Written by DAPHNE VON UEXKÜLL

All about Custom User Interface Components: FAQs and our specialist certification

Model development

5 minutes

CUICs. What are they? What value can they bring to your pricing workflow? And why should you consider undertaking our CUIC certification? Find answers below!

Charts and visualisations can be a valuable part of pricing models. While Excel and standard Python charts offer some basic options, they also have limitations.

  • What if your datatypes are different than what the chart requires?

  • What if you want to dynamically update your chart, for example based on the insurance layers selected?

  • And what if you quickly want to highlight values based on your own rules, like marking a particularly high risk exposure in red?

Trying to do all of these things in Excel or with the standard Python charts is time-consuming and clunky and sometimes simply not possible.

hx Renew offers an elegant solution: Custom User Interface Components, or CUIC. CUIC enables you to quickly build powerful visuals that help you dig deeper into your data and deliver novel insights into your pricing.

No more boring charts that are hard to create. Instead use our templates and build your own and make elegant charts in no time!

And of course, these components are fully and truly customisable.

It is critical to note that CUICs are not about adding pretty graphs, but rather providing powerful information for your pricing that you would otherwise not get.

Using CUICs in your models, brings you one step closer to becoming a PDI expert (Pricing Decision Intelligence). Given the importance of CUICs to PDI, we want to formally acknowledge specialist users.

The specialist Custom UI Component Certification

We're excited to announce the launch of the specialist “Custom UI Component Exam”. The CUIC exam is our second specialist certification, designed to be taken after completing the foundational “Core Model Developer Exam”.

This specialist certification, together with the specialist “Model Developer API Exam”, brings our users one step closer to becoming a PDI expert.

The CUIC certification recognises that the user can implement CUICs intelligently to build smarter pricing models. Moreover, the CUIC certification also acknowledges the user to be a technical specialist in creating and utilising CUIC templates, and using JavaScript React and Plotly.

Frequently asked questions

Read our FAQ below below to learn more about how CUICs can elevate your pricing models, and how you can become a certified CUIC specialist!

What is a CUIC?

CUIC stands for Custom User Interface Component or Custom UI Component.

A CUIC is a code component used to created a fully customisable visualisation.

In hx Renew CUICs are written in JavaScript React, which is a JavaScript library that allows the coder to build interactive components. To create charts, Plotly is integrated with the CUICs in hx Renew. Plotly is a third party library, which provides a wide range of chart types. Some examples include statistic charts, maps, 3D charts, interactive charts and animations.

With CUIC and Plotly integrated, the users can enhance their analyses with powerful charts, that offer novel insights into the data.

What can I customise with CUICs?

Of course, it is possible to customise colours, sizes and the layout of all charts. One could, for example, make sure all visualisation use exclusively branding colours.

The “customisation” here does not only relate to the aesthetic of the visualisation but also the data. The user is able to define which variables are taken into the visualisation and what datatype they must have (e.g. text data, decimals, coordinates etc.).

It's also possible to create custom logic. The user can define a calculation or a Boolean, and based on it’s outcome, the visualisation changes. For example if a data point for exposure exceeds a certain threshold, it could be marked as red.

How are CUICs better than the current charts?

The standard charts are a decent choice when the user only has to plot a simple chart. However, in most cases the standard chart would not be the most sensible choice.

The CUICs and Plotly integration offers a much richer variety of charts. For example for property models, it is possible to create world maps, that colour the spread of risk across areas.

Above, we have an example of a choropleth map. States are colored by “Total Insurable Value” and we can see the details for each state if we use the cursor over it, as done here for Texas. It is also possible to click a pin and get property specific details.

Further, the dynamism can be added to CUICs, such as chart updates based on data selection or custom rules.

How does CUIC compare to other tools like Excel?

When comparing CUICs to tools like Excel, several key distinctions emerge.

What remains consistent is the core objective: data visualization. Both CUICs and Excel charts serve to present data visually, aiding in analysis and decision-making.

