Our expert Prof. Dr. Holger Becker, Executive Trainer and Professor of Business Administration at DHBW Karlsruhe, has been using our management simulations since 2006. Just recently, he played our industry-specific business simulation “TOPSIM – Insurance” with the executives and junior executives of Allianz Egypt in Cairo. A total of twenty-three employees from Allianz Egypt participated and faced the challenges of managing a typical insurance company.
Goals and Structure of the Business Simulation
The aim of the simulation was to train the executives and junior executives of Allianz Egypt and to deepen their knowledge of the different areas of the company. Participants from various departments such as insurance, human resources, customer service, controlling, legal and compliance and marketing formed teams and competed against each other. “TOPSIM – Insurance” gave them a deeper insight into underwriting and the internal accounting of an insurance company. In addition, the business simulation illustrates cross-relationships between insurance decisions and human resources planning.
The twenty-three participants were divided into five teams with up to five members and played a total of five decision rounds in presence on three consecutive days. The complexity of the simulation increased continuously. Initially, the teams each dealt with only one insurance product. In subsequent rounds, the simulation was expanded to include other products, fire insurance as an additional product and personnel planning. The level of difficulty of “TOPSIM – Insurance” can be adapted to the skills of the participants.
TOPSIM – Insurance brings together the different parts of an insurance company. When it comes to teaching people about underwriting, TOPSIM – Insurance is unrivaled. I do not know of any other business simulations that even come close to delivering this level of complexity.
Procedure of the Business Simulation
At the beginning of the event, the participants received a brief introduction by the seminar leader. This was followed by the first decision round and the evaluation of the decisions. In the plenary session, Prof. Dr. Becker clarified the importance of relevant key figures by asking specific questions. For example, he inquired which team had the largest market share in their opinion and which effect was responsible for this. He was available to answer questions from the teams afterwards. After each round, he adapted the evaluation to the current circumstances, focusing, for example, on the introduction of new products.
The executives and junior executives of Allianz Egypt were very committed, self-confident and adapted their strategies to the current economic situation and the decisions of the competition. For Prof. Dr. Becker, good preparation is crucial to guarantee an exciting and instructive business game seminar. During the simulation, he always responded individually to the participants’ decisions and matched the challenges of the business game with their abilities and needs. The participants not only benefited from the cross-departmental expertise of their team members, but also strengthened internal team structures through the intensive collaboration.
TOPSIM – Insurance is not only a purely technical business simulation. I like to call it a “Trojan horse”, because it gives the opportunity to include topics such as social skills and teamwork in a seminar without this being the primary focus or seminar title. Thus, it can also be optimally used as a leadership development tool, for example.
Additional Tasks and Evaluation
The business game seminar was supplemented by theory sessions to prepare the participants for the increasing complexity of the simulation before each new decision round. They were also given additional tasks. On the one hand, they were tasked with developing a strategy for their corporate planning during the simulation. Secondly, they presented their strategy at the end of the simulation at a general meeting and explained whether and how they achieved their goals.
The profitability and growth of the respective insurance company were used to evaluate the teams. On the one hand, it is easy to be profitable while shrinking. On the other hand, it is easy to boost growth without earning anything in the process. The winning team managed to master these two goals and achieve profitable growth. The team members were awarded with a trophy.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Allianz Egypt for the successful cooperation and to Prof. Dr. Holger Becker for the exciting insights into his teaching.
We are looking forward to further joint projects!