Aug 13, 2013 1 min read

Ethics and Underwriting – five themes every insurer needs to consider

Over the last couple of years, I’ve looked at the ethical dimension to a variety of underwriting practices. These have ranged from the topical, such as flood insurance and telematics, to the fundamental, such as personalisation and privacy. Underlying all this has been a set of themes as to what constitutes the ethics of underwriting; in all, an approach to underwriting worthy of an insurer that has chosen integrity as one of its corporate values.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be publishing a series of five blog posts that bring together and explore those themes about what constitutes the ethics of underwriting. These will build on and extend an earlier series on ethics and underwriting from 2011, the focus of which was more on how an underwriter could use ethics and values to achieve better portfolio results.

The five themes in this new series will provide an underwriting director with an overview of what is important ethically at each stage of the underwriting cycle. This ‘bigger picture’ perspective will allow him/her to take a more structured and consistent approach to managing the strengths and weaknesses of existing practices, as well as reviewing the introduction of new techniques and technologies.

While the Financial Conduct Authority’s thematic review into personal lines claims will be causing many insurers to be focussing on their claims operations, the ‘proximate cause’ of many ethical issues in claims lies firmly with how the original policy was designed and underwritten. That isn’t lost on the FCA and I wouldn’t be surprised if some form of underwriting review was to follow not long after their claims review has been concluded.

The first post will come out later this week, about what to look for ethically at a policy’s design stage. As ever, your thoughts and comments on this or any of the subsequent themes are always welcome.

Duncan Minty
Duncan Minty
Duncan has been researching and writing about ethics in insurance for over 20 years. As a Chartered Insurance Practitioner, he combines market knowledge with a strong and independent radar on ethics.
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