Posts by: John Harper

Data and the value of internal audit

We all want reassurance that the work we do matters—that we’re contributing in a way that matters. Author, consultant, and speaker Norman Marks, in a blog post titled Internal audit needs to perform in a way that matters to the board and top management, puts forth a series of questions that prompt those guiding internal audit to consider whether their efforts actually support leadership’s ability to set and achieve organizational objectives.

“Internal audit can help leaders with assurance that their people, systems, and processes are able to deliver the desired results – and advice and insight on how to improve them further,” Marks writes. “But do we?”

Contributing greater value to the board and top management by serving as a knowledgeable and respected advisor may require a shift in thinking about the role that internal audit plays within the organization. It is also likely to necessitate a change in audit planning and practices. Audits themselves must be seen as a critical component of a more holistic and continuous approach to identifying and analyzing risk, evaluating the effectiveness of controls, and proactively addressing areas of weakness.

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A Stranger is Calling — The impact of RMIS service team turnover

How many members of your current RMIS vendor’s service team have come and gone over the course of your relationship? What about the number of service team leads who have guided support efforts on behalf of you and the other users of your RMIS software?

When you dial into a meeting and get introduced to yet another service team replacement, your RMIS provider is under-delivering.

Many business-to-business software providers place far too much emphasis on “software” and not enough on “service.” In terms of features and functionalities, the results of such an approach may be impressive. But the imbalance comes with a cost. Subpar support is always detrimental to client success.

The importance of consistent, knowledgeable RMIS technology support is difficult to overstate. Given the increasingly complex risks every business faces and the ever-expanding role risk managers play within their organizations, a platform implemented five or more years ago may struggle to keep pace with an organization’s changing needs. A revolving door of service team personnel who need to be brought up to speed on the unique aspects of a RMIS and the risk management program it was put into place to support compounds the problem.

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Partner with legal when selecting RMIS and GRC technology

The responses to a recent Deloitte-commissioned survey of 300 in-house legal executives contain good news for those working closely with in-house legal departments on risk management and compliance-related issues. An executive summary of survey results, Going beyond risk and compliance: Enabling the Legal function to embrace digital transformation, indicates that a majority of respondents feel that in-house legal departments are aware of and open to the use of technology in efforts to make risk management and compliance more efficient and cost-effective.

While there is a willingness to move forward with the use of technology to automate repetitive tasks, improve collaboration, and proactively contribute to the overall strategy of their organizations, there is still work to be done. “Despite encouraging levels of awareness and signs of adaptability, survey respondents have revealed that there is still progress needed before the Legal function fully embraces digital opportunities,” write the study authors. “When they do this, Legal will be able to revamp its approach to risk management and compliance, thus becoming more agile, more integrated and more value-driven, playing an integral role in the delivery of corporate strategy.”

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Make automation matter

It’s not exactly a secret: Regardless of size or industry, every organization stands to benefit from using automation technology to cut down on repetitive, time-consuming administrative tasks. More than simply speeding up a process or getting people to work faster, automating administrative tasks yields value by freeing up employees to focus on the aspects of their job that really matter and provide value.

Automation is wonderful. Except when it isn’t.

As covered in Behind the Hype of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), businesses can run into issues by rushing to reduce costs and improve productivity through automating processes without first evaluating their effectiveness and necessity. The benefits of automating repeatable, administrative tasks can also be lost if automation technology is too difficult to use. The result? Time that could be used performing more high-value activities winds up spent managing software.

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Build a culture of safety — go beyond audits and get employees involved

For risk and safety professionals, the new calendar year brings with it a renewed focus on improving their organization’s culture of safety. Whether looking to put a new safety program in place, make wholesale changes to an existing program, or build upon previous successes, many organizations face the challenge of ensuring that their employees are fully participating in safety efforts.

A recent EHS Today article takes a look at a potential solution for involving people across an organization in this process: safety assessments.

How safety assessments differ from safety audits

To Build Safety Culture, You Must Get People Talking provides an overview of a 2018 Safety Leadership Conference session — “Distracted Drivers R US — Assessment RX for Success” — led by Walter Fluharty, vice president of EHS and organizational development at Ohio-based Simon Roofing.

