What is an Underwriters Association

An underwriters association is an industry group dedicated to maintaining and providing continuing education and networking opportunities for underwriters.

Breaking Down Underwriters Association

An underwriters association offers members a variety of professional development services. These typically include online learning seminars, discounts on attendance at professional conferences, discounts on subscriptions to various publications and business development tools. These associations are generally non-profit entities funded by membership dues.

Typically either regional or national in scope, underwriters associations conduct advocacy efforts at the state and federal government levels with the goal of advancing the interest of health insurance professionals who are working to provide affordable private health insurance solutions. Some of the largest underwriters associations include Group Underwriters Association of America (GUAA), the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) and Community Association Underwriters (CAU).

One example is the International Underwriting Association (IUA), based in London. The IUA advocates on behalf of the business climate for insurance and reinsurance companies operating in the UK. Their mission has evolved over the years from when they were primarily a strategic lobbying organization to their modern-day priority on providing support and services to members.

The IUA and Brexit

A recent example of the value of underwriters associations can be seen in the leadership role the International Underwriting Association (IUA) is playing as Brexit (the decision by the UK to exit from the broader European Union) is prepared for rollout in the UK. The IUA published a Brexit Clause to help companies navigate the many uncertainties brought about by the UK exit from the EU and the resulting impact on existing deals and agreements. Called the Brexit Contract Continuation Clause, this clarification from the IUA will help guide firms on issues concerned with paying claims, thereby avoiding disruptions that could arise as the transition unfolds.

It is conceivable that some insurers presently relying on the EU financial services passport for doing business with continental Europe may not be licensed on existing contracts after March 2019. The new clause drafted by the IUA addresses that unintended consequence of Brexit, thereby allowing UK-based insurers to proceed with new business activities within continental Europe.

The new clause published by the IUA includes accompanying commentary outlining the various circumstances in which it may prove useful. While the clause is primarily intended for insurance business, it could also apply to reinsurers.

Underwriting Associations like the IUA are of particular value when helping members navigate changing times such as those being witnessed with Brexit in the UK.