Spring programme unveiled

Birds are singing. Spring is springing.

Searchlight’s full spring programme is now confirmed.

To download the details simply click on the image below.

To access a special 10% discount, simply quote Spring 2019 when booking.

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Who trains the trainer? We do!

Not that we’re trying to do ourselves out of a job or anything, but one of the things Searchlight offers training on is how to deliver training. Train the trainer courses are one of the more popular ‘soft skills’ workshops we offer.

In practice, their main purpose is not to launch individuals on a full-time career as a trainer. It’s typically more about equipping knowledgable people with the skills they need to share their knowledge effectively with others.

All too often in the world of business, individuals are asked to pass on skills or expertise without a basic understanding of the best way to pass on what they know. It’s inefficient, and it’s unrewarding for everyone concerned.

A one-day train the trainer workshop can be all it takes to equip someone with the basic understanding they need to communicate knowledge or skills professionally, effectively and confidently.

As with many things in life, preparation makes all the difference when it comes to training. That’s why the first thing we impress on would-be trainers is the importance of working out in advance exactly what they’ll be communicating – and how they’ll be doing it.

It’s essential to be clear about both what learners are expecting from the training and the overall objectives of the exercise. This might involve conducting some kind of training needs analysis (which we obviously cover in our workshops) to identify what trainees do and don’t already know.

Starting with a clearly mapped-out plan including approximate timings, helps keep training delivery on course. It also highlights what resources or materials a trainer is likely to need, whether that’s handouts, props, whiteboards, or audiovisual equipment.

When we train would-be trainers, we always emphasise the importance of basic logistics. Not having the right environment or resources can throw a training session completely off course. Wherever possible, dry runs are advisable.

We also emphasise that trainers need to be prepared to cope with obstacles to learning which might not normally become apparent until a session’s underway. How will they deal with disruptive or inattentive learners – or with individuals who may push back if they already know something about the topics covered?

Different people learn in different ways. So trainers will typically need to vary their style of training during a session, to keep all participants engaged and motivated. It’s also important to understand how to adapt delivery for different groups and different training formats.

The key to making knowledge stick is getting participants to apply their learning in practical ways during a session. We teach techniques such as mini-breakouts and roleplay to bring topics to life and make learning more sticky.

It’s a quirk of human nature that we retain information we’ve correctly recalled in front of others better than information we’ve got wrong or not known. So setting participants up to provide a correct response helps embed what they’re learning.

As well as keeping participants engaged and alert, it’s important to verify understanding before moving on – and then at the end of a session (or afterwards) to assess how much has really sunk in. Establishing benchmarks in advance makes testing meaningful.

In our train the trainer workshops we take an exhaustively practical approach, looking in detail at everything from sourcing and developing content and resources, to room layout, types of equipment, and motivational techniques.

There’s a vast hinterland of theoretical material on the right and wrong ways to train, and we cover some of this as well. But the key thing we hope people take away from our train the trainer sessions is a broad appreciation of the practical considerations and the confidence they’ll need to lead a training session.

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Learn all about insurance accounting

Micahel Jackson, famously, was not like other boys. Insurance companies, in a vaguely similar kind of way, aren’t exactly like other businesses. And by the same token, insurance accounting isn’t exactly like other accounting.

Searchlight’s one-day interactive workshop on Insurance Accounting tells you everything you need to know about exactly how different it is. It’s equally suited to non-accounting staff and to staff who are new to insurance accounting.

The workshop explains the basics of financial accounting for insurance companies and Lloyd’s syndicates as well as the operational and risk aspects that drive insurance technical accounts and reinsurance accounting. It also provides an analysis of the Solvency II implications from an accounting perspective.

Those attending will be able to:

  • Understand the key financial statements and the types of accounts prepared by insurers
  • Establish how the business of insurance drives the technical elements of the accounts and reinsurance accounting.
  • Understand the judgements and calculations applied in determining technical assets and liabilities,
  • Provide high level overview of the source of accounting principles applicable to insurers
  • Look at how the business of insurance and accounting principles give rise to the need for accounting judgements
  • Apply the theory to review various examples of published accounts
  • Review the business risks to be identified for capital allocation.
  • Understand how Solvency II balance sheet compares to GAAP balance sheet

Among the topics covered are:

  • The cycle of the technical areas of premiums, claims and reinsurance to see how they are reflected in the accounts
  • How technical balance sheet and income statement elements are disclosed
  • The bases of reinsurance accounting
  • Calculation techniques for the technical judgement areas, such as IBNR reserves and unearned premiums
  • Case studies of business risks
  • Solvency II balance sheet requirements including a comparison to GAAP balance sheet and income.

Click here for full details.

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How to do interviews properly

There’s  more to inteveiwing than asking a few questions and taking the appraising the cut of a person’s jib. If you recruit the wrong person, it could cost your firm time and money. Whereas time invested in taking our course could pay significant dividends further down the line.

Searchlight’s Interviewing Skills workshop equips your people with the skills they need tointerview effectively, consistently and professionally.

The workshops is suitable for anyone with responsibility for recruiting and selecting staff, and will benefit experienced managers who want to refresh their skills or those who simply wish to master these skills quickly.

