How Hiscox created the world’s first insurance training simulator for underwriters

Major insurance company Hiscox needed to develop a modern, scalable solution for training underwriters. Working with Attensi BEHAVIOUR, the team were inspired to create a world’s-first approach to tackling a skills gap in risk management and insurance, with remarkable results.

85% of participants agreed the training had helped them understand how to undertake reviews and analysis to identify areas of improvement for account and portfolio analysis.
70% reduction in post-program failure rate.
85% agreed the training had helped them understand how to apply technical concepts across the underwriting cycle.

The challenge: Rapidly build insurance underwriting experience in a safe environment

Training simulators have been used for years to train high-pressure jobs. From fighter pilots to train drivers, simulations are used to improve knowledge and decision making, and to ensure that critical muscle memory is embedded into the trainee.

It’s not an approach that’s often been associated with professional or financial services. But there are some interesting parallels. Recreating high-pressure situations in a training scenario can give trainees a real edge when it comes to doing the job for real.

Underwriting is crucial for insurers as it drives profit. Top insurance businesses need an exceptionally talented team of technical underwriters. When a broker or a customer meets with an underwriter they not only need to talk up the product with authority. They also need to be able to service that product to a broker or client.

The team at Hiscox realized there was a real shortage of high-quality technical underwriters in the insurance sector, suggesting that existing training methods weren’t working as well as they should be. Something innovative was needed that could help underwriters learn the key demands of the job. In response, Hiscox took a fresh approach.


‘Game-changer’: The world’s first Underwriter Simulator

Attensi BEHAVIOUR enabled Hiscox to create a custom-built 3D simulation in just 10 weeks. It offers a risk-free way of helping underwriters by challenging them to complete realistic, gamified scenarios.

The gamified simulation puts trainees in believable situations designed to mimic those they will encounter on-the-job. These include interactions with 3D avatars of brokers and colleagues, and simulated market research, email requests, and phone calls with experts.

Instead of just watching someone complete an analysis of how to deal with a certain situation, the simulation allows team members to experience the results of their actions in a safe environment. It provides insights, real time feedback, and a level of immersion that previous e-learning exercises couldn’t match.

Underwriters can now train and be mentored on best practice wherever they have access to the simulation. It bridges any existing skills gaps, and provides support for complex tasks such as assessing risk.

How did they do it?

It’s not every day that a senior underwriter gets involved in developing a game or simulation. But to be a success, any simulation training needs to resonate with its audience. In Hiscox’s case, that required diving deep into the key success factors and typical mistakes of a typical underwriter.

The simulation was created with input from senior underwriters who discussed their real-world experiences with Attensi and shared what had helped them learn their trade.

The users need to be able to see themselves facing a particular challenge in their day-to-day role. How to frame conversations and interactions correctly was key to creating a super realistic simulation that would resonate with and challenge Hiscox staff.

If the training scenarios were simply ‘going through the motions’, they would have quickly lost engagement. Getting to the appropriate level of difficulty resulted in tangible learning. And this was reflected in how trainees engaged with the simulation and their overwhelmingly positive feedback.


Tapping into competitiveness to deliver remarkable results

Repetition makes learning stick, so finding a way to encourage repetition is a huge advantage that gamified training can offer.

One of the project’s biggest successes has been the way the simulation taps into players’ natural competitiveness – underwriters have carried on taking part long after their mandated completion to top the internal score leaderboards. The stats show people playing the simulation repeatedly to ensure they get the highest scores amongst their peers.

A survey of people at Hiscox who underwent the training revealed:

  • 85% of participants agreed the training had helped them understand how to undertake reviews and analysis to identify areas of improvement for account and portfolio analysis.
  • 85% agreed the training had helped them understand how to apply technical concepts across the underwriting cycle.
  • In addition, the number of candidates who failed the underwriter program was reduced by 71%.

By the end of 2021, more than 90% of junior underwriters within the firm globally will have taken the training. And with results like these, the possibilities are near-endless for where Hiscox goes next with simulation training.

Are you ready to level up your training?

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