From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Underwrite \Un`der*write"\, v. t. [imp. Underwrote, Obs.
   Underwrit; p. p. Underwritten, Obs. Underwrit; p. pr. &
   vb. n. Underwriting.]
   1. To write under something else; to subscribe.
      [1913 Webster]

            What addition and change I have made I have here
            underwritten.                         --Bp.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. To subscribe one's name to for insurance, especially for
      marine insurance; to write one's name under, or set one's
      name to, as a policy of insurance, for the purpose of
      becoming answerable for loss or damage, on consideration
      of receiving a certain premium per cent; as, individuals,
      as well as companies, may underwrite policies of
      insurance. --B. Jonson.
      [1913 Webster]

            The broker who procures the insurance ought not, by
            underwriting the policy, to deprive the parties of
            his unbiased testimony.               --Marshall.
      [1913 Webster]
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