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I Am an Underwriter (Regardless of the titles and distractions along the way)

I started when I was 20, 30, 40 or some other age.

I was educated in business, nursing, philosophy, abstract mathematics or every thing else imaginable.

I am not an actuary, accountant, or agent and I do not want to be.

I am an underwriter, but honestly, I do not know how I ended up in this occupation.

I use the best judgement to insure I differentiate risk in a fair and equitable fashion.

Underwriters do not get their “jollies” by declining risk, but rather by saying yes to policy issue.

My tools are not witchcraft, chicanery or obstinacy.

My tools are the best available sources of information from medicine, actuarial science, legal and regulatory.

My task is to wear Joseph’s multi coloured coat of experience and extrapolation to make a decision.

I know the answer is a mix of science and common sense, with art only in the delivery.

I know the science must be current and accurate.

The art must be more of the pot I blend the information in than any main ingredient.

Underwriters are neither “fish nor fowl” and have struggled with their identity for decades.

I know the great commercial underwriters worry little about their moniker and lots about the quality of their decision.

I live with the reality that every life I underwrite will eventually get sick, have an accident, have a critical illness, need long term care and then die.

I just do not know when each will occur and never pretend I do.

I read the saddest of medical files and take their secrets to my grave or at least my dementia.

I am not a mind reader, clairvoyant, prognosticator, or perfect predictor of anything beyond the averages.

I have empathy with many and sympathy for most.

I am computer literate but lack modern software or processes to maximize my talents.

I know the age of expert systems is here and is the way of the future, but no one said the future is always for tomorrow.

I am fearful for the jobs of my peers but positive enough to know I and the other best of breed will more than survive.

I and others will succeed; no, excel, in the new regimes ahead.

Now and in the future I can acknowledge the work I do is “professional” and rewarding.

Underwriters now and ever more play a significant role in risk management.

I am an underwriter, plain and simple yet complex and ever morphing.

By Ross A. Morton

Reflecting as he flies from here to there or was it there to here?