Jewelers Mutual Insurance recognized the importance of change
management as the insurer went
through the process of replacing
its policy administration system.
Tammy Tatro, business support
program manager for Jewelers, reports that as the insurer kicked off
the software implementation they
also began a change management
“We replaced several systems
at the same time so we knew the
impact to our organization would be
huge,” says Tatro. “We also recognized the impact this would have
on the day-to-day lives of the people in our building.”
Change management involved a multi-step process for Jewel-
ers, explains Tatro. The first step was to invite the staff to take part
in sessions where they could get an idea of what the status quo was
and learn more about the biggest pain points.
The staff was queried on what they would like to see happen to
improve their own job performance. Jewelers was experiencing tremendous growth at this point and Tatro explains they weren’t going
through the change simply to play catch up, but so there wouldn’t
be a need to hire additional employees as the growth continued.
“We assured people they still had a job, but it might be different
work,” says Tatro. “We emphasized there was plenty of work to do
in the future and asked for input on the best way to accomplish that
work with the new tools.”
Some carriers turn to the vendor for help in change manage-
ment and Guidewire was supportive of the effort shown by the
Jewelers staff, but the insurer felt change management should come
from within the ranks of the company.
“We relied on our vendors to help us understand the options
the software had and what features we could make the most from,”
says Tatro. “We couldn’t give the staff everything they wanted but
we were able to ask the vendors what they could do for us.”
Without an agile development approach, the change manage-
ment portion of the project would have been more difficult for
the carrier, according to Tatro. The change management and the
development teams were able to conduct small deliverables, which
helped Jewelers get an idea of what the end result would resemble.
“Having to guess about what would come would definitely be
more difficult,” she says.
Jewelers implemented Guidewire for personal lines two years
ago and went through a full year of conversion. Commercial lines
was implemented a year ago and just completed its conversion.
Tatro reports after implementation of the personal lines, that
department conducted an internal study of what employees were
doing. They made another modification to processes and how the
staff was aligned. For commercial lines it’s been more difficult.
“It was a little rocky last year during conversion as they used
both old and new systems, so time will tell,” says Tatro. “We need to
let them settle into the new normal and then have that department
reassess their processes. There will be modifications along the way.
It’s difficult when you implement something of that size. People feel
more comfortable with the way they used to do something.”
Jewelers does not have a continued mission to study processes.
Tatro explains the individual departments will be assessing what
should stay the same or change, which takes time and effort, espe-
cially when you look at a large scale. “Our company has not made
that an ongoing effort, although it could possibly be something that
is done in the future,” she says. “We rolled out the processes, but
there has not been a lot of organizational oversight since the imple-
Jewelers did discover that one of its operations units was still
using the old system for mailing letters and responses to customers.
Tatro feels that’s no longer needed.
“You need to recognize when reverting back to the old process
is happening and evaluate why it is happening,” she says. “Is it
a people issue, a resistance to the new way, a problem with the
software, or do they not understand the new processes or systems?
People are clever and find a way they are more comfortable work-
ing, even if it doesn’t help them in the long run.”
In personal lines, it once took new members of the customer
service staff six months to get trained and learn the system; today,
new hires are on-boarded in less than two months.
“They’ve seen significant improvements in how they do the
work,” says Tatro. “They are able to get more work done without
hiring additional staff.”
It’s been tricky with new business applications in commercial
lines as they adjusted to the new systems and were converting exist-
ing policies, but things are now moving quicker from submissions
to turning it back to the agents, according to Tatro.
“We also have some better automated renewal features now
so there is no manual intervention,” she says. “With this feature
we have better control and we don’t have to go through months of
programming to modify it.” ITA
The Impact of New Software
A new policy administration system meant changes for the staff at Jewelers