Increase Operations Efficiency in the Insurance Industry

After the economic challenges of the past decade, many companies are looking to streamline processes but are often not reaching their expected savings or fully commit to their proposed changes.

Operational efficiency is integral to maintaining profitability in a volatile market and economic climate, but it also responds to increased calls for transparency and faster access to important information. As communications become more dependent on the Internet over in-person calls, operational efficiency can also help companies meet their clients where they are at: online and researching their next major purchases.

Today’s insurance consultants strive to make insurance companies more profitable and agile, here’s how to do this with employee and operations management.

Four Effective Ways to Manage Your Employees
Operational efficiency starts with your employees. That makes operational management dependent on how you manage your employees. The right management can encourage your staff, get them better equipped for change and increase your profitability.

Encourage idea management: Your staff are your most knowledgeable and immediate resource into your business’ ins and outs. The best ideas will often come from your own staff. Working to ensure that your employees feel comfortable and encouraged to bring their ideas forward is a key to modern success, a strategy that has led to important changes in organizations like Toyota and GE.

Prioritize motivation and engagement: Employees who feel heard and engaged often show a 15-20 per cent increase in performance. So how do you engage employees? Focus on motivation, incentive programs and, of course, clear and open communication.

Incentivize your staff with fair and motivating rewards: Monetary compensation is just one way in which you can motivate your employees, but never underestimate the power of a pizza party and mentions of success in the company newsletter. These are often more cost effective and always appreciated by your team.

Change cost allocation: Flat, equal cost distribution is one of the least effective ways to improve operations, yet it is still a popular strategy. Instead, allocate costs based on consumption. It encourages people to use the resources in the organization and it saves money on expensive third-party solutions.

Four Ways to Achieve the Most Productive Organizational Structure
Look for inside hires: It pays to bring in an outside perspective, but always promoting from without instead of from within the company will leave your team feeling like they need to go elsewhere to grow. Growing leaders in-house and taking the time to mentor promising employees can help you retain valuable assets just when they may look to move, and will save you on hiring a more expensive expert from outside.

Streamline compensation: What people earn is quickly becoming more common knowledge and, with it, tensions around compensation. By streamlining your levels of compensation, you can ensure equal pay for equal work while rewarding those who deserve more for their efforts.

Reduce management layers: Modern businesses need to be flexible, agile and quick to respond to change. Having multiple levels of management can lead to the opposite: bureaucratic inefficiencies and communication structures that lose vital information. By reducing levels of management, you can increase your efficiency and better plan for those quick changes.

Get the right number of people: Too few or too many employees both present problems. One will burn out your staff, increase turnover and lead to operational “bottlenecks.” Too many employees unnecessarily increases costs while insufficiently leveraging your collected talent. This is where operations, contact centre and back-office benchmarks can drive operational efficiency.

The Assessments & Benchmarks Insurance Companies Need
If you are curious about how your company is operating and want to understand how to better streamline your operation, The Burnie Group has may assessments and benchmarks that can help your organization run better. They are even available across multiple channels, including:

Call/phone (including IVR)
Online (including chat and bots)
Mobile
Branch
Insurance benchmarks and assessments are also available across different business lines, such as:

P&C insurance
Individual life insurance
Group life insurance
Retirement
Investments
Insurance benchmarks and assessments can also help across different functions, including:

Sales
Services
Claims
Complaints
Loyalty and retention
Shared services (e.g. Workforce management)
Contact The Burnie Group today to learn more about how to drive operational efficiencies in your company to achieve better profit, happier employees, and streamlined process.

5 Mistakes to Avoid when Buying Insurance

Buying insurance can be confusing, but when the unexpected happens – a house fire, a car accident or a bone fracture – it is a relief to know that some of those financial losses are going to be covered. But how do you know how much coverage you need? And what questions should you ask before buying a policy? Many consumers aren’t very sure. Insurance coverage is far from one size fits all, so here are mistakes some consumers make when buying insurance.
1. Assuming insurance is out of reach. In some cases, consumers skip insurance because they think it’s out of their budget. Often, that’s not the case, according to Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the LIFE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that educates consumers about financial planning and insurance. The LIFE Foundation collaborated with LIMRA, a worldwide research and consulting organization for insurance and financial services, on the 2013 Insurance Barometer Study, which found that the average consumer thinks life insurance is three times more expensive than it actually is.

When buying health insurance or property and casualty insurance, ask about potential discounts. While health insurance discounts are often income-based, homeowners and auto insurers offer discounts for everything from being a member of groups like AARP, to being a good student or a good driver, to having a home security system.