By the end of the workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of setting clear core competencies
  • Identify standards of performance for these competencies
  • Describe the legal issues relating to recruitment and selection
  • Specify the preparation required for a selection interview
  • Describe the key communication skills required for an effective interviewer
  • Explain the importance of clear record keeping
  • Conduct a selection interview following an agreed structure
  • Describe the follow-up procedures

They will also have covered all of the following areas:

  • The objective of the selection interview and the costs of getting it wrong
  • Agreeing core competencies and recruitment criteria
  • Identifying performance standards
  • Legal issues in recruitment and selection
  • Short-listing for interview
  • Interview planning and question preparation
  • Interviewing skills
  • Questioning techniques
  • Listening and note taking
  • Establishing rapport
  • Body language
  • Skills practice
  • The selection decision
  • Personal action plan for further development of skills

Click here for further details.

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Our online tutorial helps your people get the basics right

Our’s Compliance Basics Online programme keeps your staff up to date on the many new and changing regulations affecting insurance. It is designed to build a good basic understanding of compliance and how it works.

Many problems start when people get things wrong because they haven’t understood – or have misunderstood – the regulations, rules and policies that govern their day to day job responsibilities.

Many of these issues can be avoided – or at least mitigated – by giving your people access to Searchlight’s Compliance Basics Online programme.

It consists of 16 tutorials, which can be studied in any order and at the user’s own pace:

  • An introduction and overview of the FCA
  • NEW: Bribery and Corruption
  • Claims Handling
  • Client Money
  • Complaint Handling
  • Conduct Risk
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Contract Certainty
  • Data Protection (including GDPR)
  • Financial Crime
  • ICOBS
  • Money Laundering
  • NEW: Sanctions
  • The Insurance Act 2015
  • Treating Customers Fairly
  • Training and Competence

For a minimal outlay, Compliance Basics Online could help keep your business out of trouble.

For further information:

Call us on 01372 361177 or email searchlightacademy@ssluk.net

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Looking back at the big three compliance landmarks of 2018

Last year was unusually busy on the insurance regulation front, with GDPR, IDD and SM&CR the main items on the agenda.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came in to force on 25 May, was in many ways the most significant change. Insurance providers have traditionally held and processed huge amounts of personal information on their clients – not always in an especially disciplined fashion. The process of putting the necessary systems, processes and policies in place to comply with the new legislation has been quite an adjustment for some firms.

A second major landmark on the general insurance regulatory landscape in 2018 was the EU’s Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD). This replaces the previous Insurance Mediation Directive and aims to better protect the interests of customers large and small. Originally slated for implementation on 23 February this year, IDD was then put back until 1 October. Sighs of relief were duly heaved. Demand for related training grew stronger than ever.

IDD requires insurance providers of all kinds to be fully transparent on the basis of their involvement in the insurance sales process – and on any remuneration they receive in consequence of that involvement. Intermediaries must clearly explain the rationale for – and disclose any factors that might influence – any recommendations they make.

Aside from training on the detail of the regulations themselves and how to prepare for compliance, IDD has also fuelled a big uptick in demand for CPD. On the assumption that you’re unlikely to get good advice from anyone who is not a good adviser, the IDD’s authors stipulated that all UK insurance distributors’ staff must complete a minimum 15 hours’ training and CPD annually.

Specifically, depending on their precise role, under SYSC 28.2.3, customer-facing staff are now required not only to know about their own products but also to understand the structure, workings and key legal aspects of the insurance market, to have basic financial competence, be able to effectively assess customer needs, understand their firm’s claims handling process along with complaints handling procedures, and to have an awareness of the ethical dimensions of the business, including treating customers fairly and avoiding conflicts of interest. All of which – by a happy coincidence, or otherwise – are topics covered in the online learning modules that we currently offer – as well as in face to face training workshops we provide.

The third key piece of regulation affecting businesses in 2018 is the Senior Managers & Certification Regime (SM&CR), which replaces the Approved Persons Regime, widely seen as seriously deficient in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Amongst the aims of SM&CR were: encouraging a culture in which staff at all levels take personal responsibility for their actions, ensuring they and their employers clearly understand where responsibility lies in any given situation, and embedding personal responsibility into the functions of board members and other senior staff.

SM&CR came into force for insurance firms regulated by both the FCA and PRA (i.e. underwriters/insurance carriers) on 10 December. Those regulated solely by the FCA (typically brokers and intermediaries) have the best part of another year in which to prepare themselves. Dual-regulated firms should by now have identified those members of their staff requiring certification and provided appropriate training for them and for their senior managers.

Much of the training we have delivered during 2018 has been focussed on helping firms identify what changes they need to make to their internal policies and procedures to accommodate SM&CR, to test the fitness and propriety of their staff under the new regime, to assess ongoing competence, and to identify how their systems may need to be updated.

There are other regulatory changes looming on the horizon. If nothing else, Brexit – in whatever form it finally arrives – seems certain to throw up a raft of new compliance issues with which we’ll all need to contend. In the meantime, the passing of those 2018 implementation deadlines by no means spells the end of insurance firms’ need for training on the regulations concerned.

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IDD: Are your people compliant and meeting their CPD targets?

The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) requires all staff involved in the distribution of insurance products to complete 15 hours of CPD per year and to demonstrate the minimum levels of competency required for them to undertake their roles.

Does your firm have the right training and assessment tools in place to meet this obligation?  Searchlight Academy has a solution for you.

IDD’s scope is broad and complex. Searchlight Academy offers a cost-effective solution that makes light work of staying compliant.

  • Unique programme to ensure your staff meet the required 15 hours CPD target
  • Reporting functionality for evidencing compliance and monitoring staff progress
  • Ability to load your own learning to the system (e.g. on product knowledge)
  • Glossary of over 700 insurance terms to build knowledge and understanding
  • Ability to licence content only, if preferered, for loading on to your own LMS

Contact Searchlight on 01372 361177, or email training@ssluk.net for more information.

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