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How to be A Successful Underwriter

Thinking of a Career in Underwriting?

If you are thinking about embarking on a career in insurance, you may very well have thought about becoming an underwriter. If you have, some of the questions that you may be asking yourself are: “Do I have what it takes to succeed in an underwriting job? What makes an underwriter successful in their role?” From our experience, we have identified a few personality traits that are common amongst successful underwriters.

The Role of the Underwriter

The role of an underwriter is to determine the risk of a particular insurance policy and whether or not it should be accepted. There is a range of different factors that need to be taken into consideration, and deciding whether or not to insure a person or organisation can be a tricky task. With this in mind, some of the qualities that you need in order to become a successful underwriter are as follows:

Analytical – The ability to analyse and process large amounts of data, calculating premiums, whilst being able to take into account different pricing structures, may seem like a daunting task, but as an underwriter, this is a core part of the job. Those that have strong mathematical and logical minds can more accurately calculate a premium based on the level of risk.

Confidence – Whilst important to most other jobs within the insurance industry as well as outside of it, confidence is certainly needed when underwriting. The underwriter is responsible in accepting or declining policies and making a mistake could cost the insurances company hundreds, thousands or perhaps even millions. Having the confidence in yourself and the ability to make those decisions, is an important factor in being a successful underwriter.

Organisation – No truly successful underwriter is disorganised. If accuracy is paramount to the job, making sure that all bases are covered is a must. An underwriter needs to be able to methodically work through all risk factors associated with a given policy, so being highly organised is important in doing this efficiently and accurately.

Lloyd’s of London also released a paper on how to be a top-performing underwriter – a great read for anyone looking to join the profession.

Still, looking for insider knowledge on what the role entails? Here’s an insight into being a commercial underwriter.

Whilst the skills listed are important in underwriting jobs, it takes time to perfect the art. The above articles will also give you tips as well as an idea on the day-to-day happenings of an underwriter.

Autistic Pride Day

Autistic Pride Day is an annual pride celebration day. We wanted to help promote the importance of pride for those who have autism and celebrate the positivity that it can bring not only to the insurance industry but all working environments.

We spoke to Lynda, whose son Pete has Asperger’s Syndrome, who wanted to share the pride she has for him as well as the challenges faced. We discuss how she balances her care responsibilities whilst working, what companies can do to improve their working environment and most importantly, what positive outcomes there have been for Pete relating to his autism.

Lynda, when did you first discover that your child had autism?

“We didn’t actually find out until Pete was 12. He’d been slow in developing through his early stages and didn’t walk until 22 months – when he did start walking, it was with a limp. We soon realised that he was copying me, as I was having trouble with my knee and was limping! When Pete was about two years old, he went to see a Speech Therapist. Funnily enough, looking back on this now, we were blaming the therapist as Pete won’t stop chatting! When he was at school, they were visited by an Educational Psychologist who made a referral to an Autism Specialist – it was then that he was assessed and was told that he had Asperger’s Syndrome.”

How have you managed to balance your own career whilst caring for your son?

“I stayed at home for 7 years until the children were settled in school and then I got a part-time job with the local council. The hours I worked allowed me to make sure that both Peter and his brother Andrew went to school and that I was home when they came home, which was incredibly helpful. As they got older, I increased my hours and my friend who was a childminder looked after them until I finished work. She helped over the school holidays as well, giving me time to do everything else I needed to do.

When Pete went to college and was away from home, I became a full-time Office Manager. I was in this role for 15 years.”

Can you describe any significant moments of pride? (Other than every day as a parent, I’m sure!)

“Pete loves to bake, he made some scones and entered them into a competition and won first place! I was very proud of him and he was over the moon.

He also went to Fairfield Opportunity Farm where he learnt to ride horses and won rosettes.

After coming second a few times, Pete persevered and finally came first in a karaoke competition for singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way.”

What barriers do you think people with autism face when it comes to either finding a career or even whilst in their current job?

“I think some companies might be unsure of how to support people with autism in the workplace, but there are so many resources available to help.

I feel that companies should give autistic people a chance, get to know the person and then apply their abilities to work tasks. Anyone with autism could in fact be an asset to a business, they just learn a different way and need to be comfortable in their own environment. I know many people with autism who are incredibly intelligent and creative, this could bring so many benefits to a business.”

How could employers be more inclusive for parents of children with autism, or people with autism looking for jobs?

“Some larger companies could have open days, where everyone can come in and look around and speak to people in different departments, see it for themselves and learn how to improve.

Companies could have “buddies”, so they have a designated person they can go to for help or if they aren’t sure where to go or how to do a task.

Be open-minded, consider the benefits of having a diverse and creative workforce! Make simple changes to your employees’ working environment so they will be motivated and thrive.”

How do you encourage your child to be proud of who they are?

“Always talk about the person’s strengths, what do they love? Praise them, include them in everything, encourage them to be confident in trying new things and be there to support them.

Pete can be handy to have around when you are in a pub quiz. Or if anyone fancies a Victoria sponge!”

This certainly goes to show that all businesses can do more to support those with autism and encourage a more diverse workforce to benefit their company by adopting some very simple changes. We spoke to our partners, Pavilion Recruitment Solutions, about how

“The issues Lynda has highlighted are all too common in the workplace currently. Thankfully, recent initiatives are starting to make a difference, although there is still a long way to go. This is why Pavilion is proud to be partnered with iDAWN to make a small difference in the industry.” – Matt Gunn, Director

No one should EVER feel like they are not good enough because of their disability, especially autism. Be proud of who you are, be proud of having autism.


