Zurich North America has been investing in predictive analytics since 2006, but a dozen years later, the organization’s chief underwriting officer stresses the idea that the human element in underwriting is ever present.

Executive Summary

"There's no better time to be a commercial underwriter than today," says Zurich NA CUO Geno Fernandez, explaining that with predictive analytics and automation tools empowering underwriters' decisions, they can focus on the essence of their jobs. "What we do is we actually listen carefully to problems and use evidence in order to solve and structure simpler solutions. At the core, that's what an underwriter does," he tells Carrier Management, also reflecting on his own career and the future of underwriting.

“What we’re focused on in this relationship-driven industry is augmenting and supporting our underwriters to help them make better business decisions and to better serve our customers,” said Geno Fernandez, responding to a question about how emerging technology, automation and predictive analytics fit into the landscape of underwriting today. “But those business decisions are made in the context of trust-based human relationships,” he said.

Appropriately, Fernandez reports that when he looks to hire underwriters, technical underwriting knowledge isn’t the be all and end all of a great candidate. The first question he poses to potential Zurich underwriters goes something like this: “Does it give you life to actually sit down with people to listen and to help them solve problems?”

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