insurance, commercial property-casualty insurance, or other types of insurance.

Underwriting assists insurers in remaining profitable. Insurance firms must collect more money in premiums and investments than they pay out in claims in order to stay in business. Insurers have a better chance of making a profit if they carefully select their customers, eliminating those who are most likely to lose money.

Underwriting is done by underwriters at an insurance business. Insurance applications are assessed by underwriters, who accept strong candidates while rejecting the riskier ones.

Since underwriting is an “inside job,” underwriters rarely encounter clients. Although you’ll probably never meet one, underwriters are quite important. Underwriters make the decision regarding who gets offered a policy when small business owners apply for one.

What is the main purpose of underwriting?

Underwriting in many businesses aims to determine the most acceptable price for the risk assumed by underwriters. It helps to establish the proper borrowing rates in banking, it helps to determine premiums and coverage levels in insurance, and it helps to find the right price for investment risk in the securities market.

How does unwriting work?

Underwriting involves extensive investigation and verification. An in-depth investigation is required to assess the level of risk posed by each party or business. By accurately pricing investment risks, this assessment enables the provider to determine lending rates for loans that are appropriate, as well as premiums that adequately cover the costs of providing insurance to policyholders.

Finally, it enables the provider to create a market for securities. The underwriter has the right to decline coverage if he thinks the risk is too great. The risk is the primary aspect that is examined during the underwriting procedure.

Decisions on all forms of underwriting shares are only made after considering the level of risk involved in a given transaction. For instance, in the circumstances involving loans, the risk is whether the borrower is capable of repaying the loan or defaulting on its payment.

On the other side, the risk in insurance situations is that too many policyholders will make the same claim at the same time. The possibility that an investment won’t generate profits or even cause losses exists while dealing in securities.

The risk is a probability that cannot be avoided, regardless of the underwriting. In order to prevent risks and help the company make wise decisions that lead to its profitability, it is the responsibility of the underwriters to evaluate and calculate the risks.

What exactly does an underwriter do?

Simply put, an underwriter evaluates a contract’s risk worthiness. For instance, a banking underwriter will assess the credit risk of a loan applicant. Sometimes it’s not the easiest thing to do. Especially when the level of risk is substantially larger, underwriters may need to be more meticulous and careful. Learn more about what underwriters actually perform in various businesses by reading on.

Responsibilities of underwriters

In essence, an underwriter evaluates the risk of another person or company, whether it be for loans or insurance, and if everything looks good, accepts the risk. An underwriter may also refuse to take the risk, though, if it appears unfavorable.

Assume for a moment that you submit a loan application to ABC Bank and mortgage your home. Your payment history, credit score, and the market value of the home you have mortgaged will be taken into account by the mortgage underwriter when determining the risk of approving your loan.

They will use all this information to decide if your loan should be accepted in the first place. If they decide to approve you, then a rate of interest will be chosen for you; this will mostly depend on the level of risk the underwriter is willing to take. An IPO is the first public offering of a business that is going public for the first time. The underwriter has a role to play here.

The insurance underwriter will review your application if you are buying an insurance policy and attempt to calculate the likelihood that you will file a claim by considering several variables. After that, they will decide how much your premium will be.

Types of underwriting

As we have discussed above, underwriting is an extensive process that requires thorough investigation; hence it is divided into different types of underwriting. Since we’ve covered the fundamental idea of underwriting and seen how it functions, let’s go through the three main types of underwriting that are

  • Loans/mortgages
  • Insurance
  • Securities

Loans/mortgages underwriting

To assess the risk associated with making a loan to a potential borrower, loans are underwritten. The borrower’s income, the appraisal, the borrower’s credit score, and any assets they may have are the four key criteria used in this sort of underwriting.

Even though the loan underwriting procedure is frequently automated, there are specific situations where a loan underwriter is needed to complete the appraisal. Mortgages fall under the category of loans that need human underwriting.

To make an informed judgment about lending, it is necessary to evaluate an applicant’s income, credit score, liabilities, and savings; as a result, the mortgage underwriting process has a response time of one week.

Securities underwriting

Securities underwriting is carried out for a potential investor and is frequently associated with Initial Public Offerings (IPO). It is carried out in order to calculate the fair value of certain securities and the risk attached to them. Investment banks make up the majority of the investors, and they employ securities underwriting to determine whether a transaction is profitable.

When a buyer selects profitable securities offered by a business doing an IPO, the securities underwriting process gets underway. The investor then generates money from this sale by selling the securities to other buyers in the market.

A group of underwriters known as an underwriter syndicate is formed by the underwriters who undertake this security underwriting, and they purchase securities after evaluating the risk of selling them to other investors or brokers who would then resell them to other potential buyers in the market. An “underwriting spread” is the term used to describe the profit made from such a trade.

