Services of CreditUnion724
You will benefit from our proven methodology, because our resources follow an established discipline (tools, techniques, and templates) in the services of IT strategy, business process improvement, and system implementation. Save Money… We are affordable and get the job done on time.
In less than two weeks, we’ll provide you with an independent assessment of your AI workflow and technology including the kind of detail you need to know. We’ll also benchmark the degree of your competitors’ agency automation and give you a clear picture of where you stand. You’ll receive…
- Detailed list of your agency automation strengths and weaknesses
- Detailed list of ways to improve your Ease Of Doing Business
- Analysis of your Competitors’ level of automation for specific lines of business
This engagement can be done from our headquarters in Pennsylvania by using telephone and the Internet, and without interrupting your regular operations. Click here for more information about measuring agency interface results and the importance of an objective evaluation.
To receive a sample AI Assessment or to request a price quote for this engagement, please call Peter Kraynak at 215-479-0724 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When’s the last time you got an objective evaluation of your Agency Interaction capability and strategy? At that time did you measure the financial performance of your Agency Workflow process improvements?
Problem Statement – Small to mid-sized insurance companies are operating in a highly competitive environment, therefore the profitability and even ‘staying power’ in the marketplace are direct results of the success or failure of the company’s Ease-of-Doing-Business program. Many senior managers don’t realize that their performance in the area of agency interface, now known as agency interaction or “AI” is completely dependent on the quality and consistency of their operational and technology strategy efforts… both internally and externally.
The Right Approach – Just like other strategic planning activities, the development of your AI Roadmap should be grounded in operations and technology, and needs to prove its value for improving your Ease of Doing Business. The AI operations and technology strategy must be grounded in performance measurement by rigorously using metrics and benchmarks – both internal and external kinds. In the finance area, the management team is used to rallying every quarter around the company’s financial statements and ratios. Why shouldn’t the management team also rally around a set of “AI Operational Statements and Performance Ratios”?
Solution by Insurance724
Make a break-through decision by engaging our AI Assessment Service. Our intelligent assessment framework and capable staff will evaluate your AI Program with a holistic approach covering your specific workflows and technologies – both internally and externally. This will become the baseline for your continuous improvement of your AI processes in a measured and deliberate way. We will provide a clear measure of your AI progress so that your technology investments can be made more effectively with personnel’s valuable time and money, along with the result of increased premium. We will consider the connecting points and handoffs between your agency distribution force and all core carrier functions:
Our findings are developed in an objective yet confidential manner using several key techniques from the proven methodology of Six Sigma to be considered in the decision making of your senior team. We’ll help define your best alternatives to improve your agency interaction process so that it’s easier for your agents to write more of the profitable business that suits your marketing strategy. This will help you advance from your current agency interaction architecture and level of organizational readiness.
Our team of qualified “Insurance Best Practice” professionals will evaluate your AI situation and will analyze each operational area to determine the process maturity score, so that the “lowest hanging fruit” can be pursued for Ease of Doing Business gains via Upload, Portal, and perhaps Comparative Raters. We’ll provide a detailed report of our findings which will outline the footprint for an improved metric analysis and taking into account marketplace technology changes in the AI space.
You’ll find that our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable about agency automation, and enthusiastic. Our detailed assessment will be the first step to helping you shape a better Agency Operations and IT Strategy to beat the competition and increase your premium growth.
We’ll identify opportunities for cost reduction in your operations and will map out your path to a better bottom line.
Problem Statement – In terms of trends, the financial position of many property and casualty insurers has been deteriorating for several years. In a desperate bid to reduce expense ratios, P&C carriers have resorted to making decisions about reducing costs without the proper insight required to make an educated decision. As a result, many of these decisions have not brought forth the amount of savings that were anticipated. This has caused adverse and unnecessary consequences to the carrier operations. While there is not one single factor responsible for the current conditions, the cumulative combined effect of the following must be considered.
- Lack of knowledge and insight into how to properly apply technologies such as the Internet has prevented P&C carriers from realizing cost-efficiencies that can bring a significant improvement to their bottom line.
- As a result of competition and controls over insurance premium rates, premium revenue has not kept pace with rising claim costs resulting in growing underwriting losses. Claim expenses have risen significantly in addition to other expenses.
- Revenues from investment portfolios have declined, making it more difficult for insurers to generate the income necessary to offset underwriting losses. However, the decline in investment returns is not the largest factor in explaining the pressure on premiums.
- Weak profits have contributed to a declining return on equity and carriers have experienced erosion in capital levels. The challenges parent organizations face in raising new capital as well as justifying capital injections into an industry that is producing low returns has further exacerbated such pressures. As a result, many companies are approaching the minimum capital target threshold.
