A day in the life - David Burnet, High Risk Senior Underwriter

David Burnett

How long have you worked at ERS?

I started at ERS in July 2015 as an underwriter for the High Risk team. I had previously worked in a bespoke underwriting team but this was definitely a new challenge for me.


What is your current role and responsibilities?

I’ve recently become a senior underwriter for High Risk. My day-to-day role mainly consists of individual case underwriting however, I have a lot of involvement on the adaptation and improvement of the High Risk appetite. We pride ourselves on the relationships we form with our broker partners, so a lot of my time is spent speaking to brokers and listening to feedback to see how or where we can improve or what we are doing well at.


What attracted you to working in the High Risk area?

I think the part that attracted me the most is the massive range of risks the team sees each day. No quote or policy is the same and each has a unique story attached. Whether it’s someone with points for driving without insurance, a non-motoring conviction or an armour-plated Range Rover, we’ll take a look!


What puts a customer in the High Risk category?

Customers with large single claims, multiple claims, six or more points on their licence or a prior ban are mainly what we see - but we can also cover things like criminal convictions and those with previous insurance cancellations.


What is the aspect of your role you most enjoy?

My favourite aspect would have to be working with our brokers and ensuring we provide a first class service.


What is the most important skill to have in this job?

Understanding the market we’re operating in as well as what we can and can’t write. That said, having an open mind and not judging a risk purely on its potentially adverse parts is important. We’re looking at risks that some underwriters or markets would shy away from and so need to be able to look at all aspects and understand what makes a risk good for us.


High Risk customers may be sensitive about their situation, how do you ensure you get all the details you need from their broker to see the full picture?           

We rely on our brokers to obtain the information we need to provide an accurate and competitive quote. Because of this we need to make sure we’re educating our brokers, as well as ourselves, to ensure we get the full picture.


What is the most important thing for brokers looking to place this type of cover?

These cases need something different to a standard car or van policy and to give the most competitive and comprehensive cover for these clients, the full picture is vital.


High Risk is a growing area for ERS, why do you think this is?

Since the Ogden change early this year many insurers have tightened their criteria, and some have even exited the non-standard/high risk market. With our specialist expertise and A+ Lloyd’s rating increasingly recognised, we’re becoming the go-to team for these risks.


Are you a car lover? If so, what car do you drive?

I am a car lover and a self-proclaimed mechanic and racing driver (or so I like to think). Being from Essex, I had to get a car that suits the stereotype. I drive a highly modified Ford Focus ST that makes a lot of noise and is a lot of fun to drive.


What’s next for the High Risk team in 2018

This year we have set ourselves a great foundation to build upon in 2018. We’ve an enhanced appetite and are focused on building the book to write risks for brokers that others can’t. I have no doubt we should see some brilliant results.