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Lunch and learn with Raoul Carlos, UK Chief Underwriting Officer

Today we meet Raoul Carlos, Castel’s UK Chief Underwriting Officer.

After 3 years with Castel, how does the former Energy Underwriter assess his career in the insurance industry so far, what has he learnt and what challenges lie ahead?

How did you first get into the insurance industry?

After finishing university, my aim was for a career in banking. But the financial crisis of 2008 had me adjusting my sights on insurance. I began with an internship at Swiss Re, initially still with a view to finance in mind, but very quickly moving into energy and mining underwriting focusing on the Middle East. After three years I moved to London, later joining Arch in 2014 and then Castel in January 2020.

What does your day-to-day role involve?

As UK CUO, a lot of my role includes underwriting oversight, strategy, assessing opportunities and remediation if necessary. Also, working out how to make our portfolios perform better, considering areas of the market that we’re not currently in and assessing whether we should be, and if so how and perhaps more importantly, who.

What achievement or project are you most proud of at Castel?

There have been a number of notable achievements but if I could pick two it would be onboarding some of our underwriting cells, and the work I’m currently involved with looking at underwriting data. The work is aimed at keeping us ahead of the market and enabling our underwriters ‘to marry the art and the science’ of underwriting.

If you could change one thing about the insurance industry, what would it be and why?

The insurance industry is already changing in many ways, it’s becoming more technology focused certainly, harnessing the benefits of what technology can bring in terms of leveraging data and making it work for underwriters to better understand their risks as well as management to better understand performance and portfolio steering.

One thing I’d hope won’t change is the face to face interactions and relationships which differentiates our industry from most others, and upon which the market, especially the London market has been built. Deals and understanding are made and shared on this foundation. Whist the fallout from the pandemic has allowed us to become more flexible in our working structure and enabled a better work-life balance, the proximity of the London insurance market provides a truly unique opportunity for insurance professionals to build life-long relationships and learn a lot from one another.

Where do you see yourself in 3 years’ time?

I see significant growth potential for Castel in the coming years, in terms of organic growth but also entirely new lines of business. We’re in a significantly dislocated market currently, which is presenting exciting challenges to develop the business, and in turn my role also, depending on how we respond to these opportunities.

What are we most likely to find you doing at the weekends?

I’d be spending time with my family and young children, and helping my son to decide whether he should be a US, French or England football fan. Allez Les Bleus..!