Interpersonal Skills Training For Underwriters: According to a McKinsey report on underwriting talent, “underwriters’ training is typically limited to initial compliance-based training and informal on-the-job training because most carriers do not have defined continuous-education (CPD) programmes. For this reason, robust learning and development programmes can be a strategic advantage and a differentiating factor to attract talent.”
Based on our extensive experience of working across the insurance industry, we have identified three ‘must-have’ interpersonal skills for any CPD curriculum for underwriters.
1. Effective negotiation
The ability to negotiate effectively is a skill that can truly set you apart. As former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss explains in his book “Never Split the Difference,” we spend most of our lives negotiating for something.
Voss emphasises that tools such as your tone of voice, the types of questions you ask the other party, or even how you enter the conversation in the first place can significantly sway a negotiation in your favour.
This is especially the case for underwriters where the basis for successful relationships has long been the result of negotiation rather than power.
All underwriters need to be able to achieve their objectives by winning the support of their counterparties - internal and external - and collaborating on effective outcomes for the long-term and sustainable benefit of both.
To this end, our ‘Negotiating and influencing with brokers and insureds’ helps to build a practical negotiation skillset fully immersed in the context of underwriters and brokers.
Our experiential workshop includes activities and simulations designed to provide a safe environment for participants to practice new skills and apply their learning.
2. Effective communication
Quite often, the development of communication skills takes on a blanket approach designed to meet the needs of everyone working in an insurance business from underwriters to IT professionals.
Instead, communication skills programmes should be designed to support your employees in the context of their role and the specific challenges they face. For example:
- Presenting the messages that matter as an underwriter - Building the confidence of underwriters preparing to present to the Underwriting Committee, and equip them to challenge existing presentation strengths and weaknesses, in order to develop more effective ways to select, structure and deliver their material.
- Effective personal impact - Skills to make the right impact and communicate with purpose
- Relationship management - Centred around five core themes essential for effective relationship management - listening, questioning, communicating, building rapport and influencing
- Communicating with impact - Communicating and presenting ideas in a clear and impactful way
- Handling difficult conversations - Giving and receiving difficult feedback, handling challenging conversations effectively and building confidence to take responsibility and be accountable for challenging issues.
3. Emotional resilience
In a complex sector based on relationships but also facing change, disruption and regulatory pressures, staying resilient and managing emotions and behaviours to is critical.
An understanding of emotional intelligence gives underwriters a real insight into leadership through an awareness of the hidden levers and predictors that drive organisational success in individuals and teams.
Our approach to developing resilience focuses on helping underwriters to understand and distinguish emotional intelligence (EQ) from cognitive intelligence (IQ).
Acknowledging the importance of both whilst enabling them to more easily identify their particular strengths in the context of their behaviours at work to help drive performance.