The only way is ethics in insurance
Insurance businesses live or die by their reputations.
When customers are looking for a firm to help them manage their financial future – and their family’s long-term security – they are looking for qualities like trust, probity, and honesty.
That’s why the firm’s staff must be equipped with the deepest possible knowledge of their company’s products and just as importantly, they must also embrace the idea of ethical insurance – meaning that no customer is sold products they don’t need. That’s how insurance firms protect their status as trusted guardians of their customers’ best interests.
It’s the only basis for sustainable success.
These demands place a high premium on the best quality training, and Attensi has emerged as a pioneer and a successful innovator in the field of training for employees of insurance businesses.
Christian Kavli, Attensi VP Sales/Business Development Director, explains how they have transformed staff development in the sector.
First of all, what would you say insurance companies are looking for in their staff training?
It’s a big question, and the answer is that they are looking for quite a few qualities in their training programs. Perhaps first of all they want to make sure that their people are trained in the company’s culture, and that they understand the business’s philosophy. With the insurance firms we work with, that’s all about trading and acting ethically at all times. Their learning really has to embed the principle that fairness isn’t just an admirable quality, although it is of course. It is the bedrock of an insurance firm’s existence and the key to its future. In the current climate, this means not selling insurance people don’t need and knowing that an insurance advisor’s role is to ask enough good questions for the customer to be able to make a good decision on whether or not they need a product.
What are insurance companies looking for in their training?
Two key words are realism and risk, or rather the absence of risk.
First, the workplace scenarios we create have to accurately reflect the lived working experience of the person doing the learning. Our simulations are accurate to the last detail, so the situations are convincing and translatable to the learner’s day-to-day life.
In addition, our simulations can also enhance existing training. For example, many companies use “listening to other colleagues’ calls” as a training method. These are a great way to share experiences quickly, with immediate feedback on performance. Simulations can further build on this learning experience by providing a brilliant environment for recreating the pressures and demands of a particular role, created so the learner can react and respond in a safe-to-fail environment.
They get the rush and first-hand feeling of managing certain situations with none of the consequences if they don’t do everything completely right the first time. That’s a priceless asset, and it means that they are much more likely to respond positively when they come up against a similar situation in real life.
Are there any roles in particular that are best suited to gamified simulation training?
I’ve never come across a job or a business that didn’t lend itself to gamified simulation training. After all, the tech we use is limited only by the realm of the human imagination, which is limitless. We can recreate any situation.
But I will say that in insurance, we’ve had especially great success with training for underwriters.
There are also people who come into the role straight from school at a junior level on relatively low salaries. They are commonly paid by performance, and if they can’t learn quickly, they often quit. Our training helps these beginners grow their skills and confidence quickly, so they can master their role and get up to speed swiftly. That’s great for them, and great for the company in cutting staff turnover.
How can Attensi help train the right behaviours better than anyone else?
The secret to the success of gamified simulation training is that it is built on behavioural science. It works with the grain of human nature and harnesses people’s innate competitiveness in a really positive way that learners enjoy and want to experience again and again.
There are lots of ways of teaching facts and getting across information. But when you’re trying to change behaviour and get people to absorb a particular ethical outlook and culture, you need to teach those in a way that engages all the senses, the intellect, the emotion, and the brain. Gamified simulations deliver that in a way that would be unthinkable with classroom training, PDF handouts, or onscreen tick-box activities.
Why have ethics emerged as an important issue for life insurance companies now?
Responsible insurance companies, like those Attensi works with, are anxious and eager to demonstrate that their ethical credentials are unimpeachable. So it’s about trust, reliability, and forging a relationship with customers that lasts a lifetime, not just for a single sale.
They want to ensure that their customers are correctly insured. If customers don’t need an insurance, they don’t want to be sold that insurance. But it’s also about empowering employees to talk about those difficult products like life insurance – because people usually don’t call in asking for life insurance. They call to get car insurance or house insurance. So how do you start that important conversation? That’s what we do with our training.
Is this a ‘values’ issue for Attensi? Is it part of a wider aim to work with businesses that are dedicated to sustainable business?
It’s not an accident that companies motivated by a wish to demonstrate their devotion to the highest ethical behaviours are attracted to Attensi. We’ve always been about making a difference, not just money. So this business is a perfect fit for us.
In this case, with underwriters for instance, the way we make a difference is by providing the best training in the world, so they can do their jobs even better, which is great news for the insurance company, and the public who receive the best possible, expert service.
How will customers benefit when they deal with staff who have been trained in the prime importance of ethics?
Clearly, they are much more likely to get the best product for their situation from a firm that places their interests first.
Also, it’s always much more pleasurable to be served and advised by somebody who knows exactly what they are talking about and can explain what can be quite complex issues in a way that the layperson can understand easily. For products like this, customers want to talk to a human being, not a bot. And they want sound advice, not just an impersonal online transaction.
The human element is a great benefit for someone who might not come from a finance background who is thinking about a policy that might be vital for their financial future.
Equipping employees to show that level of customer care is absolutely what gamified simulation learning is all about, and it helps make the world a better place.