Insurance Broking & Underwriting
At its simplest level, insurance is like any other product with a buyer, a seller and a middleman to bring the two together. Insurance brokers are known as intermediaries and their clients are the buyers of insurance, known as insureds or assureds. Brokers place their insurance with insurers, known as underwriters, who may be insurance companies or, in the case of the Lloyd’s market, insurance syndicates.
Traditionally insurance brokers earn their living from commissions on the business placed, but nowadays there is also a trend towards providing fee-based services.
Producing and placing broker roles commonly overlap, but for simplicity’s sake producing brokers win the business, and placing brokers place the business. Technicians support them and do the back office and client care work, while claims brokers pick up the pieces and present their clients’ claims to the underwriters’ claims departments as well as negotiate payments.
Brokers are experts who specialise within market niches, acting as advisors to clients on a broad range of products to help them manage and mitigate risks to their business. While in many cases it may just be a question of covering a simple risk with a standard insurance policy, we are also talking about complex global interlocking risk management strategies for major businesses.
There are many classes of insurance within the marine market. The main classes are:
- Hull & Machinery (Hull or H&M)
- Protection & Indemnity (P&I)/Liability
There is also a range of more specialist risks covered, including war risk, political risks, loss of hire and industrial action.
Example job titles
Broker Technician, Claims Broker, Placing Broker, Producing Broker.
Where can I work in insurance broking?
Everywhere, but London is still the leading centre.
Key skills and experience
- There are no formal entry requirements, but nowadays it is usual to enter with a degree. Subjects such as shipping, law, economics, management or a numerical degree are the most attractive to employers. Professional training and qualifications are available from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII). Some employers insist that staff take them, most value them.
- Personality, discretion and good communications skill are important as brokers need to develop business, and persuade underwriters to take a piece of business or to pay a claim. Attention to detail and accuracy is also important.
- Competition is fierce nowadays and there are fewer, but larger, brokers because of a spate of mergers and consolidations.
- Underwriting roles generally require good numeracy and, as they have a business development focus, underwriters also tend to be confident outgoing individuals due to the nature of ‘dealing with others’ in this role.
Get in touch
To find out more about these roles please get in touch with the team.
Tom Brooks, Senior Recruitment Consultant
Hayley Menere, Senior Recruitment Consultant
Jay Farr, Recruitment Resourcer