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TV underwriter reality ratings war breaks out

A ratings battle on television has erupted between two reality competitions focused on underwriting. The Slip and the Great British Write-Off have both been raking in tens of viewers as hopeful brokers present risks to a panel of underwriters with an appetite for risk.

Half baked underwriters a turn-off

The Slip involves blind presentations by brokers presenting risks to the panel of four underwriters in a stripped-down version of the traditional broker submission. The underwriters on the panel each examine the placing slip without any knowledge of which broker presented the slip, or the full nature of the risk. If the underwriter decides to underwrite the risk, he presses a green button. If only one underwriter presses the green button, he has to underwrite 5% of that risk. If more than one underwriter presses the button, the broker decides. If no-one presses a button, the humiliated broker is forced to take the risk to an un-licensed, non-admitted insurer. The successful brokers are then mentored by the underwriters. The Slip's main advantage over its British rival is the appearance on the panel of self-titled "Domestic Market Goddess" of underwriting, Sir Norbert "Nobella" Johnson, and his saucy catchphrase "Just slip it in, old chap".

The Great British Write-Off is a simple competition between brokers who present a series of half-baked risks (some of their own choice and some dictated by the show) to a panel of two underwriters who decide who will go through to the next week and who will be eliminated. The show involves three challenges: the Signature Challenge in which the brokers try to get the judges to put their signature to a slip (known as ?underwriting'), the Technical Challenge, involving paid loss retros and a cut through endorsement, and the Showstopper Challenge - a risk designed to impress the judges, such as the legs of a Hollywood actress, The Olympics, or the Rolling Stones World Tour.

The interest generated by these game shows has prompted a flood of similar programmes, including The Naked Broker, Ramsay's Lime St Nightmares, Masterbroker, Two Fat Brokers, Ready Steady Broke, and Hell's Underwriting Floor.

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