Fabian joined Beazley, Munich, in January 2022 after wrapping up his Master Thesis in Business Administration at Humboldt University Berlin. During his studies, he gained first underwriting experience as a working student in the Swiss Financial Lines insurance market, then based in Zurich.
When friends ask me what it’s like to work as an Underwriter, I tend to respond that being an underwriter is interesting because of its roughly three-part focus.
1. Analytical, as the risk analysis requires an underwriter to filter information in submissions, understand a multitude of business cases, and come up with a premium that is appropriate given the risk transferred onto his book.
2. Administrative, as there clearly are tasks that are essential parts of any underwriter’s schedule. Some of these tasks are more satisfying than others, but a well-maintained client file makes any risk review more of a checklist.
And last but not least 3. Communication, as negotiations for accounts and business, often via broker partners, are crafted from relationships and need to be maintained and actively developed.
I arrive at the office after a bike ride in the fresh air through the historical city centre of Munich. After a cappuccino and a short catch-up with my colleagues from the various departments, I’m ready and motivated to get to work.
Preparations for the day. I check my inbox and update my diary. A broker has been chasing on an account, an investment fund with multiple sub-funds. We require further information on the investor profiles before we can quote an offer for coverage. I decide to give the broker a call- a great opportunity to also exchange recent news and market developments in general.
The financial lines underwriting team meets. Some of my colleagues work from different locations in Germany and across Europe, so we dial in from one of our meeting rooms. State of the art communication equipment facilitates our collaboration. Our weekly catch-ups are moderated by the our financial lines country manager. We talk about account developments, relevant market updates, and our workloads. I have additional capacity and therefore am open to receive new business opportunities from colleagues to prepare.
Just the right time for coffee. Along with fresh fruit that is ready in the office kitchen I have a chat with one of our senior underwriters. We exchange plans for weekend activities, weather forecasts and snow conditions in the Alps.
Back to work on the new business opportunities. For documentation, I administer the accounts in our file system. I ensure no other Beazley Underwriter is working on this submission. Then I prepare the Risk Analysis. Basically, I draft an overview of the company’s financials and document it in our actuarial tool. Then, I write a referral for further discussions with another member of the team. This is an opportunity to double-check and learn from experienced colleagues.
The telephone rings. A broker calls. He has not heard back from the client regarding an offer we had previously sent out and asks for a binding deadline extension that we grant. I confirm via e-mail.
Lunch plans begin to be discussed. A colleague from our legal department comes along. We agree on take-out from a salad-bar close by. On our way back we have an Espresso at Viktualienmarkt across the street. Within legal, he assists a range of teams internationally with wordings questions, in Canada, LATAM, and Italy to name a few. On our way we talk about their wordings under development.
An Underwriting Call is held as a video conference by the risk management department of a large multinational freight and logistics corporation. I prepared questions which the broker requested ahead of the meeting, and the presentation covers in detail all questions raised, including those by other insurance representatives that take part in the call.
Right after the call I write a Memo that I place in the client folder to keep track of further discussion points raised in the call. This prepares me for the eventual call-for-offers down the road.
Referral Discussion. I see that my referral point for the new business opportunity prepared earlier has a gap in her diary and her status is “available”. I give her a call and we discuss my draft and applicable wording adjustments. After I include additional points from her feedback, I receive the sign-off and send off our offer.
As the sun already sets on this winter day, I receive a reminder for mandatory Compliance training due soon. I start the training on our online learning platform and after the session is completed, challenge our wording analyst from Italy for a game of table football.
We toast with “Helles” (Bavarian Beer) around the corner of the office and call it a day.