Delivering transformational change for an insurer spread across the USA

The US network of a global insurance company needed help to change its reputation for late delivery and poor quality of service. The scope of the programme involved 29 sites spread across seven regions of the USA and the activity would involve both market facing teams and remote back office service centres.

The challenge

The client sought our help to transform processes and implement standard ways of working across many widespread locations. However, with individual teams believing their way of doing things was the best, there was a strong reluctance to change. Our team had to work hard to overcome these barriers in order to embed a culture of continuous improvement.

How we helped

Given the scale of the project, and our deep experience of complex, enterprise-wide Lean implementations, one office was chosen to pilot the new approach before its rollout across the network.

Our own experience has shown that a high level of employee engagement is vital to sustaining new processes and ways of working. We therefore began by engaging all employees in the pilot site, both frontline and management, in a detailed analysis of their current work processes. By using our methodology we helped them identify opportunities for improvement in areas ranging from new business and renewals to endorsements and cancellations.

We then worked with these pilot teams to codify this new way of working into a formal architecture, creating one standardised end-to-end solution for the various underwriting processes. This focussed on delivering the best possible quality and customer service, by shortening lead times and reducing the number of transactional errors.

The new solution was supported by the introduction of rigorous, customer-focussed KPIs, together with visual management that allowed workload to be prioritised. This gave all employees a clear view of current performance and the ability to identify and solve problems.

As a result a national roll-out went ahead, with continued emphasis on engaging employees in understanding the need for change and training them in embedding, developing and sustaining the new solution.

Our team of expert practitioners transferred their knowledge and experience to more than 500 operational staff and managers, and trained 72 Enterprise and Local Champions, providing our client with its own in-house Lean capability intent on delivering a culture of continuous improvement, and the organisation’s continued success.

The results

By the end of the 19-month project, exceptional results and benefits had been achieved:

  • Issuing of policies on time improved from 45% to 90%, substantially increasing customer satisfaction
  • 90% of transactions are now right-first-time
  • Underwriters’ capacity for business development has doubled, evidenced by a similar increase in market-facing visits
  • 500 operational staff and management have been trained and supported through problem solving, ensuring teams have the on-going capability to solve operational problems that directly impact customer satisfaction.

consulting for insurance companies