CII, Allianz Cornhill Program Improves Underwriters Technical Skills

April 22, 2005

The U.K.’s Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and Allianz Cornhill, the U.K. subsidiary of Germany’s Allianz, announced the success of a program they’ve been sponsoring to reverse the perceived decline in technical skills among U.K. insurance underwriters.

In 2000 the two recognized that the “route to improving their underwriting result would be through the development of the technical skills of their underwriters and as a result they developed and implemented their Underwriting Academy,” which received CII accreditation. “This partnership has set the trend for reversing the decline in underwriting skills that could otherwise damage the UK industry,” said the bulletin.

“In addition to having an adverse affect on the bottom line, the lack of focus on the development of technical skills had also led to difficulties in recruiting and retaining technically competent underwriting staff within Allianz Cornhill,” it continued. “Following a detailed feasibility study, the insurer determined to become an underwriting-led organisation and, ultimately, ‘the employer of choice’ for career underwriters.”

The Academy has a four level “competency matrix” and uses a combination of learning methods to train underwriters at all levels. “A key element of the package is linking in with the CII’s general insurance qualifications framework, in order to add external validation and value.”

It has been a success. The bulletin noted that “over the Academy’s first three years Allianz Cornhill reports improved business results, greater recruiting success and a culture that looks to develop underwriters, not to fail them.”

It noted, however, that “setting up an Underwriting Academy from scratch was a major investment for Allianz Cornhill, but it is now seeing a positive return. It also believes that other organisations, and the industry as a whole, can benefit from its experience.”

The CII is also keen to share its expertise. “This is the first in an occasional series of case studies designed to show best practice across the industry,” stated CII director general Sandy Scott. “If the UK is to continue to be a world leader in insurance and financial services it is essential that we learn from each other. We were delighted to be chosen as a partner in Allianz Cornhill’s Underwriting Academy and look forward to working with all employers to help them to optimise their own training and competence regimes. With industry-wide regulation, it is more important than ever that organisations choose the right partners to get not just the best training, but also the best results for the business.”

Andrew Torrance, Allianz Cornhill’s chief executive officer, commented: “Working with the CII has helped us to ensure best practice and we were delighted to become the first organisation to gain Advance Diploma accreditation for an in-house programme. The Underwriting Academy is clearly delivering the benefits we expected and we are now happy to share our experience in an important area that affects the whole insurance sector.”

How and why the Academy was developed has now been documented in a CII case study, which is being distributed by the CII’s Business Development Team. The case study is also available to view online at the CII website at: www.cii.co.uk/pdf/casestudy_allianz.pdf.

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