Right Approach – In the past 20 years, the banking industry has achieved a 20% reduction in its efficiency ratio; however, the P&C industry has not experienced a similar cost improvement. Management should adopt a holistic approach to improve their expense ratio, whereby they analyze costs by each operational area. They should then pursue the “lowest hanging fruit” allowing them to achieve “common” operational efficiencies by streamlining collections, imaging, claim handling, payments and customer service through the use of new technology or the outsourcing of back-office operations.
Insurance724 Expense Ratio Reduction Analysis Offering
Insurance724 provides a short-term service at an affordable price to fulfill this need for a small to medium-sized P&C carrier. Some of our key activities are:
- Analyze each core operational area for “hidden thieves” and facilitate the transfer of cross-industry benchmarks for cost and operational efficiencies.
- Introduction of industry best practice approaches so as to not “reinvent the wheel”, which saves you time and money.
- Identify and document the top three most controllable cost components of the ‘Expense Ratio’ while improving customer service and retention.
- Identify targeted opportunities to reduce your expense ratio by leveraging the Internet.
Our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
When’s the last time you updated your Operations and Technology Strategic Roadmap, and at the time did you measure the financial performance of your process improvements? Is your organization learning from project problems?
Problem Statement – Small to mid-sized insurance companies are operating in a highly competitive environment, therefore the profitability and even ‘staying power’ in the marketplace are direct results of the success or failure of the company’s Process Excellence program. Many senior managers don’t realize that their performance in the area of process improvement is completely dependent on the quality and consistency of their operational and technology strategy efforts. Most companies leave IT decisions partially up to chance, or they fall into a long-standing pattern of ‘start and stop’ when it comes to operational and IT strategic planning. Here are some other root causes of an inadequate Ops/IT Strategy Program:
- Not enough resources or skills to give Ops/IT Strategy the proper attention to finish the job
- Not enough information gathered about technology / vendor package developments
- The planning team does not develop or regularly maintain a full Cost-Benefit model
- Technology Planning is done without considering a deep enough process analysis
- No one in the management team is accountable to measure ROI on process improvement
- Benchmarking of key process metrics is not done properly or on a regular basis
- No one has enough authority to develop a holistic viewpoint across all core functions
- The exercise of Ops/IT Strategy is thought-of as a one-time or occasional event
Right Approach – Just like other strategic planning activities, the development of a roadmap for operations and technology projects and process improvements should be based on a regular cycle with management team participation. In order to make the best decisions regarding IT, there needs to be a continuous improvement effort – one that constantly pushes out the planning horizon so that the management team stays on the same page about where the company is at and where it is going from an operational standpoint. Additionally, the operations and technology strategy must be grounded in performance measurement by rigorously using metrics and benchmarks – both internal and external kinds. In the finance area, the management team is used to rallying every quarter around the company’s financial statements and ratios. Why shouldn’t the management team also rally around a set of “operational statements” and “IT performance ratios”? There should be a clear measure of ROI discussed every quarter on all technology investments being made with personnel’s valuable time and money, along with the results of the organization’s operational changes in all core functions and across functions considering all the key hand-offs:
Solution by Insurance724 – Make a break-through decision by engaging our Insurance Ops/IT Strategy Service. Our intelligent planning framework and capable staff will serve as an integral part of your senior management team so that you can experience world class analysis, strategy session facilitation, and expert guidance. Through our partnership, you will benefit from our holistic approach covering your specific workflows and technologies – both internally and externally – to improve all of your core processes in a measured and deliberate way. Our findings are developed in an objective yet confidential manner using sound techniques from the proven methodology of Six Sigma to guide the decision making of your senior team.
- For the components of your Combined Ratio, we’ll identify specific opportunities for cost reduction across your operation and map out the path to more profit in a measurable way. See the mathematical connection between your process and your expense ratio.
- In the area of Premium Growth, we’ll figure out the best way to improve your agency interaction process so that it’s easier for your agents to write more of the profitable business that suits your marketing strategy. We’ll help you advance from your current agency interaction architecture.
Our team of qualified “Insurance Best Practice” professionals will first evaluate your situation and will analyze each operational area to determine the process maturity score, so that the “lowest hanging fruit” can be pursued for operational gains, such as increased premium, streamlining billing, expanded imaging, optimal claim handling, and better customer service through the use of specific new technologies or via steps to outsource back-office activities. Next we’ll develop or fortify your current Ops/IT Strategy foundation, what we call the “Baseline”. Then we’ll work on your behalf in a continuous mode, and will perform process metric analysis on a quarterly basis using best practice knowledge and taking into account marketplace technology changes.
