Underwriting is about people. We have to connect with, influence, talk to, and build relationships with an array of people, including agents, producers, account managers, and marketing staff to achieve positive outcomes. At times, we even interact with the policyholders. I have been a commercial underwriter for over 11 years and have found there are several aspects to ‘the craft of underwriting’ which serve to make it an inspiring, enjoyable, and fulfilling profession.
If you enjoy interacting with people in a business setting and enjoy the thrill of ‘sealing the deal’, underwriting is very rewarding. Underwriting involves analyzing risks on a regular basis and thinking about what can go wrong with a product, exposure, or service. We also consider the magnitude of the risk and carry out this analysis across multiple dimensions including property, products exposures, automobile risks, etc. and take this analysis to create deliverables to address their client’s needs. For individuals who have a penchant for analysis, underwriting can be quite stimulating.
Unfortunately, every discussion isn’t warm and fuzzy. There have been instances when I didn’t see eye-to-eye with my agency partners. That’s when you use your people skills to handle your interactions as constructively as possible. In doing so, I’ve managed to develop many successful working relationships with my agents which has afforded me numerous fun, rewarding, and even humorous discussions and interactions. This is especially thrilling when you are ‘closing a deal’ with your agents and writing new accounts!
Underwriting also involves continuous learning. The issues you deal with vary greatly. For instance, how does a coverage form specifically address an insured’s need? How do you rate for a particular type of exposure? How do changes in business trends and technology impact risk? There are also designations such as the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter), ARM (Associate in Risk Management), and CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor), you can pursue to broaden your knowledge.
When an underwriter works on an account, they have the satisfaction of helping a business or a person manage their risk of loss. By intelligently applying risk management solutions, that business or person will pay their premiums and transfer their risk to the insurance company. By paying these premiums, the customer won’t have to spend or save far larger sums of money to retain the risk of loss and can use those funds towards other investments such as their plant and equipment, hiring new employees, opening a new factory, or saving money for retirement. The economy can’t be prosperous and function without insurance and underwriters are critical to making the insurance process work. I’ve always taken a very healthy measure of pride as an underwriter and I think this makes underwriting a profession you can be proud to be a part of.