Insurance industry needs to radically change training practice

Insurance industry needs to radically change training practice
Yareah Magazine
Jonathan Guy Lewis and Simon de Cintra

Jonathan Guy Lewis and Simon de Cintra

Expert coach Simon de Cintra addresses issue

According to the Association of British Insurers’ 2014 report, ‘the UK insurance industry is the largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. It plays an essential part in the UK’s economic strength, managing investments of £1.8 trillion (equivalent to 25% of the UK’s total net worth) and employing around 315,000 people’.

One of the continued successes of the UK insurance industry is that its businesses are extremely competitive on a global scale. In spite of its use of technology, the sector’s performance is still reliant on people because of the prevalence of face-to-face interaction. For that reason, the individual businesses’ investment in the training of individuals is integral to the industry’s success.

One thing that academics, psychologists and business leaders all agree on is that developing people using training is a positive business decision. It motivates people, keeps the best talent on board, aligns the workforce to company goals and feeds the supply of future leaders.

Appropriate training is an effective answer to key business concerns: problems that encroach on time, revenue and productivity such as poor communication skills, lack of direction or feedback from leaders and resistance to change.

A constant challenge facing the training industry is keeping content fresh and interesting. Expert coach and former American Express executive Simon de Cintra believes that a radical new approach is needed.

“Many insurance industry clients want employees to be more connected to their emotions but don’t want to put them in uncomfortable training situations, which can serve to disengage people straight away.

“Training often encounters resistance. When people attend workshops on managing change, improving personal impact or having difficult conversations just because they were told to do so they can be immediately switched off.

“Our research shows that it is very difficult for those responsible for organising events to find training options that are both educational and entertaining.

“At CorporActLive, we’ve taken a new approach: short, thought-provoking live events that use humour and empathy to open people’s minds in a controlled environment.

“When you have a team that works together in a stressful environment, the benefits of getting everyone laughing together and engaged cannot be understated.”

Becoming self-aware within the privacy of their own minds

Simon de Cintra continued, “Our approach relies on traditional performance, which allows our audience to descend into a state of acceptance and become self-aware within the privacy of their own minds, so to speak.

“The aim is a shift in the collective consciousness of a group, and small but high-impact changes in behaviour being implemented ‘in public’ as a result.”

Because there is less need to introduce the course at the beginning given that unexpected content is essential, CorporActLive runs training events that rarely last for longer than a couple of hours. The events work on the same premise as observational comedy – that people reach acceptance and openness quickest and most comfortable at a distance, in private, with an open mind and without judgement.

The company offers live ‘performance style’ learning events which work well for an insurance industry audience, including:

Rock and a Hard Place, written by Christoph & Ana-Marie Bamberger, helps people to come to terms with change, and would be ideally suited to a business which has recently undergone a merger or those undergoing restructuring.

My First Trainers, written by Simon de Cintra, improves personal impact and communication skills throughout the business. It focuses on when the how of the message delivery is equally or arguably more important than the what of the content.

CorporActLive also offers other workshops, simulation exercises and movies, plus one-on-one coaching.

Running from 2PM to 4PM on Thursday October 1 & Friday October 2 2015, CorporActLive is inviting Learning & Development professionals and colleagues to attend a taster session of their live shows ‘Rock and a Hard Place’ and ‘My First Trainers’ at So & So Arts Club, 6 St Frederick’s Place, London EC2R 8JQ.

In the informal events, Simon de Cintra plus actor, writer, director and business partner Jonathan Guy Lewis and others will introduce the training events and explain how they work. There will be plenty of opportunities for informal interaction and discussion.

A video explaining what CorporActLive do can be found here:

For tickets, please contact George Murdoch at or 07834 643 977.

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