Why start from scratch to learn about the marketplace, when Insurance724 already has the most current knowledge at our fingertips. We are vendor independent and therefore objective, yet we have knowledge and experience with the industry’s most popular solutions. You’ll save time and money, and hit the ground running with Insurance724 at your side.
Problem Statement – With the increasing need for technology advancement in the Insurance industry, many software companies have formed to service a wide variety of functional needs for carriers with new software products and technology upgrades. There are hundreds of software solutions targeting the Insurance industry however the management teams of most insurance carriers don’t have the time or current knowledge to evaluate the viability and functional fit of each software package in comparison to the others in the marketplace. Many technology leaders spend many hours in searching and reviewing potential vendors, along with countless emails and phone calls to obtain even basic descriptive information about their products.
The Right Approach – In Insurance724, our philosophy is to help our clients achieve their goals easier and can help you save time and money by using our solution provider knowledgebase. We can help you quickly evaluate and select the software solution which matches your needs with either a summary or detailed analysis and comparative report. Our service will provide an independent and unbiased review of the relevant software vendors and best-fit solutions as part of our strategy service with ROI formulation. The methodology at Insurance724 ensures that you get the best vendor solution in the shortest time possible at a great-value price , within the context of a sensible operational strategy and roadmap.
Insurance724’s Software Package Selection and Evaluation Offering
Insurance724 uses its expertise and experience to deliver the following services:
- RFP Management: We will develop and coordinate all aspects of a Request for Proposal framework, laying the proper groundwork for contract negotiations. This service can significantly reduce your risk, effectively control run-away costs, and prevent wasted payments to IT vendors.
- Vendor Management Services: Assessment and/or development of your vendor selection and management policies. Review, evaluation, and scoring of each vendor proposal – to be sure you’re getting the right value and that the right approach is taken BEFORE you sign a contract. While a vendor is providing services to your firm, we’ll serve as your representative, champion, or confidential advisor to ensure you’re getting the value you deserve for your investment.
- Package Market Review: Get the benefit of our insurance solution knowledge base to identify a full set of relevant candidate solutions and receive the results of vendor/solution research. Quick RFI process narrows the universe down to the most viable candidates so that neither you nor they waste any time. Ensures that the shortlist candidates are willing to participate in the RFP process.
- RFP Process: Leverages our expert writing skills and assembles an effective and usable package for candidate vendors/solutions by providing a clear picture of process and system needs.Leverages proven RFP language for terms and conditions as well as a framework and method by which the vendors can respond with unambiguous pricing. Forces comparable responses and reduces the risk of a vendor surprises/shifting in terms, conditions, contracts, and SLA’s. Saves you from the labor-intensive communication channels with each vendor/solution and provides central-point communications/management. The aggregation of response detail, a fair and consistent Q&A process for participant questions, and the possible round of refinement to RFP requirements. All of this positions you for a strong negotiations cycle, essentially putting the solutions/vendors into a manageable framework.
- Response Evaluation: The typical issues of fear, uncertainty, and doubt are minimized, allowing you to get the most insight out of your candidate vendor interactions and enables each of them to put their best foot forward. Provides an intelligent and consistent method to assess their responses with the development of a set of scoring templates customized to your needs. The handling of the scoring process and timely communication of key results will incorporate both written and presentation-style recommendations.
- Path Forward Strategy: Leverages our innovative thinking and articulates options as well as a recommended solution definition for the management team, giving everyone a chance to organizationally participate in the solution before beginning execution. This step rounds-out a business case for you as our client that is sensible and feasible, providing cost estimates as a jumping off point for initial decision-making and this also outlines a game plan for the organization going forward.
Our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
Invest in a customized analysis of how the various agency interface (A/I) options on the market today will assist you in meeting your unique corporate initiatives and thus avoid the expensive mistakes made by other carriers. Click here for Ease Of Doing Business
Problem Statement – No carrier can afford a failed A/I initiative. In order to be competitive, insurance carriers need to offer agents the path of least resistance for placing their business and they need to present this solution in a manner that agents are willing to use. The risk and potential cost of failure includes technology costs, training of support/maintenance resources, the opportunity cost of a better option, and potential loss of credibility and more importantly premium with the agents if this solution does not meet their business and workflow needs. In pursuit of a solution, carriers encounter the following challenges:
- Growing Business –In order to stay competitive the carrier must adopt a standard yet cost-effective approach to its agency automation and support. By empowering an agency with some common yet minimal functionality like “Quick Quoting” and “Policy Lookup” carriers can support the agents in their selling process. Carriers that are looking to significantly expand their territories and/or market share must be sensitive to the needs of their dynamic agency base.
