Gamified simulation training provider Attensi has created the world’s first “underwriter simulator” for specialist global insurer, Hiscox ,to help tackle a skills gap in risk management and insurance.

The new, custom-built 3-D simulation offers a risk-free way of helping underwriters to learn the key demands of the job by challenging them to compete in a number of realistic, gamified scenarios.


Des Bishop, group head of people development at Hiscox, claims the simulation has proved to be a game-changer for Hiscox. His team can now train and mentor junior underwriters on best practice, bridge any existing skills gaps, and provide support for complex tasks, such as assessing risk.

He says 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.

He said: “We know younger generations love competition, in fact millennials are often referred to as the ‘trophy generation’. We also know repetition makes good learning stick, and with the Attensi training, our underwriters can replay as much as they need to achieve their potential and compete with their peers. We see our people playing and repeating the simulation up to 30 times to ensure they get the highest scores and top the leaderboard.”

He added that one of the insurance sector’s challenges is a shortage of high-quality technical underwriters.

Underwriting skill sets drive profits

Des said: “Underwriting drives profit, so when it comes to skillsets, our business needs an exceptionally talented team of technical underwriters. This means that when a broker or a customer meets with an underwriter, not only can they talk to them about the product, but they can service that product to that broker or client. Underwriting is more complex than ever, and tomorrow’s underwriters need to be able to adapt to many challenges.

“Gamified simulations put an individual in very believable situations. Instead of just watching someone complete an analysis of how to deal with a certain situation, our simulation allows our team members to experience the results of their actions in a safe environment. It provides insights, and lessons that face-to-face and e-learning exercises can’t match. We can now provide ongoing learning with performance support and feedback as needed.”

Created with input from senior underwriters

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.

Huw Newton-Hill, Attensi’s Strategy & Business Development Director, said: “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 our case, that required diving deep into the key success factors and typical mistakes of a Hiscox underwriter.

“Our users need to be able to see themselves facing a particular challenge in their day-to-day role and so we had to understand the nuances of what makes an excellent discussion. How to frame conversations and interactions correctly was key to creating a super realistic simulation that would resonate with Hiscox staff.

“For us, it is always important to challenge people so they can build and expand on their technical skills. If the training scenarios were going through the motions, we would have quickly lost engagement. So, getting to that level of difficulty resulted in tangible learning, which we observed through how the team engaged with the simulation and the positive feedback we received.”

Participants understand how to apply technical concepts

Following a survey of people at Hiscox, 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. And 85% agreed the training had helped them understand how to apply technical concepts across the underwriting cycle.

By the end of 2021, more than 90% of junior underwriters within the firm globally will have taken the training.


Attensi has delivered Gamified Simulation Training in more than 100 countries, in 20 languages, and employs over 125 staff. Its clients are global corporate blue chip companies in health care, pharmaceutical, financial or professional services, retail and service, manufacture, shipping, offshore and transport, as well as public and third sectors.