Early in his career, Gary Kaplan spent a decade in loss control engineering, Then he moved into the underwriting arena and found that all the effort he and his colleagues had put into their engineering was arbitrarily applied to underwriting decisions."When I went into underwriting in 1988, I was appalled at how loose it was-the lack of structure and the lack of guidelines," says Kaplan, who is now senior vice president and chief underwriting officer at Zurich. "There was no consistency. The way business was priced was very disappointing to me after 10 years in engineering. I said, 'This is how all my work got translated into a price?'"

Since then, Kaplan's mission has been to bring more discipline and structure-more "engineering" if you will-to the way underwriters evaluate and price risk. And, by the looks of what Zurich has achieved in its underwriting operations so far, that mission is virtually accomplished.

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