Commercial insurance systems connect different parts of an organization, keeping people and processes efficient, and helping users achieve their goals. In many respects, a system is sacred. Without thoughtful systems, an organization lacks structure and may be more likely to operate inefficiently or make poor decisions.
While the concept of maintaining a system is essential, updating and improving existing systems is equally as important.
The rise of insurtech did away with the status quo across the commercial insurance industry. As a result, organizations recognize that continuous change and evolution are necessary to survive.
Insurtech isn’t replacing humans working in the insurance industry. However, it will play a significant role for nearly every commercial insurance user, from agents and brokers to underwriters.
One of the keys to successfully preparing for and navigating the future is adopting new processes and technologies. So, how can you implement these changes in your organization without breaking the system?
1. Evaluate your existing system and priorities
Before you purchase any new technologies or create any processes, you need to evaluate your current system. What does it do exceptionally well? Where does it fall short? What are your top priorities, and what strategies or approaches are you using to help you get there?
Users of any system should constantly evaluate, measure, and stress-test existing systems to see where there’s room for improvement. Try documenting how long it takes to provide a quote or get a submission through underwriting. Even basic performance metrics can provide useful insights into a business’s challenges and roadblocks.
Evaluating current systems gives you a clearer picture of the roadblocks that stand between you and making more money. And, when you make improvements, you can provide a better, faster customer experience.
2. Consider the compatibility of new tech and processes
Insurtech is designed to enhance systems and work for users. But, some systems and technologies may clash, making a peaceful coexistence almost impossible.
For example, a new process or technology may not be compliant with current regulations. Another consideration for users exploring new technologies and processes centers around risks.
Paul Chen, a partner at Chicago-based law firm Mayer Brown, cautions users to verify “that the adoption of an insurtech’s processes into insurance companies’ legacy systems don’t create a cybersecurity threat or other type of cybersecurity issue.”
With any technology or process you consider, think about how seamlessly you can integrate it into your existing system. How much will it disrupt your day-to-day operations? With new processes, there will always be some learning curve. Nevertheless, some technologies and processes will be more compatible with your current system than others.
3. Utilize reference points and proper training
Reference points and proper training are crucial to successfully adopting new processes and technologies.
Organizations can either develop internal training or utilize programs prepared by the tech provider. As you roll out a new process or technology, make training a priority for all users.
Training is more than just checking a box. It should be interactive, ongoing, practical, and relevant to users. Forcing users to sit through a weeklong crash course generally isn’t effective. Instead, you want users to willingly adopt new processes and tech, allowing the current system to absorb updates.
Use reference points and training to focus on practical lessons. Consider the most effective means of communication and utilize different training formats to encourage sticky learning.
4. Break it down into bite-sized pieces
People take time to adapt and evolve, and commercial insurance users need time to adjust to new processes and technologies. Breaking down a major undertaking into smaller pieces helps users and organizations successfully integrate new processes without breaking the system.
Trying to make sweeping changes by rolling out a new process all at once is a clear recipe for disaster. Instead, start with bite-sized pieces and let users ease themselves into these new processes. Some users will inevitably approach new technologies with alacrity, while others will demonstrate resistance to change. Let the early adopters lead and inspire organization-wide change. For those who are hesitant to adopt new processes, breaking things down into bite-sized pieces can make changes more manageable.
When introducing new technologies, the key is to make it as easy as possible for users to adopt these changes. Take time to clearly show users where changes are being made, then explain why. After one piece is complete, move forward with the next. Individually, small changes may seem insignificant, but collectively, the system can bend and shift slowly without breaking.
5. Develop an internal champion
Technology is built to serve people, and processes need people to work. Even when the process of adopting a new technology is relatively straightforward, people still need to buy into it. Since people can make or break any process or technology, internal champions are a necessity for successful adoption.
Developing a champion starts with a clear understanding of the need, strategy, timeline, expectations, and desired outcomes.
A champion is imperative for helping an organization navigate any type of change, especially one that involves adopting new processes. Besides serving as a resource for questions about new processes and technologies, a champion can also help maintain or boost morale.
Changing behaviors in commercial insurance is a challenge. An internal champion acts as a resident expert responsible for connecting new technologies with users. Organizations that try and implement new tech without a champion risk breaking the system or failing to promote lasting change.
6. Celebrate small wins
Adopting a new technology or process can be a process in itself. Celebrating small wins can help keep morale high and reinforce positive change. Though seemingly insignificant, small wins add up to major victories.
Encourage users to share their successes and reward their efforts and progress. Users should feel empowered by new technology, not encumbered by it. Celebrate
An article published in Harvard Business Review discusses the positive impact of small wins on morale and performance. According to the authors, “Many of the progress events our research participants reported represented only minor steps forward. Yet they often evoked outsize positive reactions. Even ordinary, incremental progress can increase people’s engagement in the work and their happiness during the workday.”
Don’t underestimate the power of small wins when adopting a new process. Be sure to celebrate each measure of progress along the way and consistently provide positive feedback and reinforcement to users.
7. Review and tweak, rinse and repeat
With every new technology or process, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why users and champions of technology should regularly review and tweak processes, continuously striving for perfection.
The global insurance industry is moving faster than ever. Users and organizations need to remain agile, maintaining dynamic systems through which they can adopt new technologies and processes. Commercial insurance users must rinse and repeat, iterating and tweaking to continue enjoying long-term success.
Adopting new technologies and processes is inevitable for commercial insurance users and organizations. To evolve and grow, organizations have to implement these processes without breaking the system.
Ensuring a smooth transition to new technologies starts with evaluating the organization’s system and priorities. Organizations should then explore the compatibility of potential solutions before settling on new processes and tech.
Before and during the adoption phase of these processes and technologies, training is vital to success. Break down training and new processes into digestible pieces and locate an internal champion to lead the charge. With each measure of progress, celebrate small wins and encourage employees to keep up the good work.
Throughout the adoption process, be patient and continue iterating to make tweaks and improvements. Regularly review your plan of action, assess your progress, and make changes as needed. When you finish all that, head back to square one, where you’ll rinse and repeat.