One Week Diary (Underwriter)

The selection process for this work experience was a little different, as I got this after a friendly conversation with an Underwriter, whereby I let him know I wanted to gain some experience in all aspects of insurance and he was more than willing to take me on for a week. He said he liked the way I interacted with people around me. This is just a small sample of how kind people are in the insurance industry, whereby someone who is working 9-5 every day with multiple work obligations, would be willing to postpone/stop all of that to show someone they have never met before how things work in their company. After meeting multiple people in the industry, I quickly decided that I need positive people like this around me in my future, and insurance may be the best avenue to achieve this.

Day 1

The first thing I noticed was this company was much smaller relative to the previous company I had interned. On this day, I was given a tour of the office and met the team (terrorism team) – everybody welcomed me warmly – all I could hear was “If you have any questions please feel free to ask.” Therefore, I got straight into it, “How often do you meet with clients” to which they replied “pretty much every day, as different brokers will have different bits of business each day, and they will need to show us the documentation for this.” Then we went into a meeting where we called our overseas team in America to show them some new software to accept certain kinds of risks and we then gave them a live tutorial on how to use it. I found this to be very interesting as it was new and innovative. Next, I was introduced to the excel task which they needed me to do which would alleviate the pressure of rules based on maximum exposure in each particular area, I continued to work on this throughout the day.

Most interesting learning point of the day: Terrorism insurance did not exist before 9/11, before 9/11 there was nothing explicitly excluding terrorism from all insurance policies, so insurance companies were providing it for free, by accident. Therefore after 9/11 insurance companies began to exclude it from their normal policies, and clients realised they needed terrorism cover, hence the demand for it went up, and insurance companies began to supply it, to cater for this increased demand.

Day 2

On this day, we headed straight over to the Lloyd’s building, whereby throughout the day different brokers would come to broke new business to us. It was at this point I realised how important it was to keep up to date with current affairs, whereby brokers were bringing business from all over the world, and if a war was about to break out there, we would know not to accept terrorism insurance in that area. I loved being in the Lloyd’s building, as the atmosphere reminded me of the trading floor in banks, as everywhere you looked there was a transaction going on.

Day 3

On this day, we started the day off with a team meeting, whereby the underwriters in the team had to explain all the businesses they had accepted in the previous week/month, this meant that if anyone in the team had made a mistake, it can quickly be discussed and rectified. After this we went to the Lloyd’s building, where my buddy started going through some slides regarding the underwriting process/risk pricing, and some restrictions, for example, the company can’t except terrorism insurance in Syria. At lunchtime, my buddy took myself and a client out for lunch, which lasted the rest of the afternoon.

Most interesting learning point of the day: Usually when deciding on whether to insure a risk, a major driving factor is previous loss occurrences. For example with car insurance if you have crashed before your premium cost will be higher. With terrorism, however, there isn’t much previous loss occurrences to work with, so we need to use other driving factors to determine the premium charge. This makes terrorism insurance a little harder to work with.

Day 4

We started our day off by heading straight over to Lloyd’s, and it was at this point that I realised that Lloyd’s was basically an underwriter’s main office, as they spend most of their time here. On this day we continued going through the PowerPoint slides, what I found to be most interesting whilst going through the slides is that when we accept business in another country, we are subject to the laws of that given country, so something which is clearly not an act of terrorism in the UK could be considered so in another, and we would have to pay out on claims made under these circumstances. In addition, we also had brokers broking new business to us simultaneously, whenever a broker had planned a visit with my buddy I would ask where the business is, so I could do extra research for my buddy before they got there.

Most interesting learning point of the day: There were a few times where my buddy had said he definitely would not be accepting a risk, but after a conversation with the broker he would change his mind, which showed me how important it is to be prepared and know the risk you are offering as a broker.

Day 5

By day 5 I had enough experience to listen in on a broke and follow exactly what was going on, whilst sometimes even inputting where possible.

My question of the day: “How come some brokes are so easy for you to accept and take you less than a minute to agree to.” He replied saying, “this can occur if the documents were already sent through email, and I have looked through it thoroughly already, or if it is a renewal/ amendment.