Autistic Pride


5 Top Tips Every Recruiter Wants You To Know

Our Insurance Finance Recruitment Consultant, Tom, shares his Top Tips on working with a Recruiter – read below to find out how to secure your ideal role!


Tip 1. Thinking about leaving a role? Make a list

One of the key questions we as Recruiters ask potential candidates is: “What are your motivations to leave your current role and why are you looking?”

Often candidates will answer with a combination of the following…

❇️High turnover in the team

❇️Poor management/leadership

❇️Lack of progression

❇️Being promised something that doesn’t happen

❇️Feel undervalued

❇️Overworked/Poor work-life balance

❇️No flexibility of working available (Hybrid working, agile working etc.)

❇️And, of course, salary

So how do we combat this? 🤷

The grass isn’t always greener but often it can be. 🏞️

Tip 2. Be honest with interview feedback

How feedback is delivered is highly important to a Recruitment Consultant. But what do I mean by this?

👨💼 Candidates – we need your full, honest, unfiltered feedback as soon as possible, ideally straight after the interview. We can then use this information to inform the client of how you are feeling, what is important to you for the job to therefore increase your likelihood of taking the role, and ultimately to understand where your head is at.

👩💼 Clients – as the old saying goes “time kills deals” and this is very relevant in recruitment. Slow or sluggish feedback switches the candidate off. They have taken the time to prepare, to answer your questions and to have met with you to discuss the position, so it’s good practice to let this person know as soon as you can whether they’re progressing in the process.

And what’s more important is ensuring that your feedback is concise and relevant, because there’s nothing worse than…

🍦 Vanilla feedback – probably the biggest bugbear in recruitment is vanilla, non-descriptive feedback. A few examples from clients being “they are just not for us” or “we had a concern over team fit”. From candidates, we often get “the role just isn’t right for me”. Be honest. Just relay your true thoughts.

Ultimately, feedback is always best served honestly and as quickly as possible. Feedback is very important from both sides, especially in a candidate-short market, where clients are all vying for the most top-quality talent for their team.

Tip 3. Stop focusing on what you haven’t done & focus on what you’ve achieved and developed instead

Often when reviewing peoples CV’s and job experience candidates may say things like: “I haven’t worked on this” or “I am a bit light in this area” or “I’ve touched on this area but it only makes up a small part of my role currently”.

When we then start talking about potential roles and new opportunities that thought process carries through to… “I am nervous to interview as my role is not as broad as it should be” or “I’ve done 90% of the job spec but this area I need more development on”

My advice is always to flip that on its head and hone in on what you have achieved, developed, and are currently working on, and how you are passionate to take on more and develop.

It is easy to seek out weaknesses in ourselves… but how about looking at what you have done and what you can do?

Further technical ability and competency can be taught and developed. What really counts f is your initiative, drive, hunger to learn, and attitude!

None of us is the finished article – even someone with 30 years experience in a given field can learn more.

Tip 4. Don’t be afraid to follow up

Let’s set the scene…

You had a job interview, you thought it went well, but now it’s been days… weeks even…

You just want to know whether you’ve got the job!

Should you keep searching? Should you give it another week? Wondering whether to follow up with your recruiter, but worried about what the verdict is?

🔋 Focus your energy on applying to jobs you’re qualified for.

This one’s a bit of a ‘pre-application’ tip, but we do get A LOT of applications from people who don’t have any relevant experience. Read the job spec carefully, check what’s required for the role, and take the time to tailor your application to the role so that when you do follow up, it’s likely to be good news!

💬 End the interview with the right questions.

Use the end of the interview as an opportunity to ask for comments there and then. “Do you have any thoughts or initial observations on how I would fit in? Is there anything about my experience you’d like to run through now?”. Even simply asking “when can I expect to hear from you” is good – it shows you’re interested in the position and gives you a timescale to put your mind at rest.

⏲️ Call your recruiter as soon as you can!

It’s important to speak to you as soon as possible to get your unfiltered feedback so that we can let the client know your feedback as soon as possible.

📧 📱When you do follow up, email AND call.

Every recruiter should be keeping you in the loop, however, everyone communicates differently. Contacting your recruiter through both means will not only show that you are eager to take up the opportunity, but it will also mean you have a better chance of a response.

Tip 5. Talk about salary

Salary. It’s one of the main reasons we work, right?

To put food on the table, provide for our families, and do the things we enjoy. But what should you consider to ensure you’re getting a salary that matches your workload?

💷 Salary aside – is your day to day role what you want to do? 8 hrs+ a day doing something you don’t like is not fun… regardless of money.

🤔 Have you benchmarked your salary? Salaries can range wildly even in a niche like Insurance. Do you know what people are earning working in your role in a different company?

📅 Let’s say you’ve been with your current company for 6 years – when was the last salary appraisal? Is your salary out of date?

🙊 A big one for me, become COMFORTABLE talking about salary, it is NOT a dirty word. You need to be able to talk to your Management and HR openly on this subject.

💳 Another example: you get a job offer, but your company proposes a counter offer which is massively higher than your current salary. Ask yourself, why exactly did it take for you to nearly leave the company for them to value you?

🔢 Have you got a target figure you are comfortable with? Remember, arguably the more you are paid, the more responsibility and work you will take on.


These Top 5 Tips are extremely important when you’re looking for your next role – and if you have any questions on the market or some insight on Insurance Finance roles or Insurance vacancies, myself and the team at Pavilion Recruitment Solutions would be more than happy to help.

Speak to one of our consultants 0203 764 2350

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