(insurance) (a) An insurance company that issues insurance policies. (b) An individual within an insurance company that calculates the risks involved in a proposed policy and assigns a premium cost and exclusions based upon that risk. Underwriting is the most technical part of the profession.
(historic note) In the 17th century, ship owners and traders listed proposed maritime adventures on a board at Lloyd’s coffeehouse in London. Individuals who wished to insure a vessel or shipment would sign their name under the listing and state the percentage of the risk they would cover, thus becoming “underwriters” of the adventure.