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Underwriters of the future

AXA's new underwriter Chris Baguley describes how the role of the underwriter is changing.

Friday, June 27th 2003, 8:56AM
Underwriters, those back room boffins who make the all important decisions about which proposals life insurers should accept, are being forced to take a front line role in the business.

AXA’s new underwriter and claims manager Chris Baguley says that there is a big period of change going on at the moment.

“We are trying to come out of the dark ages.”

He says the role of an underwriter is changing from the traditional one of being a technical back room person (a glorified data entry operator) to one who interacts with people such as clients and advisers.

“The fact is underwriters do have to have social skills.”

AXA’s latest development in this area, besides appointing Baguley, is to have underwriters in the field who can go out and visit clients with advisers.

He describes this as a move towards “the social underwriter”.

The other big change he sees is that underwriting will become an automated process where an adviser submits an application online and it gets processed automatically.

This sort of process happens in financial planning where the adviser collects data from the client and that is inputted into a programme which produces a plan.

Besides the “social underwriter” there will also be the “super-underwriter”.

This person will deal with the more complex proposals which don’t fit within the automated system.

Baguley says the automated underwriting will improve turnaround times and provide consistency of service.

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