However, CUICs offer distinct advantages. They allow for greater flexibility and interactivity in visualizations, enabling dynamic updates based on user inputs or data changes. This feature surpasses Excel's static charting capabilities, offering a more responsive and tailored visualization experience.

Moreover, CUICs provide a wider range of chart types and customization options compared to Excel, empowering users to create more sophisticated and impactful visualizations.

What users appreciate about Excel, such as its familiarity and ease of use, is retained in CUICs. However, CUICs eliminate common frustrations with Excel, such as limitations in chart customization and difficulty in handling large datasets.

In essence, CUICs retain the strengths of Excel while offering enhanced flexibility, interactivity, and customization, making them a superior choice for data visualization in modern pricing models.

How can underwriters benefit from from CUIC?

The different types of charts can highlight whether or not a risk is priced appropriately. For example, you could create a scatter plot for losses against charged premium. Further, you can implement custom rules to colour any data points that exceed a certain threshold.

Here, you can compare your current risk (black cross) to its peers and click any datapoint for more information.

The visual aids support underwriters in understanding their risk exposure better. A great example of this is density heatmaps, with which you can geographically map out your risk exposure for properties. They look like this:

Finally, CUICs can not only be implemented in the pricing models but also in the portfolio analysis.

Do I have to be a JavaScript expert?

You do not have to have JavaScript experience, let alone be an expert, in order to use the CUICs templates.

Firstly, there are templates that the hx Renew team offers to all clients, which can be downloaded within each client’s environment.

Secondly, there are two extensive training courses hosted in our customer platform as well. There is a beginners course that covers the setup and basic charts, while the next course discusses advanced charts. As always, these courses have video tutorials, written instructions and model files for the user to code along through every exercise.

With these resources, every user can be a CUIC master, while not having to be a JavaScript expert.

What data can I add to my charts?

Any datatype can be loaded into your CUIC. For each component, you can specify yourself whether the input data should be text data (string), decimals (floats), coordinates (latitude, longitude) etc.

We provide you with instructions on how to do this in our training pages, where there is also a detailed video walk-through. In addition, users are directed to the relevant Plotly documentation pages, where they can read up on what properties each component has and what kind of data is compatible with the individual chart.

What can I add besides charts?

While charts might be the most popular use case of CUIC, it is certainly not the only one. Users can add videos (iFrames) and images, as well as GIFs.

For example, you can connect to a third party provider via our APIs and display a snapshot from other source in an iFrame.

This makes your policy overview more complete by allowing you to include information that would otherwise remain in a different source.

You could also include clips as well. You can find a little demonstration of an embedded video here:

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Why should I take the CUIC certification?

Earning the CUIC certification is a crucial step for any actuary aiming to enhance their professional skills and career. This certification formally recognizes your ability to create and use Custom User Interface Components in hx Renew, validating your expertise in building advanced visualizations that improve pricing models.

The certification shows your commitment to mastering advanced tools and techniques, making you a valuable asset to your team and positioning you as an expert in PDI.

Getting certified also means you can better support your team in utilizing CUICs, leading to more informed decision-making and improved operational efficiency. The CUIC certification is an investment in your professional development and a gateway to becoming a leader in building smarter models and dashboards.

How do I prepare for the CUIC exam?

The exam consists of 25 multiple choice questions and takes 20 minutes to complete. It can be taken in person, or online.

The primary preparation for the exam is getting hands-on experience with the CUIC templates and practising the customisation. Users will be expected to understand how to customise existing templates, however, we do not expect the user to know how to build their own CUIC from scratch.

It is also worth looking at the corresponding training, which can be found in our customer service portal. There are video tutorials, written instructions and example files for the user to practice with. The training and exam covers the proficient use of:

  • The general setup

  • PropTypes

  • Data binding

  • Local state

  • Data transformation

How do I take the CUIC exam?

The exam can be taken online or in person.

We have run examination sessions in the hour before our user groups, which have been well subscribed.  Additionally, a good number of people have taken the exam online, in a 1:1 session with one of our Learning team acting as an invigilator. You can also organise a larger exam session for your whole team.

Get in touch with us here: hx Renew certifications