In presenting a paper on underwriting to this Institute, I realize how difficult it is to say anything new on the subject. There have been excellent papers presented to the Institute since the Second World War, the first by W. Perks, ‘The Treatment of Substandard Lives in Practice’ (J.I.A. 78, 205), and the second by R. D. Clarke, ‘An Investigation into the Mortality of Impaired Lives’ (J.I.A. 87, 196). Moreover, there have been several papers presented to the Faculty of Actuaries. I believe, however, that this is a subject which the actuaries of life offices should discuss periodically. The terms on which risks, both standard and substandard, are admitted to a life fund are clearly of prime importance to the actuary responsible for the management of the fund. Underwriting is fundamental to life assurance and will remain fundamental as long as life assurance is voluntary and underwritten by separate and competing institutions.