Beyond the Phone Interview
Dedicated Contract Underwriters
Work When You Need Them
The demand for experienced underwriters is back. 2013 has been the best hiring year for underwriters since before the financial crisis. Perhaps not as strong as it was prior to 2008 but not bad considering where the economy has been.
Home offices have hired permanent underwriters and are increasingly relying on vendors to provide APS summaries and contract underwriters to manage peak workloads. This can be a good strategy, but from a company standpoint engaging contract underwriters doesn't always provide an immediate benefit. It takes time to get contract underwriters trained. Once trained, it’s a different story. The company is able to have a good feel for the effectiveness of a particular contact underwriter and develops a comfort level.
But what happens when the need for additional underwriting capacity reduces to less than full time or goes away entirely? The company risks losing that trained contract underwriter.
The reality is that while there is always a need for overflow underwriting capacity the exact timing of the need is not entirely predictable. To get the most out of its investment in training a contract underwriter, wouldn't it be great to be able to engage the same resource on an as-needed basis only paying for the time you need?
Imagine having an underwriter you are already comfortable with, available full time for year end. By mid-January you say to the underwriter, "Have a nice winter.” When spring rolls around you bring back the same underwriter part time. And when summer vacation season hits, it's full time if a home office underwriter is on vacation and part time when at full staff. In September your contract underwriter takes a break and it's back to as-needed from late fall through the end of the year.
The key to making this scenario happen is recruiting an underwriter who has work/life goals that match the need of the company. Underwriters who don't mind working hard and then taking a break. Underwriters who enjoy serving and being appreciated by an underwriting department. The good news is, this talent is out there and IBU has tapped into it.
IBU employs experienced underwriters many of whom have a desire for work life balance. Many have made a lifestyle choice to no longer work in the home office. These underwriters do however, have the desire to remain active in their chosen profession and to incorporate underwriting (as well as few extra dollars) into their life. They are willing to work full time but only for a limited period. These underwriters are ideal candidates for insurance companies that have a permanent, yet unpredictable need for overflow underwriting capacity.