Allianz Cornhill is attempting to reverse a decline in underwriting skills over the past few years with the creation of an Underwriting Academy at its Ewhurst Training College.

General manager Andrew Torrance said the insurer's combined ratio could be improved by as much as two percentage points by improving the standards of its 400 underwriters. He said that underwriting standards had noticeably deteriorated across the industry, which he attributed to the spate of mergers and acquisitions.

He added that the new academy would have three benefits: “We want to become an underwriting led-organisation, as well as gaining a reputation for having the most skilled underwriters in the market place and becoming the insurer of choice for the underwriters themselves.”

The academy offers cradle to grave underwriting training which is structured around four levels. By the end of the year all Allianz Cornhill's underwriters will have received academy training at a level appropriate to their skills.