Underwriting, or should we be known as walking-talking-insurance-facts-rules-and-regulations-know-it–alls?

Posted by B-Sure Africa

Underwriting, or should we be known as walking-talking-insurance-facts-rules-and-regulations-know-it–alls?

20th December 2018

When you look at the word “underwriting,” it does not sound very interesting at all. It is definitely not a conversation starter nor a well-known subject, however, let’s look at what an Underwriter does.

Underwriters reviews specific information to determine what the actual risk is, determine what kind of policy coverage or what perils the insurance company agrees to insure and under what conditions. This sounds hectic and to the average Joe, it would sound like a huge responsibility.  But, when looking at an Underwriter within a Brokerage, it’s basically a human being who follows a script based on the insurer’s business rules. This specific human being needs to have skills such as listening, speaking clearly and properly, and endless patience.  This human being relies on the system used, to automatically evaluate and determine the premium and risk.

An underwriter interacts with clients when an item is bought and insurance is needed. Most commonly, a person’s first interaction with insurance would be when buying a vehicle under finance agreement.  So, typically, one would purchase a car at the dealership and, as part of the documents you need to sign, they would arrange insurance for you. First, a couple of quotes and once you decided which one suits your needs best, you would finally be “underwritten.” This is a process mostly done telephonically and takes an average of 30 minutes.  It starts off with confirming personal details, then the details pertaining to the vehicle (or other item that is being insured), terms and conditions such as security requirements (tracking device) and inspections, and then, finally, banking details.

30 minutes, 77 questions and 5 favours later, you are insured and can take your new ride home.

This, however, is only when your (the client’s) interaction with an underwriter ends. For the underwriter, it never ends. As soon as family members know that you are an underwriter, you then instantly become the favourite child/cousin/family member of family you didn’t even know you had. We are constantly being bombarded with questions: “Which insurer is the best?” “Which insurance company is the cheapest?” “Where can I get value for my money?”

You would find yourself having a family dinner and still answering insurance questions, getting ready for a wedding, still answering insurance questions. At work amongst other colleagues, you would find yourself constantly either starting or ending conversations just about insurance.

Once you become an underwriter, it is inevitable that you would walk, talk, eat, sleep, and play “insurance”.  Some would go as far as to calling me a “know-it-all”, so, if you are ever unsure about anything insurance related, don’t hesitate to give me a call J

  • Xanthe Groenewald, Process Captain