Changing the Culture and Operations of an Insurance Company

A leading insurance company found its old way of reaching customers wasn’t working. Competitors had eaten into its market share. Costs for finding prospects were rising. Claims were out of control. And the company didn’t know what its customers wanted.
The company embarked on a total reengineering of its operations: prospecting for customers, marketing materials, customer service and employees rewards were all in the mix. More than 750 of the 2,000 employees were involved in the effort. The goal was to provide prompt, effective customer service, and to use those customer contacts to quickly discover new customer needs and design insurance products to fill them.

As teams began to redesign operations, the COO acknowledged that the organization had been operating in silos with fierce competition among groups. They did not share valuable information about customers for fear that others would get credit for a sale. Multiple handoffs among marketing, creative, legal, and other departments prevented capitalizing on opportunities.

A culture assessment surfaced a critical finding: the belief that internal competition was healthy was preventing collaboration and the development of new products.
As a result of the culture change, jobs were restructured to provide a single point of contact with the customer. Collaboration was stressed and reinforced by new compensation and recognition for new ideas and team actions. Sales and Service teams were trained to learn from the customer and explore new needs. More than 1,1000 workers and mangers were trained in interpersonal dynamics and skills. The executive team stepped up its visibility, pace of decision-making, clarity of vision, and execution. It managed a downsizing in a supportive, humane way.


Click here to read an interview with the CEO and COO who led the change effort!

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