When choosing a risk management information system (RMIS) or making a RMIS switch, the process of assessing systems sometimes feels like comparing apples to apples. As important as the big functionalities are, organizations would do well to look at the more granular details—details that, however simple they may seem, address their organization’s very specific needs, while also saving time and preventing mental fatigue.
As a Risk Management Monitor article says, “An effective relationship starts with knowing the specific requirements of your enterprise and setting relevant priorities” and then checking how closely your RMIS provider can match them.
Why the little things matter
The workforce today puts in longer hours, more days a week than ever before. But employees aren’t spending all of that time tackling more projects and setting more goals, as one might expect. The 2018 survey Companies Are Overlooking a Primary Area for Growth and Efficiency: Their Managers found that 36% of company managers spend 3 to 4 hours per day on administrative tasks. An employee who spends an hour manually entering data or emailing colleagues about upcoming tasks is using time that could be better spent on more valuable activities like interacting with clients and improving product offerings.
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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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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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As shared-risk pools strive to provide better service and increase the value for their members, the importance of streamlining insurance operations is critical. Not only do pools need to provide the level of services that members demand, but they need to do it in a sustainable way that allows staff resources to maximize the time they spend providing high-value services. As Forrester Research recently published, today’s organizations must apply “digital thinking across everything you do — how you win, serve, and retain customers”.
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The competitive pressures facing brokers are unrelenting. In Zywave’s 2017 Broker Services Survey, conducted last summer with over 600 respondents, the results paint a stark picture of the competitive marketplace. Nearly 1 in 5 respondents changed brokers over the past three years. Approximately 70% indicate they would abandon their current broker for communication or service related issues. In fact, the top three stated reasons that would make respondents leave a broker were all communication related. In contrast, leaving for a broker who can lower premiums ranked a distant 6th place. Today’s broker has to compete on communication, or suffer the defection of clients to those who do.
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This is the third part of a three-part series that we hope will prove helpful in the RMIS selection process. Part 1 explained how moving from spreadsheets to RMIS can be beneficial and included some suggestions for determining if the switch to a RMIS might be warranted. Part 2 provided tips on researching vendors, suggestions for including stakeholders in the buying process, and thoughts on the potential for a new RMIS to solve issues that commonly exist between risk management and other departments.
You’ve put in the research, evaluated RFPs, and interviewed vendors. After viewing demos and getting answers to questions, you’ve learned more about what makes each vendor’s technology and service unique. It seems that you’re finally closing in on selecting the RMIS that best fits the needs of your organization.
There is, of course, a lot of ground to be covered between now and the point at which the work of putting your system in place is begun. Yet it’s likely—based on first-hand experience or “horror stories” you’ve heard along the way—that you have your fair share of concerns related to implementation.
System implementation marks the transition from the known—however imperfect—to the unknown. Even the promise of moving to a RMIS that significantly improves the organization’s ability to manage risk, insurance, and claims data is not likely to make the change completely seamless. This is where selecting the right partner can make all the difference.
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As organizations, risk management pools are created to serve and benefit their members. When members are actively engaged with the pool, not only is this primary mission being fulfilled, but the organization also gains the opportunity to provide higher value services that can help members make strategic decisions and drive down costs. Paper-based and labor-intensive processes, legacy systems that struggle with modern requirements, and data stored in disparate, unconnected applications all run counter to this effort. Origami Risk, however, provides several features that allow pools to fully engage with their membership and deliver actionable, strategic data that can impact members’ bottom line. … read more
This is the second part of a three-part series that we hope will prove helpful in the RMIS selection process. Part 1 explained how moving from spreadsheets to RMIS can be beneficial and included some suggestions for determining if the switch to a RMIS might be warranted. In Part 3, we’ll take a look at what many cite as a major concern or roadblock when considering the move to a RMIS–implementing a new system.
Whether you’ve decided that using spreadsheets to collect, analyze, and report on risk, claims, and insurance data no longer works for your organization or you’re faced with the need to replace an existing RMIS system, choosing the right RMIS takes research and careful consideration.
The suggestions that follow are intended to help you find a solution that meets your current needs and is ready for the new challenges that will emerge as your business grows.
Who else needs to be involved?
Many organizations have internal policies and procedures in place for procurement that require the involvement of stakeholders across several departments. Some initial investigation on this front can help to prevent delays down the line. Examples include the following: … read more
The Importance of Technology Partners
Choosing a technology partner is increasingly becoming a more critical strategic decision for TPAs. In Accenture’s Technology Vision for Insurance 2017, 76% of respondents agreethat “competitive advantage will not be determined by their organization alone, but by the strength of the partners and ecosystems they choose.” Identifying technology solutions that support the company mission and differentiate your organization from the competition is an important part of developing an effective business strategy. … read more
A major 2016 Workers’ Compensation benchmark study found that one of the largest differentiators of high-performers versus all other groups was the use of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) guidelines. Users of EBM data were more than 4X more likely to be top performers than those who did not. The same study included a survey asking “What are the greatest obstacles to achieving desired claim outcomes?” Respondents ranked “Psychosocial/comorbidities” as the number one issue. … read more