Robert L. Rose, 44, a Washington insurance salesman and life underwriter who was active in professional organizations, died Wednesday in George Washington University Hospital after a heart attack.

Mr. Rose had been affiliated with the Washington office of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company and with Freudberg, Arkin, Jones and Associates since 1957.

He had been a member of the board of trustees of the National Association of Life Underwriters since 1977. Before that he had been chairman of the NALU education comittee and had been president of the District of Columbia Life Underwriters Association.

He also had been national membership chairman of the American Risk and Insurance Association for two years.

He was the 1979 recipient of the Bernard L. Wilner Memorial Award of the District of Columbia Life Underwriters Association.

Mr. Rose was a life and qualifying member of the Million Dollar Round Table and qualified more than a dozen times for both the National Quality and National Sales Achievement awards.

He was a native of Washington and a 1957 graduate of the University of Florida where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. He was a past president of the Shepherd Park Lions Club in Washington and lived in Bethesda.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn, a son, Richard L., and a daughter, Suzanne E., all of Silver Spring; his mother, Hilda Rose, and two brothers, Allan and George, all of Washington.