The number of vacancies for underwriting positions hit all-time highs in 2021, following a surge in hiring last year, as insurers sought to protect themselves against the potential for ruinous “black swan” events in the wake of the global pandemic.
All in all, a record 2,100 underwriting vacancies were advertised last year, according to new research from Vacancysoft, shared with City A.M. today.
The record number of vacancies comes after the total number of underwriting jobs surged 120 per cent between 2020 and 2021, due to sharp rises in non-life and general insurance underwriting vacancies.
The surge in the number of positions comes as insurance companies seek to reassess their policies, after being shocked by the impacts of Covid, with a view to protecting themselves against the potential for similar such events in the future.
Vacancysoft CEO James Chaplin explained: “Most of the sector was paralysed by uncertainty brought about by the liability associated with covid.”
“Now this matter is largely settled, insurers will be looking to revisit policies to immunise themselves against future extreme ‘black swan’ events — which is what this surge in hiring for underwriters suggests.”’
‘In demand across the country’
The 120 per cent rise in vacancies was mainly driven by a rise in non-life insurance vacancies, which surged 140 per cent between 2020 and 2021, and a surge in the number of general insurance underwriting jobs, which jumped 92 per cent over the same period.
The surge saw the total number of vacancies rise to levels 91.2 per cent higher than before the pandemic, as major players including Axa, Aviva, and RSA recruited tens more underwriters.
“Underwriting is hardwired into the UK financial system,” Chaplin said. “While recruitment across nearly all other areas within insurance was significantly cut back in 2020, underwriters remained much in demand across the country.”
Notably, the majority (53.2 per cent) of all underwriting vacancies advertised last year were for jobs based in London. All in all, 1,111 of the 2,100 underwriting jobs on offer were based in the UK’s capital city.
However, 2021 saw sharp rises in the number of underwriting jobs being offered in other parts of the country.
In 2021, the North West of England had the second largest number of underwriting vacancies on offer, with 197 jobs advertised – up from 97 in 2020.
At the same time, the number of underwriting vacancies on offer in Scotland almost tripled, from 16 in 2020 to 46 in 2021.