Behind the scenes: Meet our underwriters
Underwriting can be the difference between winning and losing business. It’s fundamental in both the customer experience and in the profitability of life business. There are lots of discussions and articles about underwriting and its future, and it’s pretty clear that the role of the underwriter is evolving as rapidly as technology is advancing.
The focus of our underwriting is to offer a fair and reasonable price for insurance, to try to offer cover to as many people as possible and to make the process as easy and straight forward as we can, whether that is through manual processes or through implementing new and innovative technology. At AIG Life, we have a team of 56 expert underwriters with over 300 years underwriting experience between them. We wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our specialist underwriters:
Sara Pirie, Pre Sales Underwriter
"I'm Sara Pirie, I live just outside of Edinburgh and work from home. I have been underwriting for 15 years, 3.5 years with AIG Life and previously with Aegon. My job with AIG is to assess the risk for Life, Critical Illness and Disability benefits. Our time is split mainly between assessing initial applications, medical evidence or dealing with enquiries on our Underwriting Pre-Sales Helpline.
This role suits me as I have always had an interest in all things medical and with things constantly evolving in that area you are always learning something new. The Pre-Sales Helpline is manned entirely by underwriters and gives advisers a chance to talk directly to us about their concerns for any potential clients and how we would look at them from an underwriting point of view. This allows us to share our knowledge directly with advisers and can often give us the chance to explain the rationale behind our decisions and what our concerns are, which should hopefully go some way to help with explaining if there is an increase in premiums due to any additional risk."
Scott Robertson, High Net Worth Underwriter
Our High Net Worth team is made up of six specialist underwriters, all expert in assessing complex financial and business protection risks. Meet Scott, our leading High Net Worth underwriter.
"I’m a senior underwriter at AIG Life. I’ve worked here for 8 years which covers our time as Fortis, Ageas and now AIG Life. I’ve been underwriting for around 16 years having previously worked at Scottish Provident and Scottish Equitable/Aegon.
At AIG, as well as being a senior underwriter, I’m also part of the High Net Worth team. The High Net Worth team consist of our 6 most senior underwriters and we deal with all our ‘premier cases’ and all cases submitted by brokers on our wealth account panel. The ‘premier cases’ are applications which are generally for larger sums assured and by their nature are more complex cases to process. To make for a smoother journey, these cases are underwritten by one underwriter from start to finish, which allows for a consistent approach and a single point of contact should any questions arise.
I enjoy working at AIG because of the consistent willing to improve on what we do. When I first joined we financially underwrote cases over £500,000, however we’ve now progressed to the point where we can accept up to £3,000,000 from the application form. I particularly enjoy dealing with the complexity of our large cases as it really gives something to ‘get your teeth in to’. As a result of the work that has gone in to our product, we now regularly get enquiries for over £10m life cover and the largest case I’ve underwritten and is on risk is for over £60m. It’s seeing results like this that makes all the work worth it."
Richard Bridge,Technical Architect
We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of technology and innovation and have a team of 7 Underwriting & Claims Strategy specialists who work in this area. Meet Richard, our development underwriting technical architect:
"I have been with AIG Life for around 10 years and I am now the Technical Architect for the Underwriting & Claims Strategy team. I have been developing our online underwriting systems for around 6/7 years and due to the continuously changing nature of the protection industry and advances in medical sciences, there is always a lot of system development for us to do. Trying to stay one-step ahead of your competitors from a technological and underwriting point of view makes the role itself incredibly challenging, as we are constantly trying to push the limits of our system and underwriting capabilities.
The most enjoyable aspects of my role are helping to bring in new partnerships and intermediaries and designing new online propositions with them that are tailored around their customers’ needs and requirements.
We have a lot of system changes coming up over the next 12 months that are focused on speeding up the underwriting process for large and complicated cases where medical evidence is required, as well as widening the access to insurance for customers who have more complicated medical histories with conditions such as cancer, diabetes and HIV.
With so many advances in technology, such as wearable tech that helps to monitor lifestyle and certain medical conditions, the next challenge will be how we can, as a company, adopt these technologies and utilise them so we can make the underwriting process even slicker and faster. The simple fact is, the protection gap within the UK is still too large, so we need to do everything we can to help our advisers and partners get the people that require protection covered as soon and as easily as possible."
Whether they are looking at medical reports, complex financial reports or designing system rules, our underwriters are passionate about what they do. We hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse behind the scenes of underwriting at AIG Life.
Our Pre Sales Underwriting team are contactable from Monday to Thursday from 8:30 am - 8:00 pm and Friday 8.30am - 5:30 pm on 0345 600 6812.