How insurance form design increased accurate notetaking by 74%

Intervention · Financial Products


An important facet of making an insurance claim comes down to the first call. In that call, it is vital to capture as much information about an accident so the insurance company can accurately assess the damages that need to be paid out. Supposedly, first notice of loss (FNOL) sheets are used by insurance companies to ensure that information collection occurs correctly. Unfortunately, these sheets are often filled out incorrectly or inadequately, leading to increased costs, wait times, and difficulties in receiving payouts.

Topdanmark, a top insurance firm from Denmark, paired with Kurkow, a behavioral science firm, to help improve FNOL notetaking in their employees. By improving the sheet’s choice architecture, providing question prompts, and making the process more visually appealing, Kurkow was able to improve the amount of acceptable FNOL notes by 74%.


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How choice architecture, prompts, and visuals increased accurate insurance form completion 
Original forms Pre-intervention measurements were not provided.
Redesigned forms 74% increase in acceptable form completion

Key Concepts

Nudges: Nudges are gentle suggestions towards a desired outcome that are created by subtly altering the context in which we make our decisions. They often occur below our conscious awareness. 

Choice Architecture: The presentation of choices in different ways, which subsequently influences decision making.

FNOL Note: A first notice of loss is the first report that is filed to an insurance company in the instance of theft, loss, or other forms of damage to an insured asset. 

The Problem

Turns out, paperwork is important

Accidents happen all the time. Luckily, insurance companies can help ease the financial pressures when inevitable disasters strike. In order to do so, insurance companies must have high-quality information to accurately assess the damages. The typical process involves the claimant calling the insurance company, where an insurance worker will pick up and fill out a first notice of loss (FNOL).

First notice of loss (FNOL) forms

High-quality FNOL notes, which are characterized by their abundance of relevant information, typically result in reduced claim cycle times, lower payouts, and higher customer satisfaction. In short, good FNOL notes benefit both the insurance company and the customer. 

The trouble with note-taking 

Insurance companies often emphasize the importance and value of proper FNOL note taking to their workers. Unfortunately, many organizations still struggle with guaranteeing that their employees listen attentively and take adequate notes. Topdanmark, an insurance giant in Denmark, was struggling with the quality and standard of their FNOL notes and turned to behavioral science for a potential solution. Pairing with Kurkow, a Danish behavioral science firm, Topdanmark sought to devise a strategy where taking FNOL notes would be easier, more fruitful, and more beneficial for themselves and their clients. 


The ideal FNOL?

To begin this process, Kurkow first needed to figure out a key metric: what constitutes a good FNOL note? Then, they had to find out what processes go into authoring an efficient FNOL. Combining those two things, they could streamline the process by designing a framework for filling out FNOL notes based on behavioral science. 

Sequential, intuitive, and visual

Kurkow then redesigned the system for taking FNOL notes. They focused on making the information collection path a sequential process of question-asking. This would ensure that the correct questions were asked at the correct time during the conversation. They also worked on making the system more intuitive, which would ideally allow the employees to solely focus on listening to the client. Furthermore, they attempted to make the instructions for the process more visual, which is generally easier to comprehend. Unfortunately, there is limited information on how they performed these tasks, but these were their overarching goals and techniques.

Results and Application

A 74% increase in acceptable FNOLs

The resulting intuitive approach allowed for an increase in acceptable FNOL notes by 74%, as well as improved the efficiency and speed of the claims process. To any person who just suffered a disaster, an efficient, non-bureaucratic effort to get some financial relief can be tremendously helpful. Therefore, the improved speed from this improvement in acceptable FNOL notes subsequently made the claims experience much more positive. 

Bureaucracy needs a bit of behavioral science

Inefficient bureaucracy can be a big issue, and this intervention provides some hope that behavioral science can partially mitigate it. By narrowing down complex bureaucratic efforts into intuitive simple processes that are designed to work with our human biases and heuristics, we could dramatically improve the speed, quality, efficiency, and user experience of important bureaucratic work. 

Education Behavioural design in notetaking could help students better comprehend and retain material
Health & Wellbeing Healthcare professionals can use optimized forms to take better notes on patients, and increase efficiency of communications between practitioners
Financial Services Young people starting to budget can use guiding forms to learn what they should keep track of, questions they should ask, tricks to save, etc.


  • The intervention improves the wellbeing of those in accidents
  • Monitoring information was absent from the provider
  • More information is needed on how forms can cater to diverse claimant groups

Does the intervention demonstrably improve the lives of those affected by it?
The increase in satisfactory FNOL note-taking means a quicker and more effective process of compensation for customers.
Does the intervention respect the privacy (including the privacy of identity) of those it affects?
It does not appear that personal details of employees, customers, or insurance cases are revealed in this study.
Does the intervention have a plan to monitor the safety, effectiveness, and validity of the intervention?
Insufficient Information
There is no information on the monitoring aspect of this intervention.

Does the intervention abide by a reasonable degree of consent?
Employees using the forms appear to have not given explicit consent, but data was collected only from the company’s practice.
Does the intervention respect the ability of those it affects to make their own decisions?
It does not appear that personal details of employees, customers, or insurance cases are revealed in this study.
Does the intervention increase the number of choices available to those it affects?
Not Applicable
The intervention did not increase the number of choices available for customers or insurers, it simply tried to improve the traditional method of FNOL note taking.

Does the intervention acknowledge the perspectives, interests, and preferences of everyone it affects, including traditionally marginalized groups?
Room for Improvement
While the intervention increased the number of good FNOL notes, it did not tailor its method of note taking to the identity of the caller. Some customers from marginalized groups might omit sharing certain pieces of information which can be crucial in their claims process due to inherent biases or cultural backgrounds.
Are the participants diverse?
Insufficient Information
There is no information on the diversity of the participants of this intervention. 
Does the intervention help ensure a just, equitable distribution of welfare?
While the increase in good FNOL notes is primarily to benefit the insurance company, it can also benefit customers in ensuring that they get a “fair” compensation. 

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Krukow Behavioral Design. (2021). Nudging efficient customer service. Retrieved from 

Notes illustration

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