Sask Polytech students take silver in national insurance innovation competition
Business Insurance students put theoretical and applied learning into action
Ten Saskatchewan Polytechnic students in the Business diploma program Insurance specialty at Moose Jaw campus, have demonstrated the advantage of theoretical knowledge and applied learning. During WinterHack 2022, a national ideathon competition put on Cookhouse Labs, Canada’s first insuretech innovation lab, the students secured second place, competing against teams representing universities and colleges from across Canada.
During the competition, which was open to post-secondary education institutions across Canada, nine teams were tasked with creating an innovative, technology solution to a problem presented at the beginning of the two-day competition.
The Sask Polytech team’s task was to develop a subscription-based business model built upon a digital ecosystem. The group created an environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund with an environmental focus. Through their plan, customers would be given the opportunity to invest in the fund and draw out loans for home upgrades with an environmental focus. The results were an app named the Home Enhancer Financer, that would allow customers to consider how home improvements would reduce their insurance premiums and then provide them with the ability to apply for a loan.
This is the first time a group of students from Sask Polytech have participated in the contest, and John Blommesteyn, Financial Services, Insurance and Risk Management program head, is pleased with the results.
“The competition had huge value to the students,” he said. “They were under pressure to apply what they’ve learned in class and develop a solution in a short time frame.”
The nature of the applied learning environment at a polytechnic was evident, with Sask Polytech finishing in second place.
“The advantage of our learning methods and environment were evident,” said Blommesteyn. “The students pulled together their knowledge of the business insurance field and their skills in conflict management, relationship building and communications and applied them to the project.”
Student Savanah Spooner was the captain of the team and agrees that the polytechnic team had an advantage. “The soft skills we learn at Sask Polytech were incredibly helpful,” she said. “Project work is part of our applied learning. We were able to draw on our marketing and communications skills as well as our knowledge of insurance and business practices to develop a viable product.”
The Sask Polytech team consisted of second-year students Savanah Spooner, Nirav Patel, Nirav Soni, Ikenna Nwoke, Samarah Genaille, Rebecca Hirschmueller, Christian Gottselig, Navpreet Singh, Francis Bazin, and Keith Hubbard.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic is one of only nine colleges and universities in Canada to offer a dedicated insurance program, and the only one in Saskatchewan. The specialty is designed with extensive input from Saskatchewan's insurance industry and the Insurance Institute of Canada. Visit School of Business to learn more.