Brokers help clients decide what insurance to buy. Underwriters help insurance carriers decide which people to insure at what rates. While the two roles may sound like opposites, a brokerage underwriter—an experienced underwriter who works for a brokerage—is a major asset.
An experienced underwriter will likely have worked for, and been trained by, multiple carriers. That means he or she not only understands the process of underwriting specifically, but also has inside experience of how carriers work as businesses. You can draw on that knowledge to provide better service to your clients—a difference that translates directly into more business for you.
Let’s look at just a few of the roles a brokerage underwriter can play in your business.
1. Initial Assessment Specialist
Some cases are straight-forward. You don’t have to be an expert to know you’ll be able to get this client a good deal. But for everybody else, your staff underwriter will be invaluable. An underwriter can perform an initial assessment of even the most complex cases and determine whether the prospect is even insurable, what their classification might be, and which carriers are most likely to be interested. This type of assessment is not strictly data-driven, but requires judgement based on experience—experience that a qualified underwriter has.
2. In-House Second Opinion
Carriers don’t always offer the favorable terms you had hoped for. Sometimes the carrier is correct; the prospect is higher risk than you had thought, based on your initial assessment. But sometimes the carrier is wrong. Naturally, you need to go to bat for your client, and you can be a much better advocate if you have your own underwriter on staff able to do a full review of the case and offer a second opinion.
3. Expert Training Resource
The more you, as a broker, know about underwriting, the better you’ll be at your job. You could learn from an experienced broker. You could then train your colleagues and employees. If you are already successful, you’re probably studying underwriting already. But nothing is better than having an actual underwriter available to train you and your colleagues in the inner workings of that other side of the insurance industry.
“Brokerage underwriter” sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it is a phrase worth paying attention to. For brokers and insurance buyers alike, the presence of an underwriter on the staff of a brokerage carries substantial advantages.