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Career Story: Underwriting Manager For A Commercial Insurance Company

Underwriting Manager For A Commercial Insurance Company

Job Title: Department Underwriting Manager For A Commercial Insurance Company

Type of Company: Our company provides commercial and industrial fire and related insurance products to large companies in North America and elsewhere.

Education: BS, Engineering Management, University of Missouri - Rolla

Previous Experience: I started as a field engineer, visiting large factories for a fire insurance company. I afterwards moved to underwriting, reinsurance and other related fields in the company.

Job Tasks: Our group has four main areas of responsibility: 1. To help our field underwriters around the country arrive at good decisions on terms and conditions and pricing for our insurance products. 2. To help them analyze the risks they're considering, we develop guidelines and pricing tools. 3. We also provide training for new underwriters. 4. And finally, we do research and develop "positions" on issues with a bearing on our business, such as hurricane and earthquake exposures.

Much of my day is spent mentoring and advising less experienced underwriters on the best ways to approach a particular issue or problem. Because we serve, as a group, as the approval arm for exceptions, I need to help them understand and assess their risks, and help them arrive at a conclusion based on a sound understanding of the facts, along with a dose of common sense.

We have also gotten involved in systems development, in order to give the field office good 'tools' to use in their day-to-day operations.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is working through a complex risk or problem: gathering the information needed, analyzing it, and coming to a conclusion that makes sense for us and our customers. Helping an underwriter resolve his issues with an account and teaching him to do so systematically are also rewarding.

The worst parts are dealing with conflicting goals. Often, two different objectives do not align well and individual priorities need to be sorted out.

Job Tips:
1. Don't lose sight of the big picture. Every process, guideline and tool was built to support a certain objective. You need to understand the objective to use the tools right. 2. Don't be afraid to take chances outside of your comfort zone. You only learn new things and improve you overall effectiveness when you are continually learning. 3. Don't sweat the details, but understand that the details do need to be honored.

Additional Thoughts: Be patient but direct when dealing with others. Everyone has a slightly different frame of reference and background. There is no substitute for clear communication. So while appreciating the audience receiving your communications, remember to keep them as clear and concise as possible.

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