Business Renovation Checklist for Insurers: 8 Keys to a Durable Transformation

CIOs must be careful not to fall into the trap of change for the sake of change when considering how to allocate their precious IT resources. Rather, they should emphasize thoughtful architecting of business renovation programs.

(Editor’s Note: The following is adapted  from James M. Kerr’s latest book, The Executive Checklist.)

Insurers who want to maximize their potential for growth, retention and profitability must dedicate themselves to meeting the changing needs of customers, distributors and even internal stakeholders. However, CIOs must be careful not to fall into the trap of change for the sake of change when considering how to allocate their precious IT resources. Rather, they should emphasize thoughtful architecting of expansive business renovation programs that can aggressively transform a carrier into a customer-focused organization that will be prepared to meet the needs of the market for years to come.

Here are eight considerations to ensure that your insurance business transformation stays on track:

– Renovate to Differentiate – Improvement for the sake of doing things differently is not why we, as insurance CIOs, must establish ongoing business renovation programs within our organizations. Rather, we should renovate in order to strategically differentiate our companies from the competition. 

– Fold It into the Strategy – Just like other initiatives intended to differentiate, the business renovation program should be incorporated into a carrier’s strategic plan.

– Choose an Approach – TQM, Lean or Six Sigma – it doesn’t matter! Just choose one and stick with it. 

Tackle the Whole Process – An establishment’s future success in renovating its business rests not on incremental improvement, but, on the ability to redesign the “whole” business process, regardless of organizational structure or reporting lines.

–  Eliminate the Silos – When working on large scale business transformation initiatives, it is important to identify the “organizational silos” that exist within the entity as early as possible. They tend to be sources for immediate improvement and impact.

– Limit Location Dependencies – A location dependency is a business condition that requires an organization to run some part of its operations in a specific geographical location, which limits its ability to change and adapt. Like organizational silos, location dependencies can stifle performance and growth. So, seek to snuff them out!

– Automate Whatever, Whenever You Can – Many CIOs  have chosen to embrace a concept that calls for automating whatever, whenever they can.  That is not to say that they don’t have long-term computing technology strategies.  Indeed, they all do. But, this approach is much more opportunistic and free from having to engage in multi-year, multi-million dollar efforts.  This is more a pay as you go approach – one that fits well with business renovation endeavors.

– Make It Last – As you might imagine, there is strong resistance to most business renovation efforts because they represent change. If the foundation for such programs are no institutionalized and made a permanent part of the way work is done, they may not persist past the first few improvement projects.

 

 

James M. Kerr // James M. Kerr is a partner at BlumShapiro Consulting in West Hartford, Conn., and a strategy thought leader who has worked with clients from both the carrier and vendor segments of the insurance industry.  His latest book, The Executive Checklist, is now available.  You can contact him at jkerr@BlumShapiro.com.

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