“Resolved: Underwriters Must Be Increasingly Prudent In Their …"

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I have been part of many panels before many an audience over my four decades in the life and health insurance business. Usually a panelist is constrained from being controversial or opinionated by the ground rules laid down by either the moderator or the organization running the event. Traditionally from my recollections there have been very few meetings of underwriters where the panel is controversial, meaningful fun and leaves the audience with a message to think about. 

In 1994 George Brennan, ...

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Is There Life After Underwriting? ( A History Lesson Perhaps?)

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I wrote the following article as it was part of a presentation I did with the great Don Frost at the January 1983 Cholua Seminar. In a recent search of my archives for background material for a book I came across the article. After reading it I felt that today’s underwriters should read it as a history lesson. Today’s leadership should read it to show that some things change for the worse — the lack of meaningful industry statistics on ...

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Hate To Be Critical Of One’s Hosts, But …

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I was still not convinced 100% by the end of the day. But now lets fill in the information I took away from a day with peers.

Being outside the decision making spectrum of the insurance world it is less likely that I would be invited to an industry leader’s (who services the risk selection domain) infomercial masked behind meals and golf. When asked I said yes not because of the meals or the golf (my golf game needs much remedial ...

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Financial Underwriting, Why Bother?

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When an underwriting historian looks at the subject of financial underwriting, they quickly come to the realization that the conflict/confusion/befuddlement in the different perspectives between underwriter and advisor has existed since days when we could not agree on the value of the inventor of the wheel as a key man! History being so out of vogue today I will skip the horse and buggy, the two great wars, the moon landing and the Cold War so I can jump to ...

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Jumbo Limits Compensating For Terrible Administration

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Before most readers were born, and for those that were they were still thinking mathematics was a lucrative career choice, reinsurance played a trivial role in the life insurance industry. In Canada 0.04% (rounded up of course) of all life risk was reinsured in 1969. There was a slightly higher percentage in the USA but my notes and memory failed to enlighten me as I wrote this article. Believe it or not for you youngsters, reinsurance was a follower and ...

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Two Hymn Books and Two Choir Masters

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or Advisors Never Refer To Underwriters As Refulgent (A Geck Maybe but Never Refulgent)

A 2011 opinion on the relationship between advisor and underwriter.

 

Many many years ago I wrote an article for the now dormant Marketing Options magazine (dearly missed by all while fondly remembered by writers and readers) about the conflict often created by miscommunication or no communication between advisor and underwriter. Thus, to say that the seemingly constant battle to get a life or living benefit insurance application through ...

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An Actuary, an Underwriter and a Marketer In A Boat

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Okay they were not in a boat but rather on a stage in Toronto in front of a couple of hundred underwriters and those that love to hang around underwriters. It was the one part of a two day meeting that I really wanted to see and hear even though the meeting overall conflicted with other travel and client commitments. I thought it and lunch would be worth the day’s admission price. I was able to slide into the back ...

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Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) AGM 2008

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The miscommunication between actuary and underwriter ranks right up there with the disconnect stemming from communication screw ups between advisor and underwriter. This session with the counter point being supplied by a young actuary tried hard to explain that the two sides must talk. We tried to show why they must talk. We tried to show how previous decades of only mythical communication had hurt our industry. Why some actuaries appear to see communicating with underwriters as almost demeaning has ...

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Cooperators’ Agents – Red Deer 2008

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I had the good fortune to be asked several times to present to the Cooperators agents/advisors in regional meetings. Each time I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the heart and soul of our business as represented by Cooperators distribution forces. They ask challenging questions and do not settle for casual answers. I was impressed at how eager they were to understand who is taking risk. Who sets the rules for underwriting? Why reinsurers are so dictatorial (a misconception perhaps fuelled by passive ...

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ICIRM 2008

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Curacao in May is not as great as Curacao in January for a Canuck! This risk management meeting had attendance over 100 and represented various disciplines within claims and underwriting, from leaders to adjudicators. I started my travels with Caribbean adventures as an M&G traveller spreading the gospel of underwriting and reinsurance from the Bahamas to Guyana. The opportunity to return to the region and bring them up to date on reinsurance was a highlight of the year. The world ...

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