Talent vs tech: a look back on London’s Leading Underwriters of 2023

As we start the clock on the countdown to this year’s London’s Leading Underwriters report, we revisit the 2023 Gracechurch survey and the key themes that shaped the results.

The annual nomination-based survey – conducted by Gracechurch and presented by Insurindex – measures the bench strength of underwriting businesses across the London market.

Last year, the report highlighted the ‘science versus human’ battle within the London (re)insurance market and how the proliferation of AI, e-trading and algorithmic underwriting threatened the role of the underwriter as we know it.

But with a record-breaking number of entries – over 1,500 nominations from underwriters, encompassing over 900 professionals – the 2023 Insurindex rankings demonstrated that the individual remained at the heart of underwriting.

As the report highlighted, brokers and peers most frequently singled out the leading underwriters for their knowledge, with the relationships between intermediaries and underwriters prevailing over technological advancements.

Last year’s Gracechurch survey saw Arch’s head of casualty James Mecham take the top spot.

Mecham was followed by Tokio Marine Kiln’s Paul Gooch, with long-time ranking leader Richard Trubshaw coming in third.

For the bench strength category, Beazley retained its title for the third consecutive year, with Chubb taking silver for the second year in a row.

The 2023 rankings also placed the spotlight on women in the industry, with Chaucer and Hiscox coming out as London market joint leaders in the female bench strength category.

London's leading female underwriter award was also a tie, with the title going to Nicola Wood of Canopius and Victoria Buckingham of Munich Re.

The 2023 ranking reviewed 19 categories across the (re)insurance market. This year the survey has nudged into the double digits with the additional category of London’s leading outperformer. The new category will rank carriers that punch above their weight in terms of underwriter nominations from peers.

The 2024 Gracechurch survey will also bring you a flavour of the changing make-up of the London underwriting cohort, which is witnessing a notable change in age demographic.

Keep your eyes peeled for the London’s Leading Underwriters of 2024 survey results – which features both new and familiar names – next week. In the meantime, last year’s full report can be viewed here.