Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

How many of you have heard this from your kids during a road trip?  We all have, even during short trips across town to the movie theater or to run an errand!   A more serious question is, how many of you have heard this from your project team regarding a major initiative such as a claims transformation or a CRM implementation?  More importantly, how many of you have heard the question were we successful? Did we make the impact we expected?  If you have not heard these questions, consider yourself lucky.  For those that have, here are a few lessons learned.   First, before the project begins, the team should establish a clear and well defined vision with the executive sponsor(s) and leaders from IT and the business.  An effective vision is more than a statement of the future state – at a minimum you should do the following:

  • Describe the future state vision. What does success look like?  For example, simply implementing a new claims software is not a true vision.
  • Document the key measures of success. Some may be qualitative, but it is important to document the metrics that can be measured.  The business case will be key input to this discussion and will help define a business realization framework to be used throughout the program.
  • Discuss what has worked well in the past and what has not worked well in a similar program. Sometimes it might not be the first attempt at reaching a goal or vision.  Many carriers have been trying to implement a new policy administration system for several years or are in the process of re-implementing a CRM solution.  Knowing what worked well in previous attempts and what did not will help avoid common pitfalls related to culture, business challenges, etc.
  • Seek consensus. Verify that everyone is understands the vision and objectives and, if there are disagreements, work through them individually and reconvene.
  • Outline a communication strategy of the vision so the team can get feedback and engage the organization. This is not just for the business leaders, but for the people “on the line” such as the contact center representatives taking calls for claims or policy endorsements.

Second, measure the current state before you begin.  We have worked with companies that had a strong business case and supporting metrics, but they forgot to measure the current state so it could be compared with progress towards the vision.  For example, with a claims transformation, measure the time it takes to go from one phase of the claims value chain to the next.  Measure the average days you are paying on rental cars. If rental car costs for automobile insurance customers are eroding profits, measure the average number of days you are paying for rental cars before the claims transformation, in the middle of it and afterwards to measure progress. If you are able to streamline the process and provide updates on a repair to the insured, you can likely shave a day or two off of the average number of days you are paying for rental cars.

Finally, test the vision.  Leverage the communication plan from your strategy and planning workshop, but identify who the executive steering team would like to have feedback from and go get it.  Don’t just think internal stakeholders, think customer and partners.  Also consider people that are not as receptive to change.  If you align them early, you will be better off (more on that in a later blog).

How did your last initiative go? What were your lessons learned? Please feel free to add a comment and share your tips and tricks. And, more importantly, happy traveling whether it is with your family or along that program journey!

Read the next blog in our insurance change management series: You want who to do what?

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