Ru Eng
It's kind of fun to do the impossible
Walt Disney

Business simulation

The Insurance Challenge

The Insurance Challenge is a computer-based insurance game that focuses on learning by doing, placing the learner at the heart of the learning process.  The activity mirrors the four stages of experiential learning, that is:

  • oncrete experience
  • Observation and reflection
  • Forming abstract concepts
  • Testing in new or different situations

The game involves goal setting, followed by an assessment of key learning areas and an evaluation of the achievement of goals after a set time period.  Participants are engaged in a demanding learning experience that encourages:

  • Development of essential business skills, such as team building, decision-making, problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, time and information management, all essential for modern insurance professionals.
  • Recognition of the impact of decisions in one area on other parts of the business and the effect of business strategy decisions on growth and profitability.
  • Better understanding of how decisions are inter-related for optimal performance.
  • Enhanced skills in analyzing and interpreting management and financial reports.

The process

Divided into teams, the participants manage an insurance company over a period of time, with the key stages involving:

1. Information gathering on the fictional country and market and the needs of the company’s target customers.

2. Development of a broad strategy and tactical direction, including:

  • Corporate vision and values;
  • What and how many products to offer;
  • Premium and underwriting strategies;
  • Suitable routes to market;
  • Reward levels for agents;
  • How much to invest in employees;
  • Customer service levels.

3. The presentation of a business plan by each team.  The credibility and robustness of each plan is evaluated critically by the course tutor.

4. Business decisions are finalized and then tested in a given time period.

5. A regular tutor-led comparison and review of results, allowing evaluation of the relative merits of the strategies and contemplation of any adjustments required.  This process of consideration and review culminates in both group and individual reflection, so identifying knowledge gaps and key learning points.

The challenge

Participants examine many of the key issues and challenges inherent in the management of an insurance company within a familiar business setting.  The activity is set in a fictional yet realistic competitive environment, where participants can explore:

Environment & market

A Panorama allows the teams to explore the physical and economic environment in which their company operates and to carry out a detailed study of the insurance market, before they begin the planning process.

Business model

At the core of the activity is the Business Model, an attractive, potent and intuitive tool that allows teams to explore alternative strategies and to evaluate the credibility of different scenarios, before decisions are finalized.  The model includes an extensive set of reports, such as key performance indicators, income statement and balance sheet, which update as scenarios are tested.

Each team faces the same challenge of running an insurance business over a number of years.  Information is available within the business model on market performance over prior years.  A graphical user interface in the form of an interactive office is used to make decisions, from which the user is able to navigate from department to department.

At the end of each phase, decisions are tested and teams receive feedback on their actual results (rather than their plans), the results of other participating teams and updates on any changes in the socio-economic environment or market.  Teams then start the next decision period, which involves analyzing in detail their past business performance and amending their strategy and decisions.

As in any game, there is usually a winner and, to determine the most successful team, performance is judged against a balanced scorecard of financial and non-financial measures, such as:

  • Profitability
  • Market share
  • Surplus ratio
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Employee retention
  • Return on Capital Employed
Challenge Group Presentation
Agricultural Insurance
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