some of the pain points in the processes. Bowers points out this
eventually involved dozens of substantial changes for each line
“Some of the technology improved the processes and we
continue to tweak them,” he says.
Buy Into Change
Mihaliak maintains it is rare to find a business leader that won’t
agree on the importance of change management. The question
these leaders face, though, is: How do they go about making
sure the changes are applied in the correct manner?
“In a world with so many resources, the first assumption a
leader makes is there is a middle management layer that can be
relied upon to make the changes,” he says. “A few years ago that
was more of a possibility. Operations jobs are getting harder
and to think operations managers will have time to bring their
teams through that is just not working as frequently as it once
did. When there is a major transformation program, you need a
change management strategy up front that allows you to proac-
tively manage things.”
Change management doesn’t happen in a silo, points out
Tempesta. What he calls the “change army” includes business
leaders and stakeholders armed with new tools and techniques.
They are the ones that have to sell the changes and empower
others to make things happen.
“Change comes from the top down and it will be hard to
find a leader who doesn’t think change management is a critical
path, but being a good people manager is not the same as being
a good change manager,” says Tempesta. “You may have to tran-
sition people and that’s a combination of human resources and
business leaders. It’s complex work. The essential core of change
discipline is the need to prepare business leaders to execute on
the change plan.”
Mihaliak believes IT leaders are involved in change man-
agement even if it is not always apparent. One example of this
involves the increased value carriers place on their data.
“One of the issues with data programs is the change
management needs are not attended to. Things like the estab-
lishment of a governance process across the organization in
addition to the adoption of new tools,” he says. “Something that
might be perceived as technology driven has change manage-
ment needs. As CIOs collaborate more with the business units,
they assume the trusted-partner relationship that they aspire
to, the ability to engage their peers around leading practices of
change management, and to be the coach to help elevate that
trusted advisor role.”
Weaver recognizes culture change is a significant challenge
for carriers. In Westfield’s case, employees went through organi-
zational changes as well as process changes.
“To keep the employees well informed has been important
as well as to listen to them, understand their concerns, look
forward to the way the industry will move, and why changes
need to be made,” she says.
Bowers believe process changes were well received and
employees understood the need for consistency, accuracy, and
simplicity. Organization changes, however, were more difficult
as most employees express two major questions: What is my
job? Who do I report to?
“We had to make difficult choices on when we were going
to make the changes,” says Bowers. “We met with the executive
leaders and advised them of the changes, but we also had to
make a tough choice: Do we make the organizational changes
before the technology deployment?”
The technology was going to support the organizational
changes, and doing the organizational changes before the tech-
nology deployment would mean there were workarounds and
additional work, according to Bowers.
“We decided it was best to make the organizational changes
as soon as we could,” he says. “We made those changes about a
year ago so people have been without the technology to support
those changes. It’s worked, but there have been some bumps.”
Bowers feels the technology changes will be easier to deal
with because the previous claims system was approximately
25-years-old and was homegrown.
“People who joined us from other carriers had to take a step
back from the technology,” he says. “Our road shows helped
build excitement around the technology and the desire has been
strong to put the system into place.”
Center of Excellence
Mihaliak reports more companies seek to create a strong center
of excellence and the next wave of emergence is around change.
Tempesta adds there has been an uptick in the way insurance
companies approach transformational change—such as multi-year policy administration projects.
“Companies aren’t comfortable with such an investment if
they don’t have a guarantee of success and that’s why change
management is on the table,” says Tempesta.
“The cycle time of these projects, is important,” adds Mi-
haliak. “When you develop a new system like policy adminis-
tration, these programs take a couple of years or more, so if you
miss and end up without the outcome you desire, that puts the
company that much further behind their competitors who got
it right the first time. If carriers are going to spend this much
money they have to get some return on it.”
Westfield tried to communicate to everyone from the
start that change management evolves and is not the end to
anything. Bowers realizes there will be continual changes both
with regards to where the business grows and with how the
newer, more flexible technology responds much quicker than
in the past.
“We’ll continue to invest in our technology, we’ll continue
to make tweaks to our organization, and we’ll continue to
work on best practices,” says Bowers. “We have people established within the organization to undertake that continuous