The American insurance industry sold over $419 billion in products in 2009, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In addition to home and auto insurance, the industry offers specialized coverage for any conceivable insurance need. Despite their offerings, most insurance companies share a common organizational structure.


Underwriters are the heart of an insurance company. They determine what risks the company is willing to accept and the price of the product it sells. In some cases, underwriting is automated, overseen by a small team that reviews any exceptional submissions. For many specialty insurance products, such as coverage for fine arts or unique architectural homes, highly skilled underwriters still review each submission.


The task of producing a physical insurance policy and getting it into the hands of the insured falls to the operations department. An operations department includes roles such as mail clerks, accountants, information technology specialists and data entry clerks. The operations department is often the largest sector of an insurance company, offering support to all divisions.


If there were no claims, there would be no premiums. The claims department addresses any losses reported by a customer, investigating each occurrence and helping the client through the claims process. The claims department pays any losses and returns the customer to the state he was in before the claim.