Outrunning Common Insurance Process Predators

Process ConcernsThe roadrunner has the coyote, the gazelle has the cheetah, and the hare has the fox. Everything has natural adversaries they must battle and outpace to avoid destruction. The insurance industry is no exception. When it comes to insurance companies’ operations, there are a number of common arch-nemeses. New product roll-out, volume fluctuations in the new business process, and changes in state and federal regulations can all complicate processes. We put together a few tricks to help you outwit them.

One of the most challenging nemeses is the roll-out of a new product. This type of effort always has an impact on areas across the organization. Actuarial, Sales and Marketing, Audit, IT and all of the other process owners impacted by the nuances of a new product must understand the impeding changes and adjust accordingly. Strong coordination and project management are the best defense, yet it isn’t always easy. Project timelines and launch dates can be complicated and pushed out by varying state regulations. Further complications arise when considering what to do with customers in the pipeline for the old product after the new one launches. Realistic goals and timelines, timely decision-making, and consistent project communications can help insurers prepare their teams and evade new product roll-out failures.

Another enemy of process excellence in insurance lurks within the new business process. The demand for insurance, such as life or annuities, can vary over time and is often influenced by changes in the financial climate. Fluctuation in sales volume forces providers to adjust, and the sluggish speed at which they adjust can sometimes be crippling. Staffing for the peaks in volume is not cost-effective, but staffing for anything less risks sales and compromises in the customer experience. Insurers often think their products are what they sell, but in fact, it is peace of mind that generates customer loyalty and brings in new ones. Compromising the customer experience is, therefore, particularly damaging for an insurance company. To avoid being caught by your new business process, ensure that processes are as streamlined as possible, and that the people and technologies that support that process are flexible. For example, you can achieve greater flexibility in staffing arrangements by cross-training staff. This will allow you to meet fluctuations in scale and overcome this foe.

A third villain to watch out for is new state and federal regulations that threaten insurers’ processes for existing products. When new regulations come down the pike, insurers need to interpret the potential impact they will make and adjust their processes in tandem. If the processes are well documented in their current state, understanding the potential impacts of these new regulations will be much easier. However, process documentation is often out of date, leaving the company to face changing processes based on an old model. Keeping process documentation current will help you defeat this enemy and also inform you of the process controls in place, allowing you to line them up and identify additional precautions that may need implementation to ensure compliance.

New product roll-out, new business process challenges, and state and federal regulations are all natural predators of insurance processes. However, with strong project management and communication, streamlined processes, flexible technologies, and up-to-date process documentation, insurers can outrun and outwit these process foes.

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