1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Underwriter

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UNDERWRITER, one who insures ships and their cargoes from loss and damage, so called from his writing his name under the document or policy of insurance. A request to an underwriter to insure is termed the offering of a “risk,” and the word risk in marine insurance is equivalent to the liability of an underwriter under a contract. When the risk is divided up among several underwriters, each signs his name individually, putting opposite thereto the amount for which he accepts liability. Each signature has the effect of making a separate contract, in the terms of the policy, for the amount set opposite the name of the underwriter. (See Insurance: Marine.)