- Controlling Costs – Cost reduction is always foremost in the minds of an insurance carrier’s management team. The implementation of a successful A/I is imperative to the success of this objective and is achieved by reducing the manual “back and forth” processes between agency and carrier personnel, thereby engaging underwriters and producers in more value-add activities.
Managing Multiple Insurance Systems – Any A/I implementation will prove to be a substantial investment for a carrier. Most carriers do not have the luxury to implement a variety of solutions or patches to solutions to support the variety of policy processing systems and databases they maintain. As such it is vital to architect an A/I solution that meets your agent needs, integrates with your current systems and is still flexible and scalable enough to accept future upgrades or architecture changes.
The Right Approach – The value of an A/I solution is contained in the process and synergies gained in the “value chain” between agents and carriers on behalf of the insureds. It’s easy to get carried away with the technology and make assumptions about the return on your investment. Any insurance carrier contemplating an A/I initiative needs an overview of possible solutions available in the market so that they can match these options against current needs as well as against budget and time constraints. The management teams of small P&C carriers acknowledge that the risk of making a wrong IT decision can be very expensive. Deliberating for the sake of risk reduction is worth the time.
Insurance724’s 2-Day Agency-Carrier Analysis Offering
Insurance724 will play an advisory role for roughly 2 days of raw effort, which can be spread across several weeks if appropriate. Some of the key deliverables we provide:
- Quick assessment of a carrier’s unique business needs in regard to A/I and high-level review of your current agency force
- A lessons-learned document that outlines more than a dozen approaches to A/I
- Analysis of systems architecture to serve as a baseline for developing A/I solution alternatives
- Presentation of primary options available to the carrier for A/I to support management decision making
- Guide the client sponsor or project team with a best practices document to avoid common mistakes before engaging in an A/I initiative
You’ll find that our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology.” We are very adaptable to your needs.
Business interruption, regardless of the cause, can be very damaging for insurance carriers. Statistics indicate that carriers who suffer from business interruption without a business continuity plan in place lose large sums or do not recover at all. Before it’s too late, let us lead you through a proven action plan to mitigate your risks of business interruption along with financial liquidity problems, increased operating costs, and erosion of competitive market share that result.
Problem Statement – Insurance carrier executives understand that their customers perceive the service they are provided with is as important as the carrier’s products. They also recognize that even a small business interruption could have a substantial impact on the customer without an orderly approach to business continuity and disaster recovery process in place. If not promptly addressed, unplanned interruptions from disasters or crisis events can destroy an otherwise successful operation. The level of exposure and vulnerability has become widely recognized since 9/11 for the entire business community, and insurance carriers are no exception.
- Assets at Risk: People (employees, key managers, business partners and advocates, the public); Physical Property; Operations (supply and distribution channels including utilities, key vendors, key contracts); Information (records, data, media, systems, telecommunications); Intellectual Property; Financial Resources (cash flow, financial instruments, investments, analyst’s ratings, credit lines, stock price, adverse forecasts) all have to be considered in the plan.
- The “One Size Fits All” Approach is a mistake: The needs of every insurance carrier are unique. Recently, the business continuity solution provider market experienced a huge escalation in demand and as a result the big providers offered comprehensive packages. This approach does not meet the needs of all P&C carriers. These packages are extremely expensive and often contain unnecessary ‘bells and whistles’ … making it more difficult or impossible to recover from a problem.
The creation and maintenance of a sound business continuity and disaster recovery plan is a fairly complicated undertaking that warrants a proven methodology.
The Right Approach – The primary objectives of a Business Continuity Plan is to mitigate risk for the organization, and to sustain and preserve business value. Following an interruption, the organization must re-establish business operations as quickly as possible. Therefore, the goals of the Business Continuity Plan must include:
- Identifying weaknesses and implementing a risk mitigation program
- Minimizing the duration of a serious disruption to business operations
- Facilitating effective co-ordination of recovery tasks
- Reducing the complexity of the recovery effort
Insurance724’s Business Continuity Offering
Insurance724 provides a short-term service at an affordable price to fulfill the needs of any P&C carrier. The deliverables include:
- Custom high level needs analysis and planning for business continuity
- A baseline set of requirements with best practices in support of a Request for Proposal process
- A step-by-step guide map to managing the Business Continuity Planning process
- A framework for making management decisions based on priorities
Our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
We’ll help you find hidden dollars in your processes and enable you to present a fact-based business case to your Board. You’ll make the right decision and receive an ROI on every IT dollar you spend.
