Definition of underwrite in English:


Pronunciation /ʌndəˈrʌɪt//ˈʌndərʌɪt/


[with object]
  • 1Sign and accept liability under (an insurance policy), thus guaranteeing payment in case loss or damage occurs.

    ‘the policy, underwritten at Lloyd's, indemnifies trustees against loss arising from wrongful acts’
    ‘the individuals whose assets support underwriting at Lloyd's’
    • ‘Their policy has lower underwriting standards than most, making the policy easier to purchase but also a higher risk for the insurer - thus, more costly.’
    • ‘In February, the world's biggest insurer renowned for its stringent adherence to tough liability underwriting practices posted a loss for the last quarter of 2002.’
    • ‘If this judgment were to stand, then the whole of the insurance contract business, in the sense of the way in which these contracts are written and underwritten, would have to change in a significant respect.’
    • ‘The cost of insurance will rise dramatically because of the perception that the world is now a riskier place while some of the syndicates which underwrite the insurance policies will stop taking on any new business.’
    • ‘The center provides underwriting, policy processing, remittance and other services.’
    • ‘However, if this is foremost in your future dealing decisions, I would suggest that you deal only with a broker which is owned and underwritten by a large bank or parent company.’
    • ‘Eventually, the bank agreed to advance the money but only when the couple's respective parents stumped up £5,000 as security and signed a document which underwrote the remaining £5,000.’
    • ‘It operates in the British insurance market, where it underwrites and administers creditor insurance policies.’
    • ‘In these early years the few space insurance policies were usually underwritten as special business by the aviation insurance industry.’
    • ‘The insurance plugs the holes that threaten to capsize the deal and, typically, is underwritten over a long policy duration, up to 10 years or more.’
    • ‘Moreover, since most sites still seal deals with phone calls instead of mouse clicks, only about 1% of policies underwritten in the U.S. are sold online.’
    • ‘Some are insurance policies, underwritten by insurers; whereas others are written as ‘service contracts’ in order to avoid insurance premium tax.’
    • ‘However, brokers say if you already have your home insurance policy with an insurer they will usually underwrite the investment property buildings and contents policy at normal home cover rates plus about 25 per cent.’
    • ‘They never assumed any of the risk associated with insurance underwriting.’
    • ‘The ministry and legislators agreed on Tuesday that insurance companies cannot underwrite a life insurance policy for a minor until the he or she is at least 14 years old.’
    • ‘This year, I predict that Britain's 12th biggest motor insurer, which underwrites 600,000 policies, will face another takeover bid and this time it will go.’
    • ‘A composite insurer is one that underwrites both general (short-term) insurance and long-term insurance.’
    • ‘The company's assistance will extend to policy wording, underwriting policy, claims procedures, re-insurance programmes and information systems.’
    • ‘Buying an insurance-backed guarantee, underwritten by a separate insurance company, can solve this problem.’
    • ‘With a market capitalisation of £4.7b, this company underwrites health and life cover and provides investment advice.’
    1. 1.1 Accept (a liability or risk) under the terms of an insurance policy.
      ‘the insurance companies have underwritten just over half the risk’
      • ‘The trouble is that the real profile of the risk that is being underwritten in an insurance company is never disclosed.’
      • ‘Some risks underwritten were very long-term and it was understood that the agreed figures were best estimates only and that the run-off might prove to be substantially less or more onerous than anticipated.’
      • ‘There's a desire on the part of the insurance industry to underwrite this risk, but they're having trouble knowing where and how to draw the lines.’
      • ‘The company reported underwriting losses of €5.3 million for the whole of last year, including a €10.2 million loss from the motor business.’
      • ‘So their reluctance to underwrite credit risk ought to affect the pricing and availability of loans.’
      • ‘Like motor insurance companies, privately-held insurance companies are driven by the profit motive, and, like motor insurance companies, they want to avoid the worst risks and underwrite the best ones.’
      • ‘The company, which underwrites risks for technology companies in the UK, warns that a number of insurers do not offer adequate cover or have access to the appropriate expertise when it comes to breach of contract claims.’
      • ‘The clause that we provided does however give them the ability to underwrite a risk where loss developments may occur after a given point in time once the company was established.’
      • ‘The ultimate will be to say, ‘Give me your energy bill and I'll underwrite your risk.’’
      • ‘The higher the underwriting fee, the greater the risk.’
      • ‘An underwriting bank can enter sub-underwriting agreements with others, under which the latter agree to underwrite a certain amount of the securities.’
      • ‘They build up credits or debits based on this system and the firm manages the accounts and effectively underwrites the risk, taking commissions of 6% on each trade.’
      • ‘The key point in the report is that in 2002 authorised companies selling insurance and underwriting risk in this market made significant profits.’
      • ‘Such a term will protect the reinsurer against the risk that no underwriting judgment is made at all in relation to any particular policy.’
      • ‘The company underwrites health and life cover and provides investment advice.’
      • ‘One way to assure objective accounting is to encourage insurers to underwrite coverage for financial-statement risks, according to one professor.’
      • ‘The firm was one of the biggest specialist insurers of employers' liabilities, and as such underwrote the risks by which asbestos claims should be covered.’
      • ‘Congress responded by modifying the Tort Claims Act to promise that the government would underwrite any liability for problems arising out of the vaccination.’
      • ‘The brokers said insurance companies are being very selective about the risks they choose to underwrite in a market where there is a shortage of capacity.’
      • ‘If the Government, for example, were to underwrite the liability, then the directors can in fact proceed with their responsibilities in relation to that foundation.’
  • 2(of a bank or other financial institution) pledge to buy all the unsold shares in (an issue of new shares)

