Cardiff University and Legal & General’s partnership to develop and deliver specialist courses to medical underwriters has reached a significant anniversary. In 2002, L&G identified a need to up-skill experienced underwriters in the medical underwriting field, where the required specialist understanding is detailed and challenging. L&G’s perception was that there was an absence of training available on the market for underwriters in specialist medical topics.
Collaborative working and open communication are the key messages from the partners when asked ‘what are the key ingredients to long term university and business engagement?’ Clare Sinclair, Head of Cardiff University’s Professional Development Team said “Having been involved from the start of the 10 year relationship I am so proud of what the partnership between L&G and the university has achieved. Throughout the years we have worked together to continually develop and improve each course to ensure they offer a quality learning experience and meet the business needs of L&G.”
The relationship between L&G and the university to develop the courses originated in an ad hoc conversation between senior staff at a networking event. The result was a university accredited course, delivered in a flexible way and using varied modes of provision. Following the success of this course others followed year on year; each being re-designed or enhanced to accommodate the changing requirements of L&G.
10 years on and the courses have developed into Specialist Medical Modules attended by L&G staff from offices around the UK. A blended learning approach is used to ensure that learners can access and undertake the learning at their own pace before coming to the face-to-face days of the courses that are held in the university. The modules are adult learning focused and use practical, hands on workshops and real life examples and industry case studies to aid discussion and understanding of medical conditions.
Over the past 10 years the partnership has won awards including a National Training Award (Regional Prize) in 2004 & 2010 and been praised as demonstrating good practices for collaborative working between an HEI and a business. In addition ‘The Underwriting Academy’, as L&G refer to it has received support from the insurance sector. Drummond Watt, Individual Development Manager, Underwriting at L&G says “The Academy has received significant praise over the years from our reinsurance partners who confirm we lead the market in the way we continually develop our underwriters. Our excellent reputation has also attracted and retained the best underwriting talent in the market, as a direct result of the training and development opportunities on offer.”
During the 10 year relationship Cardiff University has gone on to develop a bespoke medical underwriting course for another insurance company and a suite of professional development modules open to insurance companies and designed to improve understanding of medical conditions and the implications for underwriting and claims risk assessment.
Providing continuing professional development (CPD) to businesses is an important form of knowledge transfer. Businesses can raise the skill levels of their workforce and learn about the latest academic ideas and research, while universities gain access to the latest developments in professional practice.
Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, Professor Colin Riordan commented: “I was delighted to hear about the many and varied links the university has with business. Celebrating its tenth anniversary the partnership with Legal & General is a great example of an innovative collaboration between a visionary business and a leading university. I am delighted to hear that the relationship continues this year with another Specialist Medical Module starting in March. It is strategic partnerships like these between business and university that will drive economic growth and enhance the UK’s reputation globally.”