In what is already a competitive landscape, 2018 saw a record number (626) of mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers. According to Business Insurance reporting, more than half of these deals involved P&C brokers and agents.
At the same time, Earnst & Young’s US and Americas non-life insurance outlook 2019 points out that a “gradual shift toward direct sales can be seen in personal and small commercial lines.” While the report holds that the proliferation of D2C channels that reduce dependency on brokers is unlikely to have a significant impact on large commercial lines in the near future, the trend can and should be taken as a sign of things to come.
“One of the biggest keys to success in this environment is differentiating your agency from others that offer similar services,” writes Mike Lover in the PropertyCasualty 360° article Want to make your customer service truly stand out? Answer these questions.
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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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Data Breach Today offers predictions in What’s Ahead for Health Data Privacy, Security in 2019? While the article focuses primarily on health data, a few key trends apply more broadly and are likely to resonate with all types of organizations.
Prediction: Disruption from regulatory changes is likely
Rebecca Herold, author of 19 books on information security and CEO of The Privacy Professor consultancy, begins the list of predictions by examining the potential for agency updates to HIPAA. “Based on continued pressure from local, state and federal government agencies, law enforcement, researchers and others to ease the sharing of patient and mental health data by removing the need to obtain patient consent, I expect to see OCR issue proposed HIPAA updates,” she notes.
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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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Whether it’s boxes of paper forms that must be keyed into a system, pouring over spreadsheets to verify that critical requirements are met and up to date, or sending yet another email to request missing information, there’s almost always room for improvement when it comes to the management of vendor-related data and workflows.
From the submission of application forms through to the evaluation of vendor performance, businesses can add to the value of their risk management information system (RMIS) by using the system to transform their approach to vendor management. In this post, we look at four examples of how a cloud-based RMIS like Origami Risk can contribute to cost control, service excellence, and risk mitigation.
1. Streamline the vendor intake process
Simplifying the vendor application process reduces the amount of time staff spend engaged in time-consuming, repetitive activities like keying data and sending multiple emails to chase down missing details. This process can also be the first step in defining expectations and building a relationship with potential vendors. After all, as 6 essential steps for managing vendors makes clear, “A good vendor relationship starts well before you ever sign a contract with a vendor.”
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There is a great deal of buzz surrounding the rapid adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology. According to a Gartner study, by 2020 90% of large and midsize organizations will have at least one process supported by RPA. Gartner also estimates, however, that 1 in 5 of organizations that try RPA will have replaced it with another technology during that time frame. How can the same technology be both adopted and abandoned so quickly?
The answer is revealed when examining the inherent benefits and drawbacks of RPA technology. As a form of automation, it holds the potential to boost productivity that yields the equivalent of additional 24/7 workers at a fraction of the cost of human resources. Several fundamental flaws in the approach, however, may prevent organizations from ever realizing those gains, and could even make some situations worse.
How RPA works
RPA software allows non-technical users to automate tasks by creating simple “bots” that can log in to systems, retrieve information, and perform basic tasks. So long as the tasks are clearly defined, highly repeatable, and primarily rule-based, RPA bots can be trained to do that work.
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The importance of establishing a near miss culture is clear. The OSHA and National Safety Council Alliance, a cooperative program, puts it this way: “History has shown repeatedly that most loss producing events (incidents), both serious and catastrophic, were preceded by warnings or near miss incidents. Recognizing and reporting near miss incidents can significantly improve worker safety and enhance an organization’s safety culture.” Effective near miss programs can prevent more serious incidents from occurring.
A previous post highlights some of the challenges surrounding this issue. Fear of reprisal or embarrassment, difficulty in the reporting process, and a sense of futility if reports don’t result in tangible changes. Each challenge presents obstacles when trying to establish a near miss culture.
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Unforeseen delays. Cost overruns. Delivery of an end product that only slightly matched initial expectations.
Whether it was a home remodeling job or the deployment of new technology for a business, we all have stories to tell about the project we wish we’d never started in the first place. When purchasing or replacing a Risk Management Information System (RMIS), choosing Origami Risk means you won’t repeat the experience.
Origami Risk was founded a decade ago by industry veterans who recognized that improvements in the development, delivery, and support of RMIS technology were long overdue. A central component of the changes they introduced, and that we’ve continued to refine, is an approach to implementation and ongoing support that is different by design.
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Your internal assessments suggest that it’s time to move forward with the purchase of a new RMIS. In our recent post, “Tips for Selecting the Right RMIS“, we looked at potential next steps that range from considering the inclusion of other departments in the selection process to researching vendors to suggestions on what to look for in a new system. As you move into the next phase of the buying process, to ensure you get the most out of your investment, there are many questions to ask vendors when evaluating their RMIS offerings.
Consider grouping the questions into five categories: … read more
In the Accenture Technology Vision for Insurance 2017 Report, nearly 9 out of 10 respondents stated, “their organizations must innovate at an increasingly rapid pace just to keep a competitive edge.” Despite this technological arms race among TPAs, much of the focus remains on backend systems, which may drive some operational efficiencies but fall short in alluring tech savvy customers. … read more