An underwriter lends their skills to underwriting a policy, basically determining whether or not to offer a customer a policy based on their risk characteristics. They are basically saying “yes” or “no”, as opposed to rating the policy, which is determining how much to charge for the premium. In car insurance (in the voluntary market) the underwriting department would be responsible for setting guidelines as to what risks the company will accept (no more than 2 at-fault accidents in the last 3 years for example) based on the flexibility of the insurance product they offered.
An underwriter might interact with sales and service, reviewing applications flagged because of certain risk patterns and deciding whether or not to offer/renew a policy. They may work with Product to determine the underwriting guidelines necessary for that product to return a profit. They may also work with the actuarial department to identify favorable and un-favorable risk characteristics that should be focused on for a new rating plan. In short, there’s a lot of different things that an underwriter may do, but essentially the department is responsible for making sure that the proper product gets delivered to the customers is was designed for.
If Mrs. Shibb has an analytical mind and is not scared away by the down-and-dirty statistics and numbers of insurance, it would be a position within which she could learn the product and industry, and move pretty much in whichever direction she wants to go with the company.
Since the position is entry-level I wouldn’t worry about prior experience. Most of the interview is probably going to be behaviorally focused, finding out if she is the right sort of person for the job more than focusing on what she knows already. That being said a reasonable intellect and a background in Math/IT/Finance always looks good.