underwrite

To underwrite is to insure or promise to be financially responsible in case of loss or damage. An insurance agent can underwrite your renter's insurance policy, which protects you if there's a fire or robbery, for example.

Insurance companies can underwrite, estimating the value of a life or property, and so can large banks — when a bank underwrites a loan, it means they carefully check the borrower's credit history. The word underwrite comes from the Old English underwritan, "write at the foot of," and originally is exactly what underwriters did, signing their names at the bottom of an assessment of risk, promising to pay in case of disaster in exchange for a set amount of money.

Definitions of underwrite
  1. verb
    protect by insurance
    synonyms: cover, insure
    cover
    to take an action to protect against future problems
    compensate, cover, overcompensate
    make up for shortcomings or a feeling of inferiority by exaggerating good qualities
    see moresee less
    types:
    reinsure
    insure again by assuming all or a part of the liability of an insurance company already covering a risk
    indemnify
    secure against future loss, damage, or liability; give security for
    type of:
    guarantee, warrant
    stand behind and guarantee the quality, accuracy, or condition of
  2. verb
    guarantee financial support of
    synonyms: subvent, subvention
    see moresee less
    type of:
    guarantee, undertake
    promise to do or accomplish
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