The THiNK Blog

grab a coffee and give yourself the freedom to read


3 Ways to Re-energize Your Underwriting Team

Wed, 04 Jul 2018 15:16:00 +0000 / by Nick Durie


Has your team ever experienced a lull in energy? You know, that feeling of 'something' (whether it is motivation, inspiration or drive) just isn't present. And unfortunately is probably impacting team productivity or happiness. If you can relate, not to worry, it happens to the best of us. The good thing is, once you've hit this lull, the only way to go is up.

How to re-energize, re-engage & motivate your underwriting team:

The fix doesn't have to be complicated or involve time away from the office. In fact, the ideas below will reinvigorate your team using productive activities that apply to their everyday underwriting roles. Which means you are motivating your team while helping them develop professionally as well. WIN-WIN.

1. Identify Knowledge Gaps in a No Judgment Zone





Get your team of underwriters to pick a topic under 'individual assessments' and dedicate 7 minutes of time to quizzing them self on it. Make sure to emphasize that THIS IS NOT A TEST. Testing comes with anxiety, judgment, fear of failure.The main function of ASSESS is to identify areas where continuing education would help underwriters enhance their current knowledge base. 

Focus on the fact that this is a discovery activity that can help identify topics causing stress in their day-to-day roles. Once everyone has completed the 7 minute test, gather your team for an open discussion. Encourage a discussion on any red flags they experienced during the assessment. This can spark a conversation on how to deal with these cases in their day to day role. 

We ran this activity internally and after taking the Alcohol Abuse ASSESS, one of our underwriters shared the following: “I had forgotten how much details we should be looking for to identify alcohol use/abuse.” 


While it is only an hour, this activity gives your team to reflect on challenging cases or topics without being judged and discuss how others are dealing with it. 

2. Post it Challenge



  • 1 post-it pad per underwriter
  • 1 marker per underwriter
  • 1 large table or blank wall
  • Activity Time (60 mins)


In this activity, your underwriting team will have 5 minutes to write down as many 'challenges' or 'topics' that are keeping them up at night (ex. liver function case, decoding attending physician statements, coronary artery disease). It is important to encourage them to continue writing down ideas for the full 5 minutes (hence the full pad of post-its) even if it is unrelated, write whatever comes to mind.

At the end of the 5 minutes, have each underwriter share their challenges by placing the post-it on the wall or table. As each underwriter shares, start grouping together overlapping challenges. Once everyone has shared, get each underwriter to vote on their top two challenges. This will be your focus for the next activity. 

Another way to trigger these 'challenge topics' is to get your team to take the full 90 minute assessment in advance of the post-it challenge.  They'll get exposure to 26 different topics and perhaps have some 'a-ha' moments on topics they need to brush up on. 


This fun, fast paced post-it activity is re-energizing as it offers a new way of thinking. Plus you'll be surprised to see where challenges overlap on your team, giving you insight to knowledge gaps and opportunities for learning.  

3. Host a case clinic



  • ASSESS Tool
  • Pen & paper (for participating underwriters)
  • Pre-work time (60 mins for presenting underwriter)
  • Activity Time (60 mins)


This activity requires a bit more organization and pre-work as you have to determine which topic will be covered in the case clinic. You can either use one of the topics generated in the post-it challenge or get your team to take the 90-minute assessment and choose the topic that had the biggest knowledge gap.

The point of a case clinic is to share ideas, discuss and ultimately make the correct decisions on risk - so it is actually more beneficial to focus on an area that is challenging. For example, maybe your team has identified behavioral issues as an area of weakness through ASSESS or the post-it challenge.

To run the case clinic, ask on of your team members to do research on the topic selected and reference any relevant cases in advance. They will present the topic for the first 20 minutes and the remainder of the time will be spent working through it as a team.


This activity shows your team that you not only care about identifying their challenges, but helping them overcome them as well. A group learning setting is also a great way for team members to feed off of each other's knowledge.

Ready to re-energize your underwriting team?

Remember the following tips for success:

  • Re-energize with purpose AKA do something will benefit your team beyond the activity
  • It only takes as little as 60 minutes to create an engaging experience
  • Emphasize a no judgment learning zone
  • Encourage knowledge sharing across team members 

Grab our Underwriting Manager Training Guide for more insight on training and development:



Topics: underwriting training

Nick Durie

Written by Nick Durie

Become an industry thought leader. Don’t forget to share.