– June 21, 2011
I have just returned from the Americas Claims Event held this year in New Orleans. This was a really great conferences that was well run and provided some great learning opportunities. This year was an interesting mix of speakers and vendors discussing the latest trends. It was a great place to hear some of the challenges facing the industry and how are those challenges being solved.
One of the most interesting speeches I heard was given by Paul Tuhy, Global Head of Claims for XL Insurance. Paul spoke about building effective claims systems and processes and gave some valuable suggestions on how to implement claims projects successfully. Paul began his speech by going through a bit of history surrounding claims technology from the punch card days to the paperless office. It was a great way to set up how to develop a platform that “flows” with the claims staff.
I believe strongly that claims systems should assist claim handlers in making better decisions and not necessarily be expected to make those decisions for them. In the end, the claims technology must serve claims professionals. This is what Paul Tuhy and XL have been trying to achieve with their technology offerings. Developing a new claims system can be fraught with many challenges, regardless, there are some great ways to make that process better (see Putting Puzzle Pieces Together and the Challenge of Creating a New Claims System and The Legacy Claims System Facelift – 5 Issues To Consider When Looking At New Systems).
5 Ways For a Successful Implementation
Paul Tuhy made the following suggestions to manage development:
- Use the best and the brightest on the project: A new IT project for claims cannot be a dumping ground to stick poor performers. Paul suggests the process should hurt a little and that means taking some of your best claim handlers off their desks to act as the subject matter experts. These experts must be able to think strategically and have a broad perspective in order to assist in what will be a major change for much of the organization.
- Consult the business: Don’t build a claims system in a silo. This is a business system and not just a claims system. Involving the underwriters and actuaries in the process will help to implement an enterprise wide solution to improve the overall business outcome and not just make claims handling easier.
- Dedicated executive sponsorship: A project this large and this important needs an executive champion. There must be the ability to help move the project forward and ensure deadlines are met at an executive level or the development may stall. This will require a large time commitment, however, this commitment will be rewarded with a streamlined approach and the ability for decisions to be made effectively.
- Project management: The project team must have passion to move the project forward with a tireless dedication. The team must have the same vision as the leadership to maintain the focus through a long implementation.
- Scope creep: The system and suggested changes must have value. It is very easy to sit back and add a piece here and another there. Prior to making a change to the project a cost benefit analysis must be done. It is a difficult thing to measure, however, and sometimes system enhancements will begin slow and don’t show their value for several months or years. Measure those changes after the fact and see if the perceived value actually came to be.
As companies continue to invest money in new technology it is important that those investments do not end up creating more problems. Claims technology can be a great way to improve efficiencies and lower costs when done correctly. Too many times projects fail because the up-front time and investments were not made.