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Agile Insurance: 7 Simple Steps to Innovate

Agile Insurance: 7 Simple Steps to Innovate

The insurtech revolution is here to stay. It feels like every day we’re learning about a new fundraising round, partnership, or company wide initiative to digitize - and large firms are racing to find their partners in the space and sometimes buy them. 

These bits of news are fun to follow, and it’s exciting to be part of an industry that's changing this fast, but if you’ve thought “what does that have to do with my job?” then you're not alone. 

Here’s the good news: getting involved in innovation isn't necessarily complex and it’s actually really fun. It just requires a shift in mindset and learning some new tools.

A few weeks ago, we published an article about using design thinking to solve key problems in the industry and your business. Today, we are going to dig a little deeper into this and talk about how agile methodology will supercharge your innovation activities.


What Is agile methodology?

To begin, let’s get grounded in agile. Agile is an approach to product development done by collaborative teams who focus on iteration, user feedback, and speed. The benefits of agile include spending less money & time, and producing better products that meet changing stakeholder needs.

Great! So what does that actually mean?

It means that you produce better solutions faster. In agile, teams are smaller and feature different skill sets, and the vision is changed along the way as you gather stakeholder feedback. This helps create innovative solutions and more efficient organizations.

The creators of agile methodology say there are four key principles that guide the methodology:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Why does this matter to me?

Insurance is moving faster than ever, so you need to move fast too. Agile teams can identify problems and create simple solutions in way less time than hierarchical organizations can.

Agile also helps improve customer satisfaction and employee engagement, and this already has been shown to produce amazing results in the insurance industry.

At the end of the day, what matters is our clients, and when teams use agile, they produce better products and better customer experiences. When we look internally, agile can help create solutions that help your business grow more efficiently and see existing innovation projects reach their potential.

What that means is less time on redundant tasks and more time connecting with your clients and growing your business. Sounds too good to be true right? Wrong! Let’s take a look at how you can use agile methodology in insurance.


How to use agile methodology in insurance

Sorry to do this to you, but we’re going back to middle school science class! Go grab your kids’ textbooks, because agile methodology is just like the scientific method.

It’s probably been a little while, so how about a quick review.

You start with a hypothesis that an action will produce a certain reaction; if I do X then Y will happen. The test should be designed to disprove this hypothesis. If you can not disprove it after enough tests, then you can say with some confidence that your hypothesis is correct. If the hypothesis is disproven, then you take what you learned and try again.

Agile is remarkably similar. Your business or your customers have a problem and you think of a simple solution. Rather than pouring budget into this idea, you treat it like a hypothesis. Build a simple test to determine if it works, measure stakeholder feedback, determine what you have learned, rinse and repeat.

The process basically goes something like this:

  1. Build: what’s the fastest, simplest way you can determine if your solution is valuable and accomplishes it’s goal? Design this as a simple test and find a group of users or stakeholders you can test against.
  2. Measure: What does success look like? How should the users respond? Your test should be conducted among people who would be using the eventual solution and your goal is to gather their feedback.
  3. Learn: Take notes, collect data, and interview the participants about their experience. This will help you form insights that help you improve or iterate on the solution.

The trick is to keep going through this loop over and over again until you arrive at a solution you are totally confident in and your test participants love. You will always be able to learn something from this cycle, and the more you go through it, the better the solution will be.

Insurtech promises to eliminate redundant tasks and free up more time to grow your business. As risk evolves, new problems arise, and digital transformation accelerates, agile can help you survive and thrive.

Tying it all together in 7 simple steps

Congrats! You are now equipped with a general understanding of agile methodology and a quick understanding of how to apply it to insurance. Now let’s put it in motion.

  1. Anchor the team in Agile methodologies so you are all beating to the same drum.
  2. Use Agile to set up agile. Setting up the process, the initial tests and reviews is an experiment in itself. Use the methods you have learned to test, learn, and iterate in order to find the process that works best for your company.
  3. Decide the best place to start. What internal or client facing issues have been a thorn in your side for a while, but you can't quite figure out? These are great problems to attack with an agile team.
  4. Get to work - put it all into action and begin designing and testing new solutions.
  5. Measure your success. What does success look like and how are you measuring it? If things don't go as planned, what can you learn
  6. Broaden the Circle. More ideas and perspectives only sharpen the outcomes. Include diverse thinking to the group to have a broader organizational impact.
  7. Repeat. Your organization will be solving problems faster, with better client insights and having more success in no time.

Here are some other resources to keep you trucking!

IDEO Human Centered Design Toolkit

Minimum Viable Product (Prototyping) Guide

Managing Agile Teams

Let’s talk about how we can help your firm modernize and thrive. Get in touch here

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