Underwriting is the core of Ark’s business – it is the essence of insurance and reinsurance. When carried out well through proper risk selection and accurate pricing, it will minimise our losses and helps us return a profit – this is then invested to enhance profits. Consequently, our underwriting capability has massive influence on the success of our business.
Underwriters assess risks and decide whether to accept applications for insurance cover – and on what terms. Underwriting work is largely about relationship building and it demands close attention to detail. The underwriters main focus is on analysing and calculating premiums (the price for insuring against a particular risk) using extensive knowledge and experience of the market alongside bespoke mathematical models. The key to success is in creating a premium that is both sellable in the market and high enough to cover any claim and expenses, whilst generating a suitable profit. The underwriting team is responsible for managing the make up of their portfolio, balance of geography and/or insurance product line within their speciality area, a little like running their own business.
We have a number of underwriting teams within Ark, each specialising in different categories – e.g., Property, Marine, Cargo, Casualty, Energy, Terrorism, Accident & Health, and Contingency. We operate in both the insurance and reinsurance markets. Insurance clients range from a large property on the Florida coast to an oil exploration company in Egypt. Our reinsurance teams see business from insurance companies from virtually every continent; keen to balance some of their own assumed risks. Underwriters spend time not only in our offices but also at Lloyd’s where they deal face to face with the brokers and travelling to the clients’ own offices around the world.
Spending time with the underwriting teams whilst on the graduate programme gives you the opportunity to begin to build contacts in the market, begin to understand the differing global perspectives on risk and begin to understand the subtleties of putting together an attractive yet profitable premium. You are likely to be involved in networking to get things done, gathering and assessing information, studying proposals and, for any given scenario, calculating possible risk, weighing up the likelihood of a claim being made and in what timeframe. You might also find yourself liaising with specialists, negotiating terms with brokers, specifying conditions for certain types of cover, and drawing up policies and contracts. Your time with one of our underwriting teams will really develop your relationship building, negotiation and analytical skills.