In the first part of this series I explored the European Life Underwriting market and the must know health trends in this region. Now it's time to apply our knowledge of the North American underwriting market to this region.
One thing we’ve learned from our experience in the North American underwriting market is the importance of building a strong team of underwriters. While there are several factors involved in this, the one I’ll touch on in this blog is education. This will ensure your team of underwriters has both the rudimentary knowledge of medical impairments plus an expert understanding of your market. So how do you set up your team for success, equip them with the right knowledge and develop their ability to effectively manage risk?
Follow these 4 steps to build a strong team of underwriters:
1. Ensure your team’s capabilities are in line with Industry Best Practices
We use an AIM Methodology (Assess, Improve & Maintain) to define clear and strategic goals for any initiative. For Underwriting Leaders, your team should have the necessary expertise for medical impairments to ensure that your company’s risk exposure is properly managed.
2. Assess team strengths and knowledge gaps
The Assess portion of the AIM methodology is one of the most important but often overlooked steps when developing strategic initiatives. For Underwriters, having a clear idea of any strengths or knowledge deficiencies will allow for a specialized learning plan to ensure that additional training and study can be focused in the correct areas. Methods that has proved successful for us include Quality and Performance Audits, Examination Results or an Underwriting Review. Remember the assessment can be internal or external, you can also benefit from incorporating both.
PRO TIP: Using an independent reviewer allows you to gain unbiased, objective feedback about your team’s Underwriting capabilities.
3. Build a plan to fill knowledge gaps
Now that you have assessed your team’s Underwriting capabilities, use these insights to Improve upon any knowledge gaps. This is especially important if there are any deficiencies in medical impairments that are common within your market. Setting specific and measurable goals for your team to close these knowledge gaps will improve their audit results and aid in their designation studies.
PRO TIP: Using an online Underwriting E-Learning Program allows your team to learn at their own pace with minimal impact on production – allowing your team to maintain a focus on their core competencies.
4. Maintain and grow a successful team
Now that you’ve addressed the issue of any knowledge gaps – it is still important to Maintain your team’s knowledge and capabilities through Continuous Learning to keep up with advancements in medicine and trends in the industry. As we like to say, Knowledge is People, and your team has a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be drawn from.
PRO TIP: Try implementing Underwriting Case Clinics to enforce consistency across your team by sharing your team’s knowledge across different levels of Underwriters.
I’ve touched on a few of the many resources out there that can help you develop as an underwriter and build a strong team. But there are definitely others to consider including:
Joining Industry Associations
- Toronto Claims Association
- Academy of Life Underwriting
- Canadian Institute of Underwriters
- Association of Home Office Underwriters
- European Life and Health Underwriters’ Association
Leveraging online resources
- Access annual publications published digitally from organizations like World Health Organization, PwC, and Ernst & Young
- Join relevant LinkedIn groups including Life Insurance Underwriters, Insurance Professionals, Insurance Underwriter's Professional Network
- Free industry resources such as eGuides and digital whitepapers
Loved the insights from this two-part series? Download the European Health Trends Cheat Sheet For Life Underwriters here: