More than just a name change, says new chairman and industry veteran David Williams

The Chartered Insurance Institute has launched a new Society for Underwriting Professionals to replace the faculty structure as it looks to drive more industry engagement.

The chairman of the new Society’s Board is Axa’s David Williams, who has told Insurance Times that the change was due.

Williams, who was also chairman of the Faculty of Underwriting, said this was more than simply a name change.

“We launched the faculties and the scheme has been reasonably successful,” he explained. “They have done their bit and really if you hear the word faculty it sounds academic.

David williams

David Williams: ’It is a brilliant time to be an underwriter’

Williams said the new society would look to build greater consumer confidence, trust and focus on raising professional standards.

“It is a brilliant time to be an underwriter,” he added. “Automaton is having an effect and without a doubt some of the lower end underwriting will be automated in the future. But we now have a lot more tools at our disposal and data, so expectations are changing.”

He said the ability for underwriters to better understand and price risks was improving and would continue to do so.

“When I first began my career, we had two ratings for buildings for the entire country,” he added. “Now there are over 100 which gives the underwriter so much more ability to better price the risk.”

The use of technology did provide great opportunities for underwriters but there were also challenges, said Williams.

“The FCA’s recent pricing practice report and greater regulation to ensure customer protection will change things. But it should not be the compliance department telling the underwriter how to underwrite. We should be leading the process.”

It was now a case of engaging with the market to drive society membership.

“We want to get the message out about the society, ensure that the market understands the benefits and how they can contribute to it,” he added.