Problem Statement – Do you have a plan for implementing a new system and intend to proceed with a proper business case? Maybe you realize that wrong choices entail heavy prices, but don’t know how many wrong decisions you can avoid. Lack of insight, awareness and identification of these concealed areas increase the vulnerabilities of your organization and often result in excessive operating costs, inefficient resource allocation, and the erosion of competitive market share:
- Lack-Lustre Project Results: In most organizations projects either fail altogether or fall short of the business potential and have significant cost overruns. These burdens are often attributed to insufficient process analysis and benefit quantification.
- Poor Decision-Making: According to a recent Information Week study, more than 82 percent of IT projects require a cost benefit or return-on-investment analysis. If you make decisions based on arbitrary criteria or haphazard drives under a tight timeframe, it is likely that you will suffer from severe consequences such as waste of valuable time and money.
Business case is a straightforward, yet essential, undertaking that requires a balanced expertise, an unbiased approach, and years of experience. Insurance724 Ltd. has them all.
The Right Approach – Insurance724 Ltd. believes that all technology initiatives should start and end with business process. Other techniques for Why spend one dollar on IT if the impact of a business process improvement is not clear? Other techniques for Cost benefit (ROI) analysis are not limited to only data gathering and number crunching. The greatest value of this procedure is in the collaborative process of vision, planning, and risk management. Our goal is to enable our clients to establish and discuss issues using a sound decision model. You will find Insurance724’s approach to be:
- Grounded in the proven methodology of Six Sigma, a process which saved General Electric billions of dollars>
- Objective in examining the relevant business processes to provide a baseline for the business cases
- Constant in it’s focus on every possibility of increasing ROI of your organization to realize the envisioned goal
- Conscientious in optimizing your project results and overall business model
Insurance724’s Business Case / Cost Benefit Analysis Offering
Insurance724 provides a short-term service at an affordable price to provide strategic decisions for small to medium-sized organizations:
- ‘Business case’ insights and techniques that bring immediate results
- Current business model analysis, resources and preliminary risk assessment
- A template for detailed analysis covering both quantitative and qualitative factors of a selected project
- A step-by-step guide map to prioritize the activities of the initiative and improve the current decision-making process
- Maintenance and improve procedures to sustain the viability of the project ROI model
This service is reasonably priced and can be accomplished within 2-3 weeks. Our team members are technology savvy, very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
Don’t get locked into a limited talent pool. Leverage our insurance-savvy technologists, programmers, analysts, and project managers to get your work done in a fast and flexible way. Rates: per hour (varies by skill set and level of experience)
Problem Statement – With an ever-changing economic environment, today’s insurance organizations are realizing ebbs and flows in their project portfolios. Even as growth within companies begins to stabilize, competition and controls over insurance premium rates along with rising claims have prevented many companies from investing in long-term outlays to increase their permanent staff base. The result of this conservative approach often leaves a team scrambling for more time and resources from their already overloaded staff. The lack of a plan to accommodate for an unexpected influx of assignments can result in missed opportunities for financial gain, relationship building, and business knowledge expansion.
Additionally, most insurance companies have lagged in the technology curve, thus forgoing many potential opportunities to improve their bottom line. So far, few of the industry’s incumbents have capitalized on the use of advanced technologies, which are now affordable to even small carriers. Many carriers have not boosted their automation nor streamlined their operations. Carriers do not know how to utilize outside help effectively.
Insurance724 Value Proposition – Insurance724 recognizes the urgency that companies need to maintain good will with their customers and deliver process improvements on time and on budget. Our staff of insurance savvy technologists, programmers, analysts, and project managers are dedicated to supporting these efforts, bringing to the table a vast range of industry knowledge and technical competency. Our staff is available to help you with your critical, yet temporary, needs whether it is for the short-term or long-term. We are able to provide a seamless front as a representative of your team.
Insurance724 has a skilled pool of business people and developers who are armed with insurance specific technical know how. Our personnel, with a wide range of experience in customizing insurance systems and process improvements, can help jump-start projects that are important to the organizations’ competitive position in the industry.
