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Head of Underwriting - Global Insurer

Job Summary (Primary purpose of this Role):

The role is to manage new business underwriting to assess all new business acquisition cases. He/she will be reporting to the head of new business division. Currently 15 underwriters and 2 risk control staff belong to the organization 70% of them are based in Tokyo and the other 30% in Osaka. He/she should demonstrate thought leadership on underwriting across the company.

Individual Accountabilities:

  • Develop annual operation plan for new business underwriting

  • Operate underwriting organization with 17 underwriting resources in 2 locations

  • Meet or beat KPI target such as TAT, auto underwriting ratio, straight-through processing ratio, etc.

  • Regularly report team performance at monthly operation review

  • Fully understand and follow Manulife’s underwriting standard

  • Keep optimizing underwriting rules and criteria, considering MLJ’s risk appetite and market opportunity

  • Provide distributions with comprehensive acceptance criteria

  • Apply regulations, LIAJ guideline, and our compliance policy to underwriting rules and process

  • Make decisions within approval limits for irregular cases

  • Best utilize reinsurance

  • Improve auto-underwriting ratio

  • Improve straight-through processing ratio

  • Conduct semi-annual underwriting quality assessment and annual level check test for underwriters

  • Conduct regular risk management and governance activities

  • Contribute to underwriting association on behalf of MLJ

  • Regularly assess and develop underwriting skill resources to improve productivity

Key Shared Accountabilities:

  • Act as a core member of Insurance Operations management team

  • Actively engage with transformation initiatives

  • Collaborate with distributions to maximize new business acquisition every month

  • Collaborate with Product department to develop new products

  • Collaborate with Pricing officer to keep A/E ratios within 100% of assumption.

  • Collaborate with claims department to obtain feedbacks for improving underwriting criteria and relating operations, and prevent fraudulent applications

  • Create constructive relationship with reinsurers and underwriters of industry to keep our underwriting updated and competitive

Job Requirement:

  • Bachelor’s degree of equivalent

  • More than 10 years of underwriting experience in life insurance industry

  • More than 10 years of business leadership experience

  • More than 2 project experience of process improvement

  • Proven track record of team productivity improvement

  • Sufficient knowledge of reinsurance

  • Good understanding of pricing area

  • English communication skill (written and oral)

  • Japanese communication skill (native level)

  • FUWJ or FALU


  • Thought leadership on underwriting

  • Fact based decision making

  • Logical thinking

  • Clear communication with senior management

Decision Authorities:

  • Medical/Financial guidelines

  • All UW decisions

  • Authority level of each underwriter

  • Retention limits

  • Selection of reinsurers

  • Product /declaration design

  • Automated underwriting system/design

Key Leadership Behaviors:

  • Motivational and inclusive leadership

  • Challenge status quo

  • Customer centric mindset

  • Risk sensitive mindset

Key Performance Goals/Measurement

  • Financial Targets:

    • Departmental expense

    • Headcount

  • Key Metrics:

    • Auto underwriting ratio

    • Straight-through processing ratio

    • Unit cost per transaction

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