Having identified the business imperative for change and demonstrated a positive business case for doing so, we can now look at the practical steps of making the change. Some organizations will reach straight for a technology solution, but its more important to consider the business needs and use this as input for your research on potential solutions.
To help this process weve created a simple business assessment checklist that will help identify possible gaps in your current approach. Although it places data protection at the top of the list, it also looks at other areas that will help implement a streamlined, data driven, business approach.
Weve then turned our attention to technology and listed the main features you should be looking for.
Business Assessment Checklist
This is a series of good practice statements that help work out where you lag or have gaps in your current arrangements. You can move these to a spreadsheet and answer yes/no or even create a simple scoring approach for your organization (i.e. 1 = poor practice, 5 = good practice) to help prioritize your implementation plan.
- We document what personal data we hold.
- We document who we share personal data with (e.g. third-party suppliers).
- We have systems to record and manage consent for personal data use.
- We have a process to recognize and respond to requests to access, rectify or delete personal data.
- We have an organization wide data protection policy.
- We have implemented appropriate technical and organizational measures to integrate data protection into our processing activities.
- We have a nominated data protection lead or Data Protection Officer (DPO).
- We have effective processes to identify, report, manage and resolve any personal data breaches.
- We have regular information security awareness training for all staff, including temporary, locum or contracted employees, to ensure they are all aware of and fulfil their responsibilities.
- Our contracts with service providers contain clauses to ensure they comply with data protection regulations.
- We perform regular audits to ensure regulatory compliance.
- We identify, assess and manage information security risks.
- We have an approved and published information security policy which provides direction and support for information security personnel (in accordance with business needs and relevant laws and regulations) and is regularly reviewed.
- We have a data management strategy that puts data use at the center of our operating model.
- We have an organization wide information architecture
- Data is shared across the organization (subject to access rights)
- We have an established process for managing data quality
- Management are provided with actionable insights to help them control business direction and operation
- Eligible business processes are automated
- We have a priority action plan to remove any remaining needlessly manual processes
- We continually review and enhance our business processes to improve customer value and business profitability
- We closely monitor market changes and amend our processes and technology support to reflect them
- We closely monitor business performance to identify scope for improvement
- We have a customer complaint process that provides feedback to operations, sales and new product development
People and Organizational Structure
- All roles and responsibilities are clearly defined to avoid gaps or overlaps
- Staff are regularly trained in compliance requirements
- Staff are regularly trained in business processes and their link to compliance and customer management
- Staff onboarding is done quickly and minimizes downtime for involved staff
- We have KPIs for our main business functions that are reported on a daily or weekly basis
- We have analytics in place to evaluate sales team productivity
- We collaborate closely with our partners and suppliers
- We closely monitor labor efficiency
- We know which product/business lines are more/less profitable
- We successfully use cross-selling and up-selling techniques to improve sales
- Our technology platform is easily scalable
- We have a formal approach to project management to maximize the successful outcome of any technology change
Selecting an Integrated Broker Management System
Many distributors support their business model with several different systems, but industry leaders take a different approach. They use a centralized, integrated, business management system because it provides the easiest and most cost-effective way of establishing organization wide compliance, providing a single view of the customer and coping with future change.
The Data Driven Organization
Data management lies at the heart of the system. By storing and allowing easy access to all customer data you can create actionable insights that find sales opportunities that are otherwise invisible and improve service by proactively addressing problems before they arise.
Effective data management is essential if you want to thrive in a competitive market and will:
- store customer and policy data for easy access
- identify sales opportunities
- provide a platform for powerful analytics to reveal patterns and trends that can be turned into actionable insights to allow better control of the business
Features of an Integrated Agency/Broker Business Management System
A new system should have features that improve the main distributor business functions:
Policy Lifecycle Management: automate the workflow from issuing a quote through managing endorsements, writing the policy and handling claims. This process is often very time consuming and further complicated by the range of policy types and country specific considerations, so automation makes a big difference.
Prospecting and sales: the use of analytics to identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and make sure renewals arent forgotten. There should also be support for multi-national, multi-site clients, meaning you can track opportunities across their entire organization and maximize sales value, something that isnt possible with a system that has only local coverage.
Business performance management: dashboards and easy to understand reports allow management to measure key performance indicators such as performance by product and customer, salesperson profitability, bid-to-sale ratios, operational costs by function, team and location, and most profitable products.
Workflow management: productivity is improved through tools such as dashboards and the use of tasks and reminders to focus staff on actions or upcoming events that need attention. A good workflow management system will integrate front office and back office functions and automate all business processes, freeing up resources to concentrate on customer specific, added value activities.
360-degree customer view: repeat business is directly linked to service quality, so it is important that you have a full view of all interactions with the customer regardless of purpose, function, or location. Putting the customer at the center of the business is the hallmark of successful organizations and lets you quickly and effectively respond to problems, preempt others before they arise and ensure all customer facing staff are aware of the most recent customer transactions, positive or negative.
Access business applications from anywhere: a cloud based centralized system ensures all staff have access to the same applications and data, and updates can benefit everyone simultaneously. There are also cost benefits since hardware and operating software management can be outsourced leaving you with a smaller IT team.
The Takeaway: Immediate Actions
- Given the attention its getting, compliance with data protection regulations is the priority. If you are in any doubt of your compliance status, perform an audit and plug any gaps as a priority before you turn to anything else.
- Prepare a data breach response plan this is a useful example.
- Get external help to get a good understanding of the roadmap of regulations that will affect you over the next 5 years and prepare a compliance plan. If you choose the right business management system, most changes will be straightforward to make and, if planned properly, the costs wont be excessive.
- Dont select technology until youve got a sound business case for change and a good set of requirements to select against. Use the business assessment checklist weve given above.
- Local government or state enterprise support bodies might provide funding assistance for compliance activities and its worth checking if theres anything available.
Novidea is the leading end-to-end, data-driven solution designed specifically for insurance distribution professionals and their customers. By consolidating all front- and back-office data and workflows into a unified view, the platform provides real-time visibility and actionable intelligence into the entire customer journey.
The Novidea platform enables top-tier global brokerages, agencies, bancassurance and corporate insurance operations to optimize every customer interaction, expose opportunities for revenue and growth, and dramatically improve profitability and competitiveness.