2. Relying on assumptions or outdated figures. Changing economic conditions mean you might need more insurance coverage than you had in the past. Take life insurance. In the past, consumers might have based their life insurance coverage on their current income, but if something happens and you’re no longer around, you need more capital at work to provide the same income to your beneficiaries. Disability and long-term care insurance are even more complicated than traditional life insurance.

In the case of homeowners insurance, your home could be underinsured if you’ve renovated or if the cost to build a home has increased due to higher material costs or other factors. That’s why experts recommend reviewing insurance coverage once every year to make sure it still fits your needs. Talk to your insurance agent if you’re unsure.

3. Shopping on price alone. Resist the urge to simply choose the policy with the lowest premium. Consider the company’s reputation and the coverage you’d get for that premium. In general with health insurance, the higher the premium, the lower the amount you pay when you go to the doctor. Private health insurance plans must provide coverage examples showing what your estimated out-of-pocket costs would be for, say, having a baby or managing Type 2 diabetes. Some examples might not apply to you, but they can help you compare plans and see how much you might have to pay in coinsurance and copays.

Your property and casualty insurance may not cover things like food spoilage in the event of a power outage or stolen electronics worth more than $1,000, so you may want to purchase extra endorsements to cover those possibilities.

With disability or long-term care insurance, prices can vary depending on the length of the elimination period – the amount of time you must wait before coverage begins – and whether the policy includes inflation protection, so consider these factors, too.

4. Overlooking details. Make sure you understand what your insurance policy covers. For health insurance, it’s cheaper to see doctors who are in-network and buy prescription drugs covered by the formulary, so check to see if your doctor is in-network and if your prescription drugs are covered before you buy a policy. Otherwise, you could get an expensive surprise.Read your insurance policy and contact your insurance agent if anything is unclear.

5. Setting your deductible too low. Setting a low deductible typically means higher premiums, and in the case of property and casualty insurance, a greater likelihood of small claims that could ultimately raise your premiums. Insurance is designed to protect against losses you could not cover yourself, so if you can afford to pay the first $500 or $1,000 in losses yourself, you may not need a lower premium.

One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Your Class on USA Trips

The USA has an abundance of potential when it comes to school residential trips, and you don’t have to look further than Washington DC, home to the National Air and Space Museum, for inspiration. A visit to this excellent museum will see your students marvelling at the 1903 Wright Flyer and Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, touching rock that’s come from the moon, and getting to grips with the fascinating history of aviation and space travel.
Home to the world’s largest collection of space and aviation related artefacts, this museum is not only educational, but hugely inspirational as well.Teachers will be pleased to discover that the museum caters extremely well for pupils on residential school trips, and there is much on offer to help make your visit a truly memorable one.

Tours

When taking your students on a trip it’s always useful to know that, when appropriate, you can take a breather and hand them over to the experts. At the National Air and Space Museum,you can book a guided tour specifically designed for students. The History of Flight Tour II and Exploring Space tours are angled towards secondary school children.

The tours last an hour, with all year groups of secondary school age catered for. If you have more than 15 youngsters on your residential school trips, the group will be split accordingly. Hosted by volunteers, these tours are highly informative and can be tailored to any specific interests or curriculum requirements.

Einstein Planetarium

This attraction is considered an absolute highlight of the site and, as one of the most high-tech planetariums in the country, it’snot hard to see why. Adults arealways just as impressed as youngsters and,as the newly installed 8K Full Dome System works its magic, projecting super high-definition visuals, your class will be mesmerised. The vivid colours, intense brightness and pin-sharp clarity simply must be seen to be believed.

There are several shows run throughout the day. To Space and Back invites viewers into the world of exploratory space travel, and shows how intrinsically linked our changing world is to the universe around us. Other shows include The Stars Tonight,whichincorporatesrelevant headlining topics.

Shows change often, so teachers bookingresidential school trips in advance will need to check closer to the time to see exactly what is on. Every show is fantastic, however, so they’re an experience not to be missed.

Observatory

The wonderful observatory at the planetariumhouses an array of telescopes that, because of their safe solar filters, can be used during daylight hours. Pupils will have the opportunity to look for spots on the sun and discover the phases of Venus – and that’s just the start!

When planning residential school trips to Washington DC, booking with a reputable educational travel tour operator is highly recommended, in order to make the most of the time. They will advise and assistwith every aspect of planning your trip, leaving you free to concentrate on making the experience as memorable as it can be for young students.

Author Plate

John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational travel for school and youth groups. Whether you’re planning UK study tours,school residential trips to the USA, Iceland geography trips or trekking expeditions to India, you can trust both the educational and economic value of their itineraries, whether ready-made or specifically designed to suit the needs of your group.