    ‘the purchase is being paid for by a share issue, which has been underwritten’
    • ‘The issue is not being underwritten, meaning the company is not guaranteed to raise the money.’
    • ‘If the analyst of a particular security works for the same investment bank that is underwriting the new issue, he/she may be inclined to give a positive recommendation to ensure that the offering is successful.’
    • ‘For reassurance that it will raise the finances, a company will usually, but not always, have its rights issue underwritten by an investment bank.’
    • ‘Car companies offer their own financial services, which are underwritten by the banks.’
    • ‘A revived stock market helped boost income from equity and bond underwriting, as investment banking activity finally began to pick up.’
    • ‘In some cases it can become unclear when stabilisation ends and support begins as the investment banks which underwrite an IPO are often the largest dealer in the stock particularly in the early days.’
    • ‘When the banks re-opened it was because the United States government underwrote them: investors' deposits would be underwritten by the state.’
    • ‘Analysts who make sell recommendations for shares that have been underwritten by the company they work for certainly do not usually ingratiate themselves with their employer.’
    • ‘‘We agreed to underwrite the value of all stock in the cash and carry from the date we got involved,’ said O'Neill.’
    • ‘This may in turn put off brokers from underwriting such an issue.’
    • ‘America has seen the creation of e-investment banks that eschew the more traditional methods of business and instead underwrite and distribute share issues over the net.’
    • ‘Furthermore, we believe that the chances of developing a workable system will be greatest when attention is given to the actuarial and underwriting issues we have addressed.’
    • ‘In both cases, large foreign banks will underwrite these borrowings and take a charge on the company's assets.’
    • ‘There's no doubt that a lot of controversy surrounds shell mergers, and they always seem to come to the forefront whenever Wall Street closes its wallet and stops underwriting new issues.’
    • ‘In addition, most of the clearing banks underwrite new issues of commercial paper and, like the merchant banks, provide lines of credit to their commercial customers.’
    • ‘No longer will investment banks that underwrote securities for companies that ended up in bankruptcy be barred from offering advice to the same companies.’
    • ‘One fund manager, who asked not to be named, says her U.S.-based firm, which lacked an Asia research team, bought the bonds because a major investment bank had underwritten them.’
    • ‘In a traditional IPO, the investment bank underwriting the offering controls the allocation of shares.’
    • ‘Companies, especially investment banks, who agree to underwrite an issue of new securities currently have to buy all the public shares at a set price and resell them to the general public, hopefully at a profit.’
    1. 2.1 Undertake to finance or otherwise support or guarantee (something)
      ‘they were willing to underwrite, in part, the construction of a ship’
      • ‘This means the borough council, who had agreed to underwrite the action, was faced with an estimated bill of £450,000.’
      • ‘Customs accused Mr Graham of having a financial interest in the company because he agreed to underwrite any losses.’
      • ‘First, of course, we ask for financial support, which underwrites tree planting for forest restoration or supports our longstanding role to interpret science and research for public policy use.’
      • ‘But in their report council officers recommended that councillors agree in principle to underwrite the loan for Fulford Cemetery, and revise the existing agreement to increase then annual fee.’
      • ‘The MoD has agreed to underwrite the costs of redundancies but only until October.’
      • ‘The race pits two multi-millionaires against each other, each willing to write personal cheques to underwrite their own campaigns.’
      • ‘He also said the most useful long-term gesture that the authority could make would be to guarantee to underwrite any potential losses.’
      • ‘Hounslow Council has agreed to underwrite the cost of decorating Chiswick High Road and Turnham Green Terrace with Christmas lights this year.’
      • ‘The council had agreed to underwrite the costs of repair work.’
      • ‘On the face of it, it makes sense that governments, through their export credit agencies, need to finance and underwrite big projects that wouldn't otherwise happen.’
      • ‘The foundation agreed to underwrite a trial seminar, which was duly planned for the following summer.’
      • ‘The financial support which underwrote the project also threatens to alter the villa's spirit.’
      • ‘There is no compelling reason why legislators can't wait at least a year to see if the state's finances improve before underwriting a new football stadium.’
      • ‘This social framework exists fundamentally to validate and underwrite the sovereignty of the member states of global international society.’
      • ‘The system of public finance that underwrites these programs is inherently flawed.’
      • ‘A consultant whose mortgage is underwritten solely by the taxpayers, he is guaranteed the free time to pen nasty little letters to the editor on subjects well beyond the limits of his professional competence, such as it is.’
      • ‘They relied heavily on donor funds to underwrite activities and to draw support, thus reinforcing an attitude of dependence on government.’
      • ‘In other countries, government support underwrites the cost of a guide dog.’
      • ‘Federal mortgage subsidies underwrote housing construction in ‘stable’ areas, and zoning laws ensured homogeneous communities.’
      • ‘The fund may underwrite the purchase of drugs, vaccines, and other commodities where markets are too weak to respond and stimulate pharmaceutical companies to conduct research to develop new drugs and vaccines.’
      sponsor, support, back, insure, indemnify, provide security for, take the risk for, subsidize, contribute to, pay for, provide capital for, finance, fund
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  • 3archaic Write (something) below something else, especially other written matter.

    ‘each subscriber should underwrite his reason for the place he allots his candidate’
    write, inscribe, pen, pencil, scribble, scrawl, dash off, put, add
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