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Better Relationships = Better Experiences

A Day in the Life of an Underwriter

Posted in Professional Development

Author: Phil Knutson

Working in insurance has run in my family for generations.

My father, preceded by my grandfather, owned an insurance company and taught me the ins and outs of the industry, running a business, and the balancing of life along with it.

My Road to JM Wilson

I was born and raised in Madison, Wis. and earned my bachelor's degree in human resources from the University of Milwaukee.

After I graduated from college, I was offered an assistant position at my father’s company where I found enjoyment working in a family business in the insurance industry. I learned a lot from my father through taking business trips and engaging in several networking and educational activities such as dinners and conventions. 

Prior to joining JM Wilson in 2021, I grew my experience working in the industry for over 10 years at a general agency out of Madison where I served as an underwriter for Public Auto.

My Typical Day

My mornings are spent handling urgent emails that need my attention first and foremost. After that, I follow up with other people, whether they be agents, carriers, or coworkers, to help keep different tasks moving forward.

Then, my team gets together for a meeting to discuss our goals while doing our best to ask and answer any questions from one another.

The light banter that happens in between questions is good for our morale and keeps things lighthearted despite the stress of our work. I always enjoy a good laugh with my team, even when I end up being the punchline’s victim. Laughter is a great way to start the day.

After meetings, I refill my coffee mug and work on endorsement requests or quote revisions for new opportunities that have an effective date approaching rapidly. By lunchtime, I’m answering emails and working on new submissions from agents, completing as many as I can before the end of the day.

While handling these daily tasks, I’m also clearing and reserving submissions with carriers. When it comes to my email inbox, there can be a lot of in-and-out. I do my best to get to everything during the day, but if there’s something urgent that I can’t get to, I log back on to my computer later and get it done.

What Brings Me Joy

The relationship-building that happens in my job with agents, carriers, and co-workers fills my cup every day. I love being able to provide the best experience possible to the agents I work with, knowing that they’re able to serve their clients well. It’s relationship-building that has an impact beyond just me and an agent.

When I’m not in work mode, you can find me doing anything outside. My favorite thing to do is fish out of my kayak. I have a young daughter who is always keeping me on my toes, and I cannot wait to take her out on the boat this summer for her first bass fishing experience.

Overcoming Challenges & Sharing Advice

As I said before, there’s a lot of in and out of my inbox on a daily basis. Several different people need several different things from me, and it’s my responsibility to provide them with what they need.

That being said, it can be challenging to find a work-life balance. It’s a fast-paced environment and industry, and when people are relying on you, especially for items that need to be resolved urgently, it’s sometimes hard to apply the appropriate amount of time.

For someone who is new to the role, I would encourage them to ask for help when needed and to take breaks. Get up, stretch, and go refill your water or coffee. If it’s your lunch break, go take your dog for a walk or run to the grocery store to get what you need for making dinner later. Giving yourself time to step away allows you to return more focused and get things done.

Additionally, whenever I’m working on a challenging account, I reach out to multiple co-workers to see how they would handle the situation to determine the best solution. You never know the solutions that could result from a fresh perspective.

Working in Partnership

In order to give the best experience to agents, it’s crucial that I receive all of the required information for quoting when a risk is submitted. When we have to go back and forth on an account, it can make both our jobs less efficient.

I particularly appreciate it when an agent calls me directly to discuss a risk prior to sending in an application. This allows me the opportunity to briefly review the risk and advise if it’s something we would be able to write for them as well as let them know what is needed to provide a quote.

Underwriting for JM Wilson has been a rewarding experience for me through and through. In addition to keeping on the family tradition, I look forward to the relationships, both old and new, that will continue to develop in this role and the impact they’ll have down the road.

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