Insurance724’s Field Specialists – Insurance724 provides temporary staff members who are:
- Experienced in Property & Casualty, Life & Health, Reinsurance and other insurance-related industries
- Use an industry-standard Six Sigma approach with tools and templates that were developed using the DMAIC Procedures
- Possess years of experience with insurance packages, technical skills, and project management including the areas of: Requirements Definition, Implementation, Process Evaluation, Management Mentoring
- Are PMP (Project Management Professional) certified
This service is priced on a time and material basis for a duration determined by your needs. Our rates are very competitive and vary by skill set as well as level of experience. You’ll find that our team members are technology savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
You’ll receive a clear picture of how your operations measure up to the competition. Our benchmarking approach provides your executive team with an objective “rating” for productivity and process maturity.
What’s Your Rating? – Insurance carrier executives base many of their decisions on the impact to their industry rating, however they don’t have a clear picture of how their operations measure up to the competition. What proven methods can you adopt from other carriers in the areas of agent responsiveness, underwriting productivity, and efficiency for claims and billing?
Problem Statement – Small to mid-sized insurance companies are experiencing growth and higher customer expectations. It is not uncommon to find a department such as underwriting that has exceeded its capacity under the current business process. Leveraging the mind-share of an underwriter is critical for success and is integral to the attainment of key business goals. Carriers need to look at best practices to help them streamline workflows and minimize manual processing in addressing the workload problem. They should not assume that creating new positions is the answer to support the current and forecasted premium volumes. For key functional areas such as underwriting, claims, and billing, carriers often miss the opportunity to reduce costs and improve productivity through proven methods.
Right Approach – The first step in improving operations is to gauge its current level of effectiveness. This should be done using a set of standards and criteria that is based on industry best practices. Management needs to assess its operations and assign an objective “rating” for productivity and process maturity. Such a benchmarking approach is invaluable to an executive team trying to achieve success, which starts with a determination of how they measure up. In addition to a best practice comparison, there needs to be an overview of potential solutions that will resolve gaps within the current process and a picture of which resources are focused on the appropriate tasks.
There should also be an analysis of the current process as compared with the competition, while taking into account integrity/quality, the workflow, and budgetary constraints. This can be achieved by reducing the manual “back and forth” processes, by adopting proven operational methods and by engaging the right people such as underwriters and producers in more value-add activities. The findings should be examined in an objective manner using sound tools and techniques from a proven methodology to guide the decision makers towards good decisions. Effective and efficient policy workflow redesign and improved processing automation will deliver benefits to all involved stakeholders.
Insurance724’s Operational Maturity Assessment Service
Insurance724 will play an advisory role on a regular basis, which will be spread across several weeks if appropriate. Here are some of the key deliverables we provide:
- Quick assessment of current process and goals for an operational area of your choice, along with guidance to avoid common mistakes before making changes
- Diagnostic analysis and a “rating” of effectiveness for the targeted operational area, including a benchmark report
- Best practices list for that operational area, provided from our industry knowledge/experience
- High level analysis of your internal systems and architecture for up to three key processes, which will serve as a baseline for developing a “to-be” improved process
You will find our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
We’ll teach you to fish. A little process goes a long way towards an efficient operation. Cut down your dependency on a few key managers and expensive consultants. We’ll train and empower your team with cutting edge Project Management and Testing Practices.
Problem Statement – More often than not a project fails or underperforms due to unrealistic goals, insufficient preparation, lack of identified procedures, or poor execution. Misdirection can occur at any time if proper project management is not present to oversee each stage of the project development, especially within the purview of Information Technology.
Most organizations lack the necessary resources to develop processes and templates themselves, and the individual expected to take on the role of Project Manager may have varying degrees of knowledge and experience in Project Management and Quality Assurance.
The Right Approach – A sound project management approach should first spell out the baseline requirements like quality acceptance, timeframe, management protocols, and vision definition, followed by a clear outline identifying possible approaches from which the best practice can be chosen. Each planned milestone, as set in the initial stage of project management, should be explicitly compared with the progress of actual delivery. Upon completion of project development, a stringent QA process should be imposed with no compromise. A project can only be considered successful if the above criteria are met within an organization’s resource constraints.
Your staff should possess these basic project management skills and they should be armed with a practical set of tools and templates. Every team member, regardless of his or her role, needs to understand your standard testing and quality assurance process, allowing for timely correction of issues and disconnects.
Insurance724’s Training and Process Implementation for PM/QA
Insurance724 provides a short-term service, at an affordable price, to provide training, mentorship, and tools for small to medium-sized organizations including:
- Training provided to designated staff members to equip them with necessary skills to adequately improve their area of the organization:
- Basic Project Management – Skills to spearhead an initiative or an assignment within a project, as well as an overview on using automated PM support tools such as Microsoft Project.
