The more that technology begins to find its way into traditional insurers' daily operations, the greater the need is to measure the success of that digital change.
In fact, a 2019 BCG study shows that change management is the most urgent thing on insurance executive's minds. But if taking on all that change alone feels daunting, it might be time to call in a change management consultant.
Why Change Management is So Urgent
Insurtech startups are becoming more present and insurance consumers are expecting more and more digital experiences. Insider Intelligence predicts that insurance technology spending in the US and UK will grow by more than 25% between 2022 and 2026, proving that insurers are keen to meet these expectations.
Insurance companies are beginning to recognize the value of fleshing out technology stacks, as the right software solutions can automate and streamline various processes for underwriters and brokers alike.
The industry is changing quickly and insurers need to be flexible and responsive in order to keep up. Bringing in a change management consultant is the best way to ease that transition.
When to Consider Hiring a Change Management Consultant
Undergoing organizational change requires careful consideration. Before hiring someone, make sure your leadership team thinks about the following questions.
What needs to change?
For most insurance companies considering change management, the answer to this question is technology. It's not a secret how much insurtech is reshaping insurance companies. But instead of being wary of it, embrace it.
Think about what kind of software would help you achieve your goals. Would automation tools streamline your underwriters' quoting process?
Consider technology such as an insurance knowledge management tool, the internet of things (IoT), predictive analytics, or any machine learning/artificial intelligence (AI). Once you know what goals you have, you'll be able to better decide how you can get there.
What kind of help do you need?
There are typically two routes you can take here — help implementing new insurance technology or introducing new processes to your personnel. Change management consultants have different expertises, so you'd be able to find one that fits your specific needs.
Once you've decided which route is best for your company, decide if you want a firm with a more hands-on approach to consulting, or one that requires more collaboration with your internal leadership. Many consultants will adopt an approach that falls somewhere in the middle, but it's important to consider what will work best for your workplace culture.
How can you get buy-in from all leadership?
Insurance companies unfairly hold a representation of being resistant to change. As a traditional industry that was built on analog systems, more seasoned employees simply need a little more time to adapt to any incoming change.
But change starts from the top down. Make sure all executives have the support they need in order to fully be on board with introducing insurance change management.
What Questions Should You Ask a Potential Change Management Consultant?
Hiring an outside firm can help you improve ROI and the speed at which you implement change — but only if you pick the right consultant. Here are some questions you should consider before settling on the right consultant for your company.
What is the consultant's background?
Seek out a firm that has experience working in the insurance industry. Insurance companies typically have large amounts of manuals, policies, and guidelines — all filled with internal and industry-specific acronyms. It'll be easiest to work with someone who won't take too long to get up to speed.
What has the consultant's role in previous changes been?
Change consultants typically have experience in the technical, logistical, or people components of change. Think about which area is most vital to your needs to select someone with that background.
Who will be doing the hands-on work?
A firm may assign a senior consultant to create and oversee the change plan, but end up delegating that work to more junior team members. But as an insurance company, you're dealing with a lot of sensitive data. Make sure you have a firm grasp on who will be working with that data before you move forward with a firm.
What is the firm's success rate?
Organization-wide change is hard — studies show that only 34% of change initiatives succeed. As you want the best chance at success, ask the firms you're considering about their success rates. Eliminate firms with low success rates from your consideration.
Can we reach out to you once the project is completed?
Change is slow, especially if you're implementing new technology. Many insurance companies operate on legacy systems, so the off-boarding process can take time. So, make sure your consultant is available for any followup questions that arise after their departure.
What to Do When the Project is Completed
The insurance industry is in a state of constant change, especially with a potential impending insurance industry talent crisis. So when you introduce a new process or software tool to your team, make sure you're also offering them consistency.
Maintain a positive and optimistic outlook about the change within your organization, and your employees will follow suit. But at the same time, maintain an open and honest dialogue with your team in order to increase employee happiness.
Keep them in the loop about what's happening and how it'll impact their daily processes. Look into insurance change management tools and techniques to measure your progress. With transparency and consistency, your brokers and underwriters alike will feel more comfortable, meaning that they'll provide the best service possible to your insureds.