Submision Guidelines and Tips for the Australian Insurance Industry Awards
Entering the annual Australian Insurance Industry Awards is a great way to showcase your achievements, gain recognition for your successes and promote your business to staff and customers.
We understand the effort, emotion and time that go into writing an Awards submission. Judges are only allowed to use the information provided in a submission, so putting effort into your document is important. Across most categories, the top few submissions can be within one or two marks of each other.
Your challenge is to write your submission to the judging panel with the goal of convincing them that it is the best in the category. Write it in a compelling way, and make sure that it is based on evidence. Remember, the judges have many entries to evaluate in some categories, so make yours memorable and easy to read.
The following guidelines and tips give an insight into the judging process for the Awards and will assist you to write an award-winning submission.
1. THE JUDGING PROCESS
Judges are well-respected, senior insurance professionals selected from across the industry. They volunteer their time to participate in the judging process. Judges are bound by confidentiality and recuse themselves when there is a potential conflict. The judging panel is overseen by a presiding judge.
There are two stages to the judging process. In stage 1, each judge independently reads, reviews and marks every submission across all categories. The judges then submit their marking sheets and scores to ANZIIF, which collates them and creates a list of finalists who will receive particular consideration on judging day.
Stage 2 is a judging day where all the judges are present. Judges discuss each submission against the criteria for that category. Each judge then confidentially ranks the relevant submissions in each category and provides their rankings to EY, which aggregates the rankings to determine the winners. Judges are not privy to the winners in each category until they are announced on the evening of the Awards.
Sponsorship management and judging are completely separate processes, and sponsors play no part in the determination of finalists or winners. Each submission is assessed on merit against the judging criteria.
2. KEEPING TO THE WORD LIMIT
In recent years, some submissions have far exceeded the word limit. When you enter your submission this year, you are required to declare your word count. Submissions that exceed the word limit by more than 10 per cent will have a 10 per cent penalty automatically deducted from their marks.
Word count software is used to verify your declared word limit. In previous years some submissions have tried to work around the word count by including a significant portion of word count in images. The word count software counts all words. When planning your submission please consider that any text, picture files, graphs etc. will be included in the overall word count. As a general principle, if you are directing the judges to read something as part of your submission then it is included in the word count. An allowance is applied to account for headers, footers, title pages and repetitions of the question so you do not need to include those in your calculations.
Pay attention to the weighting of each question, as this will help you to decide where to focus your efforts. Make sure that your language is concise and purposeful; for example, judges are familiar with Net Promoter Scores, so don’t waste words explaining them. Use diagrams and tables, as these can be a more efficient way of communicating your point.
3. ADDRESSING THE CRITERIA
In recent years, some submissions have failed to address all of the criteria for their category. Because the judges’ scoring sheet is aligned to the criteria, it is important that you address each one. If you do not address a criterion, you will receive no marks for it, making it much less likely that your entry will be the winning one.
For some criteria, you may be asked to address several parts of a question. The total points allocated to each criterion will generally reflect this. For example, a three-part question may be worth 15 marks in total, with each part marked out of five. If you only answer one part of a multi-part question, your mark will be awarded accordingly.
Judges can only base their decisions on the information you provide in your submission, so make sure that you answer each part of each question thoroughly. Again, check the weighting of different criteria to determine which questions require the most effort.
Submissions that fail to address any of the criteria — for instance, by using a previous year’s criteria or providing information that does not address any of the criteria — will be automatically disqualified and not sent to the judges.
4. PROVIDING EVIDENCE
Avoid making vague or unsupported claims. Award-winning submissions always include data and evidence because doing so ensures credibility and believability. A general claim such as ‘Customer satisfaction increased’ is much stronger when evidence is given: ‘Customer satisfaction increased by 20 per cent, as demonstrated in the graph below.’
It is not necessary to be concerned about the confidentiality of your information when providing evidence, as all judges sign confidentiality agreements and are excluded from reviewing or participating in categories in which they may have a conflict of interest.
5. TIPS FOR WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS
The 2017 Awards are for the period of 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2016, and they relate to your Australian business operations only. Please ensure that this is reflected in your response.
Winning submissions answer the criteria in the order which it is presented, as this reflects the order on the judges’ scoring sheet. When addressing each criterion, write it at the top of the page, presenting all your responses within a single document. Make your submission less text-heavy by including graphs, diagrams, illustrations, charts and images, as these visual elements can enhance your entry’s readability.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time on presenting the most creative or visually appealing submission. A well-written, thoughtful response presented as a Microsoft Word document will attain a higher score than a submission that is very creative but doesn’t address the criteria.
Have an independent party proofread your submission to ensure that you have answered the criteria and to check spelling, grammar and syntax.
Be careful about recycling award entries from prior years, as judging criteria and focus can vary substantially from year to year.
6. CHOOSING AWARD CATEGORIES WISELY
A good submission requires a great deal of work, so don’t be tempted to enter into lots of categories unless there is a good reason for you to do so. When, in the past, companies have entered into a number of categories, they have inevitably failed to address the specific criteria for each category.
7. RIGHT NOT TO AWARD A CATEGORY
The Australian Insurance Awards celebrate excellence. The judging panel have the right not to award a category if they do not believe that the submissions meet this standard. In this event, entrants will be notified that the category will not be awarded.
8. VARYING CRITERIA
Only the presiding judge can vary criteria. Requests for variation must be made in writing to Kelly Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow five working days for a written response, which will include any conditions associated with the change in criteria.
9. VARYING DEADLINE
In exceptional circumstances, the deadline for submission may be extended by a maximum of three working days. Requests for variation, along with an explanation as to why you are seeking the variation, must be made in writing to Kelly Duncan at email@example.com. Please allow one working day for a written response, which will include any conditions associated with the change in deadline.
Submissions can be made online at anziif.com/awards or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If submitting by email, please ensure to send the cover sheet and other accompanying documentation which can be downloaded at anziif.com/awards.
11. NOTIFICATION OF FINALISTS
Company-based award finalists and Young Insurance Professional of the Year finalists will be notified in writing within three working days of judging day. Insurance Leader of the Year and ANZIIF Lifetime Achievement Award finalists will remain confidential.
Announcement of finalists will be made in a media release as well as in an email to the ANZIIF member base. Please ensure that you carefully complete the cover sheet that must be included with your submission so that the correct company name is included in the announcements.
12. HELP AND FURTHER INFORMATION
If you’re in doubt or need help, give ANZIIF a call. The team are well versed in the awards criteria and can answer any questions you have about the criteria or the process. No question is a silly question, and asking us may help you to improve your submission. Please contact Kelly Duncan on 03 9613 7267 or via email email@example.com.