Recipe for Life Insurance Transformation

Brian Saperstein

Transformation is the trend of the day. From digital transformation to business transformation, every company is undergoing some form of transformation. In the world of insurance, life insurance is no different.

So, are you looking to transform your life insurance organization? I am going to assume you have a mandate from the rest of the leadership team to embark upon this journey.  If you don’t, then its time ‘go to jail, do not pass “Go”, and do not collect $200’.  Make sure you have the mandate.  Here is my recipe for succeeding in transforming your life insurance organization, composed of three simple ingredients.

  1. Build Momentum.  You can’t go wrong with setting a vision for your transformation, building the case for change, and then working to build buy-in and assessing cultural readiness?

First, the enterprise needs to know what this transformation is going to look like.  And just between us, we all know that the final state is likely a bit ambiguous.  However, setting out on a path to success requires communicating as much as you can about what the future holds.  A big part of this change for the future is explaining the “why” of the undertaking.  Have you and your fellow leaders shared their stories of why this change must occur?  Make it as personal as possible.  Present it in-person (COVID-19 friendly) and as frequently as possible.  Find your change agents and champions in the organization and recruit them now.  This will all help build buy-in for your transformation.  The last piece to consider when building momentum is what your culture will do to support your change, but also to hinder it.  What business units, locations, or functions might hold back the change?  Don’t just bank on intuition, but use surveys and other fact finding tools to build a transformation strategy that correctly targets and supports your momentum-building efforts.

  1. Execute Successfully & Manage Expectations. This one might seem obvious but stick with me for a minute.  Execution is required for a transformation to be successful, but execution alone won’t make a transformation succeed.

I always think about the change management and communication efforts that must surround the transformation as being just as important as the execution of the change itself.  If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.  However, if you explain the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and change drivers, I think you can expect some attendance.   No one notices the referees in a game unless something has gone wrong, and communications and change management are in exactly the same situation.  Making sure you have dedicated people who are building targeted communications and stakeholder plans will only get you so far, but it will also ensure you get anywhere at all.  The execution effort needs to work in parallel to this change effort to reinforce the why from above, but also introduce the what and the who.  We can talk more about making sure execution is successful at another time, but it needs to be done in parallel to communications and change management.

  1. Change Behaviors.  As I was working on transformation in my last role, I spent a lot of time focused on what behaviors our organization needed to value to make the transformation succeed.

There are many behaviors an organization needs to value to succeed, whether in a transformational effort or not.  However, I’d highlight three that are critical:

1) Does your organization work well together?  Can you count on collaboration as a key strength going forward?  If not, focus on this now.  If so, how can you continue to nurture collaboration, as it is on the critical path to any organizational success.

2) Are you holding each other accountable for what is expected and do you value accountability?  Too many organizations expect only senior leaders to hold people accountable, or rather they think anyone else will handle this sticky wicket.  The truth is that we all need to hold each other accountable for achieving what we’ve said we’d do or what is expected.  Enterprise-wide expectations of accountability help an organization grow and raise the level of discourse.  And finally,

3) Are you building a culture of resiliency?  Are people ready for setbacks and failures and to quickly pivot to the next-best plan of attack?  So many organizations dwell on failure or recoil, when the smart, nimble organizations are pivoting to the next-best plan and continuing along, relentlessly.  Being resilient in the face of setbacks, which are common in a transformation, will help any organization succeed.

I hope these three key transformation ingredients help you with your own cooking.  And when you are ready to tackle these items, please know that a partner like Sapiens is here to help you realize your transformational objectives.  Our mix of key insurance solutions, intelligence offerings, digital journeys, and decision engineering can help you succeed.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Brian Saperstein

Brian Saperstein Brian serves as the VP for Life Transformation, North America at Sapiens.