The path to holistic process thinking

The way insurers work has been changing fundamentally since the 90s: in the first half of the 90s, the method of thinking and working was still based on organizational structures. The perspective of the organization was characterized by hierarchies and concentrated on process organization within individual divisions and departments. The deregulation that occurred with the creation of the domestic European market changed this structure, as supervision legislation became more liberal, competition in the insurance sector increased.

As a consequence, processes weren’t only considered internally but the overall result became a decisive factor, so the question became: what are we doing and why are we doing it in this way? How can we deliver the best possible offer and exact information? To this end, the entire process chain had to be considered and critically assessed. Optimal added value through functioning processes – this thought began to dominate the insurance economy.

So, what about today?

In the last few years the influence of digitalization has grown enormously. This phenomenon continues to affect insurers and present them with more difficult conditions and challenges. They not only can, but actually must use digital effects consistently so as not to sink under the competition. Consumers demand optimal service before, during and after their buying decision through a variety of end products and channels. Customers expect the following things:

  • to be addressed individually
  • good communication
  • flexible and dialogue-oriented collaboration
  • quick and precise information
  • their demands to be answered quickly

A holistic perspective towards your own organization is therefore still extremely relevant and for good reasons: insurers are under constant pressure to reduce costs and to remain flexible to customer demands. They must take on a fine balancing act between strict compliance requirements and optimal service. Therefore the question about process efficiency will be inevitably raised.

It can be concluded that there are two significant trends to watch:

  1. End-to-end perspective on processes
  2. and focusing on process optimization to increase efficiency

The cornerstone of any transformation project is therefore Business Process Management. Documented processes:

  • are a foundation for communication for the whole organization
  • make fast and targeted action possible
  • lay the foundations for Risk Management and for subsequent automation of processes
  • are a basic requirement for project management in IT and business

All steps towards an agile organization, for example the introduction of electronic files, set out defined processes. Documented processes can only help when they are lived out. Due to the fact that processes diagramms are an abstract presentation, it is imperative to make your employees aware of their importance and ensure they are comfortable with them. Collaboration is a decisive aspect which also isn’t always easy to implement in practise. In an upcoming blog post we’ll have a look at what a typical insurance process looks like and how tasks, responsibilities and influencing factors can be organized in a diagramm.

  • Meanwhile you can also read our interview with the Verka VK to find out how the Berlin-based pension provider approaches Process Management.
  • Embrace process thinking and anchor it within your organization: Have a look at our download centre where you’ll find lots of useful whitepapers and why not sign up for a free webinar?
Published on: December 2nd 2016 - Last modified: February 21st, 2018