Viewpoint: Seizing change for the future of underwriting
Advancements in technology and data analysis present significant opportunities for underwriters to enhance risk management, improve customer experiences and adapt to the evolving risk landscape
There are many exciting opportunities ahead in the underwriting profession, but we must embrace the challenges that come with these opportunities
The commercial insurance world is on the brink of a major transformation, driven by digitisation and new forms of competition, as well as a complex and rapidly changing risk environment.
On one hand, automation and increased competition may threaten traditional underwriting practices. On the other, advancements in technology and data analysis present significant opportunities for underwriters to enhance risk management, improve customer experiences and adapt to the evolving risk landscape.
We have a window today to fully embrace these changes and leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to position our underwriters well for the future of insurance. Focusing on our customers’ needs, investing in the right technology and supporting our people to adapt in this new world are, in my opinion, the three key elements to unlock this successfully.
We view any change and development in our business through the lens of how it would support and address the needs of our customers. For example, cyber risks remain at the forefront of the challenges our clients and the industry are facing.
To help tackle these, we use technology to test and explore our clients’ cyber infrastructure. This can provide an ongoing monitoring service and alert our clients if their systems become vulnerable, so they can improve their cyber defences and protect their assets. This concept of “constant underwriting” allows us to offer our customers proactive risk management and can help improve outcomes for all. Personally, I am fascinated by how we can extend the principle of constant underwriting to other classes.
We have a window today to fully embrace these changes and leverage new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to position our underwriters well for the future of insurance
Investing in the right technology improves efficiency and creates a positive experience for our clients. Our efforts to innovate and future-proof our business through tech have come to fruition thanks to the tireless work of our teams of data scientists. The construction of analytics tools and dashboards sitting over locally created data lakes has proved immensely valuable.
The old turf wars between local data teams and central IT departments have been consigned to history. The result of this is a set of nimble and constantly improving tools designed and used by a new breed of underwriter.
We believe people are the most powerful part of our business – and we are committed to empowering our teams and creating a new cohort of underwriters with the specialisation and digital skills to succeed. Our Underwriting of the Future initiative provides a tangible, structured approach to career progression with development opportunities for all underwriters. It ensures that they develop the skills and knowledge necessary to become underwriters of the future.
Through such initiatives and by empowering our underwriting teams with insights gleaned from the data and analysis tools previously mentioned, we can make quicker and better underwriting decisions, leading to a better service for our brokers and better returns for our shareholders.
There are many exciting opportunities ahead in the underwriting profession. It is up to us to embrace the challenges that come with these opportunities by leaning into the rise of digitisation and technology, the changing workplace and the ever-evolving risk landscape.
Our sector is full of talent and attracting new talent every day and if we continue to focus on customers, on the right technology, and on empowering our people, I am optimistic we can seize the manifold opportunities ahead.
Nick Line is chief underwriting officer at Markel International