Securities underwriting is crucial since it ensures that an IPO will raise the necessary funds and provide the underwriters with a premium or profit in exchange for their services. Individual stocks, municipal and governmental bonds, and debt securities are all subject to this underwriting.

Insurance underwriting

Underwriting can be thought of as the process of evaluating a potential insurance holder when it comes to life, health, property, and other types of insurance. In the past, medical writing was employed in health insurance cases to determine the applicant’s fee depending on their wellness and health. Even worse, the insurance companies had the right to refuse any coverage depending on the individual’s symptoms.

However, in 2014, under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, businesses were not allowed to refuse coverage or place any restrictions on the insurance they offered. Thus, insurance underwriting comes to the insured’s aid by estimating the percentage of coverage to be provided to an insured and identifying the risks of frequent and significant claims being filed by the insured.

An evaluation of the risk involved with a potential client is a step in the underwriting process for life insurance. Age, health, family medical history, occupation, way of life, level of fitness, and other relevant factors are taken into account while making this assessment of the individual.

How long does underwriting take?

The process of underwriting is lengthy and complicated for each of its types which you’ll see if you keep reading this article; thus, you can’t expect to have things done at the snap of a finger. But thanks to the development of information technology, the process of underwriting for mortgages, securities, and insurance has become much faster, going from weeks or months to only a few days or even hours in some circumstances.

A list of the required documentation will be given to you. The timeline may be impacted by how quickly you can deliver them. If you don’t provide the required documents as soon as you can, the underwriting procedure can be delayed and may even take a few days to several weeks on average. Still, even under rare circumstances, the complete closing process typically would take forty-five days.

Try to respond promptly to any lender demands for information, and let any references you list (such as an employer) know in advance so they can be ready to ensure that the procedure moves easily and swiftly and can be completed as quickly as it can.

Another benefit technology provides you is that In order to be proactive if any documentation is lacking, many lenders give you the option to check the underwriting process’ progress online. Continue updating your insurance officer or underwriter on your progress if you need extra time to collect the needed documentation.

Traditional underwriting, on the other hand, necessitates extensive medical examinations and lab testing, and as a result, it usually takes longer. However, because traditional underwriting gives your insurance company a greater understanding of your general health, it frequently leads to better rates.

The conventional underwriting procedure can also be accelerated. Prepare your medical history and other supporting documents, for instance, before submitting your application. As a result, it would be simpler to respond to any information requests made by your insurance company during the application process.

What is the process of underwriting?

Although it would be convenient if your underwriter could simply mark you as “pre-approved,” unfortunately, that is not how it works. The underwriter has to go through a process in order to approve the insurance or loan or any sort of service you are applying for. The process of underwriting is different for the different types of underwriting, which are loans, securities, and insurance underwriting. We are briefly going to go over the process for each.

Loan/mortgages underwriting process

While each lender has their unique underwriting procedure, the majority of them concentrate on the three main issues of capacity, collateral, and credit. To examine the loan and the risks associated with giving money to the borrower, underwriters may use a strict set of rules and sometimes even a computer model.

Each type of loan has a unique procedure

While the core notion of underwriting remains the same from loan to loan, the actual procedure can and will vary. Underwriting a personal loan, for example, would not be the same as underwriting a mortgage. Underwriting a personal loan entails the following steps:

  • Examining a borrower’s credit history
  • Taking into account the possibility of loan default

For mortgage seekers, mortgage underwriting is crucial, particularly if you’re a first-time home buyer. If your home loan application is approved, it signifies your lender has faith in your ability to afford to buy a house and make timely mortgage payments. If your loan application is rejected, you might need to fix your financial situation before applying for a mortgage. The mortgage underwriting procedure is one of the lengthiest and often involves all of the following processes.

  • Pre-Approval: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage should be your very first move, even before you begin looking for a home. A lender will assess your financial profile, including your income and debts, and perform a credit check to decide whether to pre-approve you.
  • Income and asset verification: Be ready to give further financial proof, such as tax returns and bank account statements, and to have your income validated. Money in your bank accounts, retirement savings, investment accounts, the cash value of your life insurance policies, and ownership interests in businesses where you have assets in the form of stock or retirement accounts are all assets that will be taken into consideration.
  • Appraisal: Once you’ve discovered a home that you want and that is within your price range and have submitted an accepted offer, a lender will evaluate the property. This is done to determine whether the sum you offered to pay is reasonable given the state of the house and similar properties in the area.
  • Title search and insurance: A lender will not lend money to a residence that has legal claims against it. That is why a title company will do a title search to ensure that the property can be transferred. The title company will investigate the property’s history for mortgages, claims, liens, easement rights, zoning ordinances, pending legal action, unpaid taxes, and restrictive covenants.
  • Making a lending decision: The best case scenario is that you are authorized for a mortgage after the underwriter has carefully reviewed your application. You are now free to move forward with the property closing. But you can also be denied.

