Commercial insurance users who want to optimize their productivity should step out of their comfort zones and turn to technology. Insurance long predates computers, but for the small price of some initial discomfort, computers made insurance far more efficient. When the industry finally got comfortable with computers, insurtech rose to fame, offering similar benefits. Yet, that, too, was met with resistance by many. The familiarity of your processes and tools might feel good, but is it the best thing for your business? Probably not. Instead, try stepping out of your comfort zone sooner and embracing the technologies that can make your business more efficient.
Everything is fine, so why should I change?
You might think everything is fine in your business, and that you don’t have any reason to change. But what worked yesterday might not work today. The insurance landscape can change in an instant, as can consumer behaviors. New competitors can put downward pressure on your pricing. Though you might not realize the dangers of using outdated technology and processes, they’re always lurking. That’s why you need to understand how to best utilize tech efficiency options for your business.
Benefits for employees
One argument against adopting new tech tools is that someone’s job already covers a given task. Why pay for a pricey software product when someone can get on the computer or pick up the phone? While an employee can do the job, using technology can benefit both the employee and the organization. First, employees can’t work 24/7 – tech can. Second, employees can suffer from burnout, especially when extensive data entry is central to their role.
When you broaden your horizons and leverage technology, increased productivity and employee satisfaction are natural byproducts. In addition, tech empowers employees to spend more time with other people and work on more complex projects. As a result, both the organization and the individual can benefit from some discomfort when adopting new technologies.
Benefits for bosses
As a manager, exploring options might seem risky. However, ignoring technology and maintaining the status quo is the real risk. Implementing new tech to improve efficiencies is an all-around win. Employee satisfaction leads to a more productive workforce, expedited onboarding, reduced turnover, and higher margins.
Know when you need to change your process
If you wait until a process is broken to make a change, it’s often too late. If you change impulsively, your processes will be choppy and unorganized. There are several signs that might indicate your business process can benefit from a change, including:
- Reduced business activity
- Low profit margin
- Relying on too much manual effort
- An increase in customer complaints
- Losing market share to competitors
- Low employee satisfaction
- High employee turnover
When the signs present themselves, organizations and users in the commercial insurance industry need to be open to changing processes. In today’s insurance landscape, it’s evolve and embrace insurtech, or die slowly.
No one is perfect: There is always room for improvement
Though you need to recognize telltale signs that it’s time to change, there’s always room for improvement. What if you could take back 2 – 3 hours of your day by automating part of your process?
Think about your technology options and how they can make your business more efficient. According to McKinsey, “insurance carriers have an opportunity to improve productivity and reduce operational expenses by up to 40 percent while simultaneously improving their customers’ experience.” The article continues by saying “Investments in new technologies will create or enable many of these productivity improvements.”
Even if you’ve made great strides in improving your efficiency, keep pushing yourself and seeking out opportunities to maximize efficiencies.
Get management on board
Stepping out of your comfort zone and pursuing tech efficiency options demands an organization-wide effort led from the top down. If you want to affect organizational changes in behavior, start by getting management’s buy-in. “As the leader, embody the new culture in your actions, words, and behaviors,” writes David Shedd for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Magazine.
An article published in MIT Sloan Management Review echoed this same sentiment, saying, “If top leadership does not authentically and genuinely support the desired culture transformation, change efforts will likely fail. Senior leadership must align, balance, empower…and demonstrate their own growth and development, encouraging even the most nuanced cultural shifts.”
Develop a strategic plan
As with any organizational change, turning to tech that both stretches and challenges you requires careful, strategic planning. Developing a clear technology strategy is crucial, particularly when you’re operating outside your comfort zone. First, think about the who, what, where, when, and how.
- What’s your goal?
- What’s the timeline?
- How do you plan on getting there?
- What resources do you need to support these initiatives?
It’s also important to consider potential roadblocks and other hurdles that might arise in the future. A strategic plan can help you stay focused and stay on track in pursuit of your top priorities.
Establishing benchmarks will help you recognize what you need to improve and inform you when you’ve reached your goal. Benchmarks can offer concrete insights into your processes, highlighting the successes and shortcomings. For example, you might benchmark how long it takes to get through underwriting or generate multiple quotes. Beating the benchmark? Can new tech efficiency options help you beat the benchmark? And, if you have a limited budget for new tech, where should you allocate funds to help improve efficiencies?
Using benchmarks can give you clearer insights into your business and help you make smarter, data-driven decisions. With increasing competition in the commercial insurance industry, operational efficiency is more important than ever. As a result, several companies have developed insurance benchmarking tools, including BCG’s Insurance Excellence Benchmark. These programs can help you identify gaps and improve productivity and efficiency to grow your business.
Celebrate small wins
Learning something new can be challenging for anyone, which is why it’s important to celebrate small wins. If you want to succeed with any new enterprise, you need to celebrate small wins early and often. “Small, achievable goals help us see momentum and experience early victories,” said Whitney Johnson, CEO of Disruption Advisors, in her article published by Harvard Business Review. “Change and growth are promoted through positive emotions more than through disciplined practice…we don’t just celebrate the win; we celebrate to win.”
Continue to analyze and improve
Optimizing your commercial insurance business requires continued efforts of analysis and improvement. Today, insurance data is key to understanding and improving your business. To maximize your operational efficiencies and profit margins, you need to analyze your business, the industry, and your customers. Where is the industry heading, and how can you stay ahead of the curve? Do you need to change your processes? Should you consider offering new products or pricing strategies? Then, as you grow, remember to keep analyzing and improving so you can stay at the top of your game.
No one says stepping out of your comfort zone is easy, but it can be extremely rewarding. Our world and the insurance industry are changing faster than ever. If you want to keep up, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Oftentimes, that means turning to tech efficiency options that can help you automate certain processes.
Tech efficiency options that make you uncomfortable can enhance productivity and increase employee satisfaction. This process starts with identifying the need for change and creating a strategic plan. While it might take an army to promote lasting organizational change, management must be at the forefront, leading by example. Using benchmarks and celebrating small wins can carry an organization through tough times, helping users stay committed to a common goal.
No matter how much success you enjoy, no one is perfect. There’s always room for improvement, and there’s no such thing as being “too big to fail” (case in point, AIG). So, always continue analyzing and refining your process, taking comfort in consistently stepping out of your comfort zone.