4 min read

Change Management: Tools to be Fast and Effective

Change Management: Tools to be Fast and Effective

Tumultuous, profound, seismic – pick any one of these words and you will accurately describe today's commercial insurance landscape. 

At the center of the disruption are insurtech startups who are nipping at your heels, offering streamlined processes and a hyper-digital experience. While the insurance industry has traditionally been risk-averse, favoring stability over rapid change, the time to embrace digitization is now. 

But how do you navigate this transformation without jeopardizing the very foundation of your business – risk management?

The answer lies in effective change management. It's about striking a balance between the need for speed and the inherent cautiousness that defines our industry.  Imagine your brokerage as a well-oiled machine, delivering exceptional service but perhaps sluggish in today's fast-paced environment. 

Digitization is the engine upgrade you need. But you wouldn't overhaul the entire system overnight, would you? Effective change management allows you to implement these upgrades thoughtfully, one component at a time.

 

The Challenge: Slow and Steady Used to Win the Race

Let's face it: traditional workflows in insurance brokerages can be like a labyrinth – slow, paper-heavy, and prone to errors. A recent study by McKinsey & Company found that a staggering 80% of insurance processes still involve manual data entry. This not only hinders efficiency but also introduces the risk of human error.  

More critically, errors in policy information can lead to coverage gaps, leaving your clients vulnerable during a time of need. Additionally, manual processes limit your ability to scale your operations and meet the growing demands of your clients. As your business grows, so will the volume of paperwork, making it increasingly difficult to maintain efficiency and accuracy.  This leads to bottlenecks in processing times and frustrated clients. 

Digitization offers a way out of this maze by streamlining these workflows, automating repetitive tasks, and freeing up your team to focus on higher-value activities, such as client service and risk assessment. However, implementing sweeping changes all at once can be overwhelming and risky.

 

Agile Methodologies: Measured Change at Speed

This is where Agile methodologies come to the rescue. Agile methodologies are an iterative development framework that allows you to break down large projects into smaller, manageable chunks. You test, learn, and adapt with each iteration based on real-world feedback. Coupled with the deployment of KPIs or OKRs, you will minimize risk by identifying potential problems early on, which will allow you to course-correct before significant resources are invested.

Imagine you're implementing a new online portal for your clients.  An agile approach would first involve developing and launching a basic version, focusing on core functionalities like policy management and claims submissions. You can then gather user feedback and iterate based on their needs. They may want a mobile app for on-the-go access or a feature to upload documents easily. By taking an Agile approach, you prioritize features that provide the most immediate value to your clients, reducing the risk of building something nobody wants.

The benefit of implementing agile methodologies is the ability to make changes at speed. Instead of building your digital brokerage one brick at a time, projects can be broken down into several “bricks” that can be laid simultaneously. With the appropriate framework in place, alignment between the bricks is constantly monitored, ensuring the end product has been built correctly. 

 

Data: The Compass for Your Digital Journey

Speed should never come at the expense of informed decision-making. In the world of change management, data is your compass. High-quality data lets you identify areas where digitization can have the biggest impact.  For instance, analyzing historical data can reveal which types of policies are most prone to errors during manual processing. This can help you prioritize which areas to automate first.

If agile methodologies are the foundation of digital transformation, data is the fuel. Without clean, accurate data, you risk making decisions that hinder progress. Investing in data governance practices, which ensure the quality and consistency of your data, is crucial for success and will prevent digital initiatives from sputtering out. 

Data can also be your measuring stick. Once you've implemented a new digital solution, data can tell you if it's working as intended. Are you seeing a reduction in errors? Is processing time faster? Are client satisfaction levels increasing? Data empowers you to measure success and continuously refine your approach.

 

The Crew and the Ship: Investing in a Future-Proofed Workforce

In any industry, the tools are only as good as those using them. The insurance industry is undergoing a digital revolution, and the skills needed are evolving just as fast. Upskilling your existing workforce and attracting talent with digital expertise is critical.  Think of your team as the crew navigating your digital transformation ship. They must be equipped with the latest tools and knowledge to navigate the ever-changing waters.

Investing in training programs allows your employees to embrace new technologies and adapt to a more digital workflow. Today, hiring digital competencies is just as important as hiring based on industry knowledge. In fact, digital skillsets enable individuals who may lack general insurance knowledge to surpass those left to traditional means quickly. A future-proofed workforce is essential to successful change management and long-term brokerage success.

The good news, more than 75% of employees want to continually learn and develop throughout their careers. Growth is just waiting to happen if you are willing to tap into and trust those you’ve employed. 

 

Fostering a Culture of Innovation: Making Change a Habit

Finally, let's talk about fostering a culture of innovation. Digitization is not something that happens once. It must be continuous, and the only way to keep moving forward on the journey of digitization is with buy-in from every associate that constant innovation is the lifeblood of the company. 

Think of your brokerage as a living organism, constantly evolving and adapting. Daily, there will be threats to thwart and opportunities to seize. However, like animals in the wild, brokers who do not evolve will become too slow to defend themselves and too inept to capture market share and new prospects. 

Encourage experimentation, celebrate small wins, and create an environment where employees feel comfortable proposing new ideas. Your brokerage can and should be a creative engine, constantly generating ideas for improvement. By nurturing a culture of innovation, you empower your team to find solutions and, in doing so, ultimately find success. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about how Highwing helps brokers and carriers leverage the power of technology, connect with us today. We would love to chat with you.

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