You don’t need to be familiar with every aspect of the underwriting procedure. But having a solid understanding of the fundamentals can help you advance more quickly as you take each stage in turn. If you’re denied a mortgage loan, then understanding why it was denied is very important so go through the following reasons to understand and rectify your actions.

  • Denied: To decide what to do next if your mortgage application is rejected, you’ll need to discover the precise reason why it was rejected. If the lender believes you have too much debt, you may be able to reduce your DTI ratio by reducing the balances on your credit cards. If your credit score was rejected, check again for errors in your credit report and take action to raise it. You might try your luck again in a few months, apply for a lower loan, or try to save up more money for a bigger down payment to make up for it.
  • Suspended: This could indicate that the underwriter is unable to evaluate your application because some required documentation is missing from your file. If the underwriter, for instance, was unable to confirm your work or income, your application can be put on hold. If you can restart your application or not by supplying the missing documents should be specified by the lender.
  • Conditional approval: Mortgage approvals can be subject to conditions, which typically include the requirement to provide additional pay stubs, tax documents, evidence of mortgage insurance, evidence of insurance, or a copy of a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or company license. Usually, this is simply a glitch; you are almost in your home, but the lender just has to clarify a few more details.

Insurance underwriting process

An underwriter evaluates the application to start the underwriting process for insurance. Underwriters are experts in risk analysis and mitigation in the insurance industry. To put it simply, they assess applications and determine how dangerous it is to insure something or someone, as well as how much the applicant will have to pay for coverage.

Depending on the sort of insurance you apply for, the underwriting procedure could change for life insurance; they could consider your health condition. However, underwriting for insurance frequently takes the following common steps:

  • Checking out your application
  • Deciding if you should be covered by the insurance company
  • Advising the insurance provider of the type of policy and terms that they should accept
  • Attempting to find ways to make future claims less frequent
  • Finding ways to have you covered if there are any problems with your application by haggling with insurance brokers or agents
  • Assessing your insurance If you’ve filed several claims, experienced financial difficulties, or you’re applying for new insurance.

Underwriting is typically part of the application acceptance process. If your activity or risk changes, an underwriter may be asked to assess your profile, policies, and claims. For example, if the insurance company observes a sudden increase in claim payouts, they may review your case to see if your policy conditions need to be adjusted.

Securities underwriting process

At least two parties are required in the securities underwriting process: a client, such as a corporate or government agency, and an investment bank. When an issuer, such as a corporation or the government, needs to raise funds, it turns to the capital markets, where it can sell either equity or debt.

One or more investment banks are employed for the securities underwriting procedure in order to execute the sale. The investment bank is in charge of underwriting the securities, which involves pricing, purchasing, and reselling them to the public.

An initial Public Offering (IPO) refers to the first time a corporation issues equity shares or stock to the general public (IPO). To underwrite the securities, several investment banking firms are often employed, including a lead bank and many other banks with more junior roles. As part of the securities underwriting process, various financial aspects of the deal are decided between the investment banking teams and the company’s management team.

The size of the IPO must first be defined, along with the quantity and cost of the shares that will be sold on the public market. Prior to the release, the bankers and management frequently go on a road show to sell and promote the impending sale of stock to the general public. The date for the IPO must also be decided.

Investment banks buy the equity shares in advance of the issuance date for a set price, which results in earnings for the business right away. These shares are offered to the public at a higher price so that the deal’s bankers can benefit from the underwriting of the securities.

The process of underwriting securities involves a delicate topic called pricing. The bank will be unable to sell shares if they are priced too high for the general public, forcing it to try to sell them later. Underwriters and the entity issuing the shares could lose money if the stock is priced too cheap.

Investment bankers may receive significant fees in exchange for their services in securities underwriting. These revenues are typically determined by the magnitude of the financial market transaction.

What information does an underwriter look at?

The timeline of the underwriting process largely depends on how quickly you provide your underwriter with the required information. The specific information that your underwriter may require for the type of underwriting you are using might vary from one another.

Underwriters assess each applicant’s financial situation to determine the level of risk they are taking on and the possibility that they will lose money, whether they are lending money or offering insurance. Usually, previous data are compared to achieve this: The premiums or interest rate will be set at a level that assumes an X% probability of default if applicants with a comparable risk profile default X% of the time.

The applicant’s accessible data will be examined by underwriters for personal loans and insurance. They might check the borrower’s credit history, employment history, and income before making a loan. The worth of any assets provided as collateral will also be determined by them. In order to obtain life insurance, they might also consider their medical background, taking into account risk factors, including smoking and alcohol use.

Before determining the price of a bond or stock issuance, underwriters for securities would consider the issuer’s financial status, including their income statements, cash flow, debts, and any other potential liabilities. Additionally, they will look at the issuer’s credit rating, which functions as the institutional counterpart of a personal credit score.