Where static surveys may be seen as yet another safety-related requirement, focus group-based assessments followed by the completion of self-assessments are more likely to drive engagement and add value.
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Nothing Something will change when your RMIS provider is acquired

Is the sky falling? Or is it clearing? Will the new owners be a breath of fresh air? Or will they turn the business upside down? As a risk manager, you’ll likely hear all sorts of messages from peers, providers, and competitors. Following the acquisition of your risk management information system (RMIS) provider, the only message that matters is this: You have options.

It’s easy to feel as if your hands are tied as you seek answers to questions about what a new, combined company means for you and the users of your current RMIS. Asking questions and voicing any concerns regarding the answers you receive is the surest way to proceed prior to extending your contract.

Perhaps the biggest question—and in some cases, the one that is the most difficult to get an answer to—is whether or not you’ll be forced to migrate to the RMIS of the acquiring vendor.

While migration sometimes means you’ll be gaining access to functionality not available in your current system, the reality is that the move may not be as simple, or as straightforward, as promised.

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How risk pools can eliminate underwriting inefficiencies and errors

As risk pools look to improve or add to the services provided to members, inefficient and ineffective processes always stand in the way. In many cases, inadequate technology (in the form of antiquated databases, disparate systems, and multiple spreadsheets) limits the ability of risk pools to implement change. Take, for example, the challenges associated with processes related to the calculation of members’ premium contributions, such as:

  • Values and exposures collection is time-consuming for staff and members
  • Historical and current loss data is not readily accessible
  • Spreadsheets used to calculate premium contributions increase the risk of error and limit options for easily incorporating changes
  • Visibility into the process is extremely limited for pool staff and members

The right technology can help. It should be capable of tracking and managing the exposures and loss data for all of a risk pool’s members. It should include underwriting tools flexible enough to accommodate changes in rating tables and formulas, while also being easy to use. The right solution should also provide staff and members with role-specific insight into each point in the process.

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Why consistency matters: 4 key metrics that will lead you to the right RMIS partner

Selecting the right risk management information system (RMIS) is about more than choosing a set of features and capabilities. You’re also choosing a partner to help you meet your risk management objectives — both now and in the years to come. The aspirational nature of the sales process should only resonate if the team on the other side of the table can demonstrate a long-term record of success.

“That is why it is critical to vet out the potential partner as much as possible during the discovery period as the overarching goal is to produce a mutually beneficial relationship,” writes Michel Koopman in 10 Steps to Forming Long-Lasting Strategic Partnerships. read more

Finding added value in RMIS: Five benefits of using the system for litigation management

Managing claims-related emails, forms, and other documents can be a challenge, especially when claims data and files are spread across multiple systems. That challenge only grows when claims result in litigation. Not only is there additional documentation, but there is also the need to share that information with the legal department and other parties involved in each case.

In “Laying the foundation for a strategic approach to claims management,” we examine how an integrated claims management functionality of a cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can help reduce the strain of tracking claims data and documentation. Consolidating all of an organization’s claims data and related files in a single system not only eases access but can also standardize and streamline workflow processes. The subsequent analysis performed contributes to informed decision making and improved claim outcomes.

Risk managers and claims professionals can add to the value of their RMIS by extending usage to an organization’s legal staff. In this post, we look at five benefits of using a cloud-based RMIS to manage litigation information related to claims and incidents, as well as contracts, research, and other legal matters handled on a daily basis.

Five benefits of using a cloud-based RMIS for matter management

1. Centralize storage of claims and matter data and documentation

As the PropertyCasualty360 article “8 Best Practices for Claims Litigation Management” points out, when it comes to documentation and case information, “the better organized you are, the easier litigation is to manage.”

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Don’t fear the audit — Remove the roadblocks and reap the benefits of internal audits

Conducting internal audits isn’t typically an activity that any organization looks forward to. First of all, internal auditing takes time—something neither risk and safety departments nor supervisors and employees “on the ground” have in abundance. Internal audits also come with the headaches of coordinating the efforts of multiple departments and people at far-flung locations.

And when all of the hard work of gathering completed audit forms is done, data must be consolidated in a format that—fingers-crossed—will prove useful in determining the actions that will result in measurable change. It leaves one to ask, “Is it worth the effort? read more