Chief Underwriting Officer

Location Name IA, Urbandale - 11201 Douglas Avenue
Date Posted
4 months ago(3/23/2021 6:28 AM)
Berkley Agribusiness
Primary Location

Company Details

Berkley Agribusiness Logo_Update_9_2020

Berkley Agribusiness is a provider of property and casualty insurance solutions for select commercial agribusiness and food accounts and is a subsidiary of the W. R. Berkley Corporation, a Fortune 500 company recognized as one of the most respected names in the property casualty insurance industry.


About W. R. Berkley Corporation
W. R. Berkley Corporation, founded in 1967, is one of the nation’s premier commercial lines property casualty insurance providers. Each of the operating units in the Berkley group participates in a niche market requiring specialized knowledge about a territory or product. Our competitive advantage lies in our long-term strategy of decentralized operations, allowing each of our units to identify and respond quickly and effectively.


The Chief Underwriting Officer provides strategic direction and leadership for the Underwriting & Risk Control functions.  Proactively participates with the senior management team and functional department staffs in developing and executing strategic and operational plans to meet business objectives. 


  • Provides strategic direction and leadership for the Underwriting & Risk Control functions.  Plans, directs and executes vision for line(s) of business by developing strategy, building strong industry relationships, sharing extensive industry knowledge, communicating and capitalizing on best practices and refining existing operations to ensure consistent and coordinated underwriting and risk control processes that support the achievement of business results and enable sustainable and profitable organization growth. 
  • Directs successful implementation of portfolio growth by influencing, advising and collaborating with senior-level peers (SLT) to set priorities, share relevant information and ensure collective planning. 
  • Builds a long-term business plan including underwriting appetite, product, staffing, functional support needs and an execution.  
  • Grants underwriting authority based on assessment of exposures presented by specific lines of business, classes of business, reinsurance implications, and overall business need. Authority level assessments also contemplate the overall experience, training and knowledge necessary for each level. Recommends risk tolerances with respect to maximum size and capacity, balancing the needs of the products with the risk appetite of the region and/or group. 
  • Guides and shapes underwriting quality assurance, price, rate and exposure monitoring, price adequacy and risk selection for all products for assigned line(s) of business. 
  • Monitors and assesses reinsurance impacts in conjunction with internal (BARS) and external (WRBC) accountable parties. Assessment includes impact of treaty and facultative solutions on present and future business. 
  • Identifies opportunities for continuous improvement by conducting research and analyzing and implementing progressive, sound underwriting best practices. 
  • Identifies opportunities for development of new and/or enhancement to product(s). Product development oversight from initial assessment to completed filing and platform evaluations and implementation. 
  • Responsible for key risk control deliverables such as management reporting of risk assessments, development and implementation of appropriate and improved policies, procedures, productivity measures and quality measures. Additionally, supports and directs special projects and investigative studies for both the Field Operations and Technical Services areas to continuously improve the expertise, service delivery approach and organization within the industry as well as enhance BARS visibility of our expertise and service.
  • Leads all strategic risk control business processes and supporting programs that identify, measure, and monitor risks and exposures for Risk Control as well as Claims and Underwriting departments. 
  • Builds strategic relationships with current and potential agents/brokers and customers by networking and providing engaged consultation to foster business growth and meet underwriting, risk control and profitability goals. 
  • Utilizes high degree of business acumen to drive negotiations and relationships surrounding complex risks to ensure agreements and plans contribute to organization growth and development as a competitive force in the marketplace. 
  • Independently manages and leads operational assessment, process improvement, process analysis and redesign, and business transformation initiatives internally as well as in conjunction with other W. R. Berkley shared-platform member companies. 
  • Oversight of design and setup of underwriting, risk control and agency support initiatives, including automation and streamlining of all associated underwriting and risk control processes.  Establishes, improves and maintains operational support for underwriting and risk control functions including system, charter and compliance items and processes. 
  • Evaluate and design business controls (SOX, ORSA, etc.), implement and monitor for compliance and regulatory purposes. 
  • Plans, allocates and manages financial budget by anticipating expenditures, accurately forecasting resource needs/costs and properly accounting for expenses to meet requirements and achieve fiscal responsibility. 
  • Creates and fosters a positive environment by modeling cultural expectations and guiding leaders to reward performance and value “can do” people, accountability, diversity and inclusion, flexibility, continuous improvement, collaboration, creativity and fun. 
  • Attracts, coaches and develops talent. Provides frequent and specific constructive feedback to staff.  Provides technical advice, direction and mentoring to underwriting staff.  Coaches and mentors staff for succession at all levels of supervision and management. 
  • Develops and maintains relationships with other W.R. Berkley Regional Underwriting and Risk Control Officers to capitalize on business opportunities and efficiencies. 
  • Manages the underwriting and risk control leadership staff.  Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems.


Education & Experience

Bachelor's degree from four-year college or university with emphasis in Business Administration or Insurance; a minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in Underwriting and property and casualty insurance with at least five years in a leadership role. 

 Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

Ability to travel on an occasional basis; lead people and get results through others; think ahead and plan over a 2-3 year time span; organize and manage multiple priorities; communicate effectively with all levels of the organization; attract, coach and develop talent.  Must possess problem analysis and problem resolution skills at both a strategic and functional level; strong customer orientation; and interpersonal and communication skills including presentation skills. Regularly and consistently demonstrates commitment to company values and guiding principles.  Ability to work outside normal work schedule to fulfill responsibilities.  Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.


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