The CUO role in insurance companies has traditionally focused on maintaining underwriting standards, driving underwriting quality, and balancing capital utilization across the different lines of business. Performing a critical coordination and compliance function, the CUO has not usually been responsible for setting underwriting strategy or driving improvements in efficiency. Instead, P&L owners conduct these activities for their respective lines of business.
This creates a challenge in today’s business environment. Truly transforming underwriting with the intelligent tools available today requires a level of commitment and investment that is difficult for a single division to achieve on its own. The tools to improve underwriting tasks have been available for years, but to really achieve the ROI goals, investments need to occur across the divisions, which has been difficult to coordinate and sustain.
If insurers are to become future-ready organizations, the role of the CUO needs to be elevated to a strategic level within the organization. This change will mirror similar transformations seen with CIOs, CFOs and COOs as these roles have evolved from operators to strategic drivers. Underwriting is due for a similar transformation today.