Chief Underwriting Officer, UK & Ireland

Pailin Group Executive Search

Chief Underwriting Officer, UK & Ireland

Job ID #: 5175

Location(s): UK

Employment Type: Permanent - Full time

Preferred Education: Degree  

Job Description

Our client is known for insuring the homes of the rich and famous through to the most innovative technology companies. Our customers are diverse and unique and are only united by our ability to provide specialist insurance tailored to their needs.

Central to  UK and Ireland’s continuous ambition of profitable growth, the Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) leads the underwriting function for the entire business across a number of capital bases. S/he is responsible for defining the underwriting appetite, ensuring that the portfolio stays true to that appetite and empowering the UK&I Development Underwriters to make intelligent, profitable decisions within that framework.

The CUO acts as a key voice on the UK&I Retail business to reach its vision - identifying growth opportunities, innovating our product set, evolving our underwriting appetite, anticipating and reacting to market trends, and driving profitability across the portfolio.

The successful candidate must have the flexibility to operate across a wide range of products and exposures: property, casualty and specialty. As such, the role requires strong core knowledge of the UK insurance markets and the legal and regulatory framework. The wide range of customers from sole trader to multinational requires the ability to range from portfolio underwriting a book of homogeneous risks using analytics to being able to apply seasoned judgement on individual accounts. As the insurance industry becomes increasingly technology and data-driven, s/he must be able to drive our risk, selection and pricing approach through that data evolution.

In addition to proven technical skills, the successful candidate must be credible leader of people and teams. S/he must lead the Underwriting Team directly as well as empower the Development Underwriters in an effective way, both face-to-face and remotely. In addition, this is a high-visibility role in the organization and the successful candidate must have the credibility and presence to interact with the Group Executive Committee, the Board, and senior external stakeholders like brokers, partners, and reinsurers.

Key responsibilities:

  1. As a member of the UK Steering group, help shape and drive the overall strategy
  2. Own and drive the underwriting strategy and appetite for  UK & Ireland
  3. Ensure delivery of the top and bottom line of the business plan
  4. Constant review of underwriting, rating and performance - reporting to the UK Steering Group, HIC Board and  Group
  5. Ensure appropriate systems and controls are in place and adhered to for the monitoring of underwriting activities, including e.g. exposure, income & aggregates
  6. Set and monitor underwriting authority limits for underwriters
  7. Carry out and oversee technical underwriting reviews
  8. Ensure appropriateness of the reinsurance (RI) program via the RI Purchase Group
  9. Represent UK and Ireland at the Group Quarterly Business Reviews, quarterly reserving review and other Executive forums, playing an active role regarding claims reserving, loss ratio forecasting, capital allocation and pricing
  10. Chair and drive the Underwriting, Product and Pricing committee
  11. Ensuring a logical, reasoned and measured pricing methodology for each line
  12. Identify and drive new product opportunities, overseeing the technical and pricing aspects of product development
  13. Responsible for signing off new policy wording and significant changes to existing
  14. Technical underwriting training and development for all underwriters
  15. Recruitment of key underwriting staff

Day to Day Underwriting Management

  • Management and leadership of Underwriting Managers, Deputy CUO, Head of Art and Private Client, Head of pricing and other senior employees.
  • Handle incoming risk referrals and refer those outside of personal authority to Retail CUO
  • Mentor and develop underwriting talent within the UK, through training and empowerment
  • Support channel MDs in:-
    • Assessment of new business opportunities
    • Discussions with brokers and partners
    • Driving the required change and transformation programs
  • Review loss information to identify systemic issues
  • Oversee the underwriting audit and risk modelling functions
  • Review aggregate exposures and allocation of aggregate
  • Co-ordinate with Group on the “Cat bet” 

Group Underwriting Risk Management

  • Implement the Group Underwriting Risk Management framework
  • Prepare and publish Group Underwriting Review papers
  • Write / update pricing and underwriting policies for the business
  • Liaise with the Group capital modelling team (and Group actuaries) to ensure that the inputs for the UK business are appropriate
  • Liaise with Group Product Heads where appropriate
  • Ensure compliance to the relevant Audit, Compliance and Risk frameworks


  • Own the reinsurance appetite and placement for  UK & Ireland and ensure that the right balance of risk versus reward is achieved
  • Ensure capital adequacy through suitable internal reinsurance where appropriate

Person Specification
Ideal experience

The ideal candidate will possess excellent interpersonal skills required to drive profitable growth of ’the UK&I Retail business. S/he should possess highly developed analytical capability to understand data, identity trends as well as spot opportunities.  is an entrepreneurial, open, straightforward and fact-based culture. It is important that the leader can balance strategic vision with excellent execution.

10+ years of technical insurance experience.  The ideal candidate will possess a minimum of ten years technical experience with a reputable insurance carrier across a broad range of property, casualty and specialty lines.

Track record of top and bottom line growth
The individual should be highly results driven and have a track record of delivering material, demonstrable and commercial success
People leadership and development
A strong commercial leader with a demonstrable track record in attracting and developing talent
Strong academic credentials
A good undergraduate degree is required and an advanced degree and/or professional certificate in the insurance industry is highly desirable.
Critical Leadership Capabilities:
Driving results

  • Highly results driven, with energy and determination to succeed in a fast paced environment
  • Ability to implement decisive change and be an advocate of technology to advance results
  • Think strategically and act pragmatically to balance short term and long term results 

Collaborating and influencing

  • Ability to lead and inspire a team.
  • Team-orientated and enjoy contributing to the overall success of the company
  • Strong written and oral communication skills; a good listener and assimilator of ideas
  • Comfortable and skilled at operating in a matrix management structure
  • Have a high degree of confidence and maturity, able to influence across all levels

    Other personal characteristics
  • Highest professional and personal standards
  • Creative, proactive and innovative
  • Tenacity and decisiveness, with the courage to take risks
  • Curious

Well-qualified professionals please forward resume/CV along with compensation requirements to

The Pailin Group Professional Search Consultants

Franz Reutier  International Division Group Manager