Underwriters Get Burnout, Too

Burnout is something that underwriters know about, personally, say industry experts.

“The stress in these jobs never stops,” says Samuel Marotta, an underwriting advocate at the Herman Agency Inc., an Oak Brook, Ill., brokerage general agency. Marotta used to be a company underwriter himself but left after 29 years, citing “unrelenting and unremitting stress.”

In the past several months, a number of experienced company underwriters have reportedly left their positions, too, citing burnout.

“Unrealistic expectations concerning productivity” are fueling much of this, posits Marotta. For example, “new technologies seemingly make the job easier,” he says, but then company executives develop their own ideas on how this should improve productivity, and producers develop their own timeline imperatives on case flow.

Meanwhile, he says, there is pressure to do more with the fewest possible people; to work with more complex products involving greater scrutiny; to work long hours; to have decisions constantly audited; and to accommodate the aging population by reviewing more applications having a variety of conditions.

The industry needs to set appropriate expectations, Marotta contends. “Information technology can help but not with the judgmental aspect” that underwriting requires.

–Linda Koco


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, November 11, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.