Additionally, you should be prepared to provide more supporting documents if your underwriter asks a query. Suppose a recent $2,000 deposit is recorded on your bank statement. Despite the fact that you already know it’s a birthday present from your cherished mother, the underwriter will want to know how the money was acquired. To explain to your lender that it was a gift, you’ll probably need to write a letter.

Why is underwriting important?

The underwriting procedure is significant to an insurer because it establishes the degree of risk associated with a potential client. It makes sure that the person purchasing insurance is paying a reasonable premium depending on the level of coverage they desire and their unique situation.

With underwriting, people pay similar rates to those who share their circumstances and levels of risk, and those who are judged to have a higher likelihood of obtaining insurance pay a higher premium.

Underwriting is the backbone of the insurance sector as a whole. That is why it is critical for underwriters to make sound decisions. It is their responsibility, and no one else’s, to ensure that the appropriate degree of risk enters the sector and that this risk is matched by the appropriate premium. If this equilibrium is broken, the industry risks serious danger. The toxicity of poor underwriting permeates the entire sector. Everyone benefits from strong underwriting.

Mistakes to avoid throughout the underwriting process

  • Requesting new credit accounts. Your DTI and credit score may vary as a result of new credit applications and approvals, which may have an effect on how well you qualify for a mortgage.
  • Quitting or being terminated from a job. If you lose (or get) a job during the home-buying process, it can complicate matters further. Avoid changing careers until after the mortgage application process is finished.
  • Withholding or hiding important financial data. Your loan application may be denied, or the underwriting process may be delayed if the lender discovers crucial financial facts you withheld or concealed.

A few suggestions to speed up the underwriting procedure

We all know how important getting insurance as soon as possible can be for people. If you’ve made the decision to buy a home or are starting a new business, you would definitely need to get your insurance working, or you would want your mortgage loan handed over to you as soon as possible. Here are some tips that can help you streamline the entire process.

  • Review your credit report: Before the mortgage underwriting process begins, review your credit report to make sure all of the information is accurate and make any necessary corrections. Depending on the loan type and lender, you may need a lower credit score, but in general, you’ll need a score of 620 or higher to get financing. You’ll be able to lock in the greatest interest rates with a score of 760 or above. Before applying, make sure you review the credit requirements for the loan type you want.
  • Have your financial records prepared: Obtain all necessary paperwork, then assemble it and include it with your application. In order to supply any further documentation that the underwriter may need, periodically check the underwriting status.
  • Answer lender inquiries as soon as possible: If a lender or underwriter contacts you, respond as soon as possible and supply any necessary information.
  • Make a larger down payment: Your chances of obtaining insurance or getting your loan approved are improved by making a higher down payment. In terms of underwriting, you become a less risky applicant if you make a sizable down payment because it raises the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio.


Underwriting is the practice of analyzing the financials of a loan or insurance application to ascertain how much risk they pose to a lender or insurer. This often entails examining the applicant’s income, assets, and credit history to assess the possibility that they won’t wind up costing the underwriting organization more than they would be reimbursed in premiums.

In essence, underwriters are the gatekeepers of home loans and insurance-providing companies. They examine your financial situation and eventually decide whether to approve you for a mortgage or insurance. Even if you’ve been pre-approved by a lender or an insurance provider, an underwriter may still reject your application. These specialists are critical to the process, so be sure you have all of the relevant documentation and records before applying for a loan or insurance.

And if you’re wondering “how long does underwriting take” and if you can help speed things up, we’ve got you covered. First, be sure to completely go through our article to learn all about underwriting, and make sure your paperwork for the lender or underwriter is complete, as it can be the greatest approach to speed up the process. Complete paperwork and solid documentation will allow your loan to be approved in as little as two to three days—or, if you’re lucky, in just one.

However, if additional documentation is required—as is the case for the great majority of loans and insurance, even for people with impeccable credit—expect to wait at least a week for the underwriter to grant a “conditional approval.”

Although the underwriting procedure can be annoying, keep in mind that the end is in sight. You should be quite close to receiving final approval and possibly conditional approval if your underwriter only requests a few more documents, so keep calm and wait to hear from your insurance or loan provider really soon.

Charles Bains

Charles Bains

Charles Bains started his insurance career as a marketing intern before pounding the pavement as a commercial lines agent in Orlando, FL. As an industry journalist, his articles have appeared in a variety of trade publications. His insurance television career, short-lived but glorious, once saw him serve as the expert adviser on an insurance-themed infomercial (yes, you read that correctly). Having recently worked for various organizations, coupled with his broader insurance knowledge, Charles is able to understand our client’s needs and guide them accordingly. He is a gem for Insurance Noon as his wide area of expertise and experience have been beneficial in conducting further researches to come up with solutions and writing them in a manner which is easy for everyone including beginners to comprehend.