SOUP has been designed to provide technical advice and support for underwriting professionals, as well as professional developmental support. It will be shepherded by David Williams, Managing Director of Underwriting at AXA Insurance.
“The faculties that had existed up to now had done a good job of creating a forum,” said Philip Williams (no relation), Non-Executive Director of SOUP. “But the launch of the society is more of a professional grouping and that then changes the governance, so it has relevance within the CII. So, I think it’s quite exciting.
“Our membership [is] living through the biggest changes in underwriting potentially ever. That comes through changes in distribution and what underwriters do – there have been scary headlines around automation and underwriters being under threat. I don’t think that [underwriters will be replaced by machines] but the skills that underwriters use going forward are going to change. There needs to be a place for underwriters to hear about these issues, understand what’s happening within other areas of the business, understand use cases and best practice on how they can change what they are thinking about and how they can enhance their continued professional development to focus on the right things.”
Another of SOUP’s key roles will be to gather member feedback, in order to represent the full spectrum of businesses, and demographics within those businesses.
The board also features Mandy Hunt, RSA’s Chief Underwriting Officer; Janet Edey, Chubb’s Head of Management Liability for the UK and Ireland; Sophie Ezadkhasty, an energy casualty underwriter at Swiss Re; and Karen Shaw, NFU Mutual Insurance’s Head of Commercial Underwriting.