- Basic Testing & Quality Assurance Skills – Using procedural rigor and templates to reduce frequency and severity of bugs found in your production environment
- A set of procedures and templates to support the organization’s tasks associated with taking your project management, process improvement, and quality control to a new level
- Sample Project Work Plan, Project Team Plan and Status Reporting Process catered to your organization’s specific needs
- Process implementation procedures tailored to the organization’s need based on
- The proven Six Sigma approach (DMAIC Procedures) and templates developed over time by Insurance724 Ltd
- The set of concepts that are industry-accepted and/or referenced by the Project Management Institute’s Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)
Our resources are technology savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
For every day a project doesn’t get completed, you’ll lose money and will miss out on the benefits of “Live”. We’ll bolster your project management (PM) and ensure success on time and on budget.
Problem Statement – Investors, board of directors, and executives of insurance companies need to know with certainty that project and/or development dollars are well invested and they need to be further assured that risk is both understood and minimized. Project shortfalls—whether cost overruns, deliverable delays or other problems—compromise corporate success, diminish company value and decrease investor confidence.
The cumulative effects of poor PM are visible across four cross-sections of the organization:
Right Approach – Executives should adopt a “point-in-time” assessment approach to their ongoing projects that identifies the risks associated with a client’s project. Project areas that need to be regularly assessed include project management, project team skill sets, resource allocation, technical infrastructure, data integrity policies, training plans and change management plans.
The project management function must independently and objectively identify and report the status of project components. It is also necessary to validate risks of project issues, including gaps in plan vs. performance, and staffing and skill requirement mismatches. Finally, the manager must audit all these issues – budget change management, scope creep, compliance, etc. – to ensure success of the organization’s business initiative.
Insurance724 Project Assurance Offering
Insurance724 can develop and execute suitable “best practices” for you and serve either as an independent and objective reviewer or as an integrated member of your internal team. We can help you to:
- Identify potential project pitfalls and create mitigation strategies at each step of the way
- Track and monitor key project metrics (i.e., budgets, resources, team skills, technology platform, infrastructure, business constraints) and develop a mitigation strategy
- Identify best practices for integrating system improvements, and integrate them into your project by mentoring your full-time PM
- Identify and resolve communication and integration breakdowns before implementation
- Develop checkpoints to monitor and measure potential risks versus goals of a project, thus allowing management to make educated and strategic decisions
The offering will also serve as on the job training for participating team members from your organization – by interaction and observation they will learn best practices and will begin to adopt them for their own.
You will find our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
We’ll relieve the pressure from your SOX. Our swat-team approach facilitates the development and documentation of IT processes to help your IS department achieve SOX 404 compliance.
Problem Statement – The SOX Act now requires all qualifying SEC-registered organizations to document, evaluate, monitor and report on internal control over financial reporting as well as disclosure controls and procedures. Section 404 of the SOX Act specifically mandates organizations to report on IT controls. Any SEC registered company with a market capitalization in excess of 75 million USD is required by law to be SOX compliant. In most insurance companies, the existing IT processes that are due for audit have not been documented in the past and as such may fail the audit. Also there are several IT processes that need to be developed and documented in addition to the existing processes. A typical insurance organization is resource constrained; most of its IT staff is fully allocated to different projects and even the few who are available may not posses the comprehensive knowledge required to initiate and facilitate SOX 404 compliance by the mandatory deadline, which for some companies may be as early as November 15, 2004.
Right Approach – The management should escalate all issues surrounding the SOX compliance to the highest level of priority and specifically assess those gaps and deficiencies in the SOX 404 requirements that will be necessary to pass the audit. Insurance724 strongly recommends that you adopt a “swat” team approach where 2-3 individuals are assigned to address the missing documentation, process revision, process development, process documentation organizational awareness and training.
Some of the key measures of a successful SOX compliance initiative are:
- Analyze deficiencies in existing IT processes and addresses those deficiencies for SOX 404 compliance
- Identify and successfully implement any new IT processes to support the financial reporting requirements for SOX 404
- Increase awareness by the IS, Finance and management staff through process development review, revision and training
Insurance724 Sarbanes Oxley Support & Training
Insurance724 can provide a short-term service to facilitate the development and documentation. This includes the four areas of “IT Control Environment”, “Computer Operations”, “Access to Programs / Data” and “Program Development / Program Change”.
Within each of these lifecycle phases, we would identify the risks, controls and control activities by following the control framework defined by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). This would involve documenting the following five areas: “Control Environment,” “Risk Assessment,” “Control Activities,” “Information and Communication” and “Monitoring.” These five areas would serve as subsections for each of four “master” documents.
In the “Control Environment” area that we might refer to separate IT strategy documents (existing or ones to be created). Further, the “Control Activities” and “Information and Communication” areas might lead us to documenting specific IT processes and procedures.
For each of the master documents (which would correspond to the four COBIT areas), we would follow a project plan similar to that proposed by ITGI in its “IT Control Objectives for Sarbanes-Oxley” document:
- Plan and Scope
- Perform Risk Assessment
- Identify Significant Controls
- Document Control Design
- Evaluate Control Design
- Evaluate Control Effectiveness
- Identify and Remediate Deficiencies
- Document Process and Results
- Build Sustainability
These documents and activities would:
- Identify SOX 404 requirements surrounding the financial reporting process and confirm understanding with process owner(s) and senior management.
- Assess the current IT process state – or IT processes – that supports the organization’s financial reporting requirements
- Identify current processes that need improvement/adjustments to be SOX 404 compliant
- Identify missing procedures that need to be instituted to achieve SOX 404 compliance
- Organize and facilitate “swat” teams comprising 2-3 individuals and allocate them to address specific missing requirements
- Develop and Facilitate the implementation of new processes
- Document all IT processes that support financial reporting requirements
- Supplement the “on the job training” done during the documentation process with formalized final ‘to-be’ process reviews
This service is reasonably priced and can be accomplished within 2-3 weeks. You’ll find that our team members are insurance savvy, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.
Your initiative is more than just “getting a new website.” Our recipe for “web excellence” guarantees that your projects fulfill the needs of all stakeholders.
Problem Statement – Companies undergoing a website redesign typically encounter the following problems:
- Inadequate Management of Web Vendor – The end result is often not what the client expected/envisioned, or the total cost ends up being more then what is fair. Usually, the web design firm says they have project management expertise when in fact they don’t. Web management skills are entirely different from that of a web architect, web designer or web programmer. Proper web management provides a roadmap for website releases planned out over the course of a few years, not just “a new website.”
- Lack of Web Process Definition – It’s very common to find that the approach taken by a web design firm is not based 100% on a business process, which it should be. (Someone coming to your website is a business process in itself, and is probably more complex than you think. Consider the diversity of reasons that people come to your website, the multitude of user expectations, and your ability to help them feel “satisfied.”) Often web designers overlook business requirements and a longer-term strategy, causing a lack of feature prioritization and proper scope definition. This can lead to run-on web projects, wasted IT investment, and/or a negative-to-low return on investment.
- Inadequate Assessment of the Web Designer or Firm – There is usually no game plan in place for the correct mix of resources at the right prices, which are needed for a very diverse set of requirements including business/process, navigation, usability, visual design, technical design, programming, testing, implementation, communication, documentation, content administration, and support. Also, there are usually integration considerations, database issues, and enterprise system design factors to resolve within the first three releases on the website roadmap.
- Lack of Methodology and Vendor Pricing Model – It is common to hear of companies who replaced their current website without giving the proper attention to all the external needs and internal priorities. The expertise needed should be centered on project management for the purpose of achieving “web excellence,” however most companies don’t have the time or ability to effectively evaluate proposals and prices being offered by web design firms. The lack of a fact-based and proven approach puts the client in a poor position for negotiating favorable pricing and for managing web vendor contracts objectively.
The Right Approach – The value of a website-redesign initiative is contained in the process analysis and the synergies that can be identified between the various stakeholders of the website. A company should employ a sensible methodology for managing its web initiatives, or should consider employing the services of someone who has the right expertise for web strategy and management. The management arm should be completely objective and independent from the designers and developers. This ensures that you get the best results and the best value possible, which also provides the management control you deserve.
Insurance724 will play an advisory role on a regular basis, which can be spread across several weeks if appropriate. Here are some of the key deliverables we provide:
- Evaluate web designers and development proposals to provide detailed action steps and recommendations for proceeding.
- Guide the client sponsor or project team to avoid common mistakes before engaging a web design firm or to mitigate the risk after an SOW has been signed.
- Guide the development of a requirements process for each of the dimensions of website redesign including process/business, functional, visual, technical, and enterprise integration planning.
- Provide a checklist of considerations to guide the requirements phase.
- Establish a weekly management control process between the web firm and the client personnel. This is crucial to the success of the project as it will arm you with:
- What questions need to be asked of the vendor?
- How to develop milestones in the project to track project risks.
- How to identify project risks – time, cost and scope considerations.
- How to develop methods to mitigate project risks and improve results.
- Guide project participants and facilitate a team process to achieve a group of satisfied stakeholders, both internally and externally.
You’ll find our resources to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and armed with our proven “field methodology”. We are very adaptable to your needs.