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London Insurance: Taking a different approach to change

In boardrooms across the London market, management teams are making strategic decisions they hope will bring fundamental change to their organisations. Achieving meaningful change presents many challenges yet, despite prevailing beliefs to the contrary, gaining technological benefits need not be complex, time-consuming or expensive.

When embarking on transformation projects, business leaders often gravitate to accepted norms and what are perceived to be robust and established processes. While entirely logical, many processes in the London market, for example, procurement, have over time become increasingly cumbersome and labour intensive. Approaches to governance and controls have similarly become rigid and overengineered, which not only heightens the potential for delay and cost overrun but can stifle innovation and entrepreneurialism. Where implementation delays occur, scope creep can set in as management time and attention is absorbed by other urgent priorities. Organisational resistance to change can be a further hurdle, often due to staff daunted by the fear of failure or uncertainty about what radical change will mean for their position. The market’s chequered history in successfully implementing change initiatives can also be a factor in organisational hesitance.

These challenges continue to fuel a negative view among many in the market that major change projects are difficult, costly and unlikely to succeed. Increasingly, however, entrepreneurial management teams are seeing change occur in their businesses far more quickly after abandoning laborious and expensive traditional processes. This simplified approach involves adopting a collaborative and iterative ‘agile’ governance process over the traditional linear and sequential ‘waterfall’ approach. Practically, this initially involves collaborative discussions with potential partner companies, which continue throughout the project. Involving constructive challenges, a thorough examination of the issues and working as a team to define the ideal solution, these discussions help to establish a shared and attainable vision.

Selecting the right partners is pivotal and challenging them to build a ‘slice’, i.e. a working demonstration of the end product, is key to that, having first demonstrated a solution is fit for purpose and can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively. Any partner tasked with making significant changes should also have the depth and breadth of industry knowledge required to bridge the gap between corporate and departmental requirements. Ideal partners will additionally be able to navigate the myriad world of Insurtech platforms and technology solutions, with proven experience in selecting modern, flexible and adaptable tools ideally suited for the organisation and the change required.

While this is quite a departure from typical approaches found in the London Market, a growing number of companies are finding this simplified method to be much faster and far more cost-effective. With reduced project lifecycles and costs, this has further allowed new requirements to be added to fine-tune the solution, keeping it current and progressive. When teams are instilled with a sense of purpose and entrepreneurialism and are encouraged to ‘fail fast’ and try new things, organisational resistance can fall away very quickly. This can create organisational excitement about the future while harnessing considerable technological advances made in recent years. Taking this approach is enabling businesses to embed robust, cost-effective solutions quickly and is set to play an increasingly important role in achieving the transformation Lloyd’s seeks as part of its ambition to be the centre for specialist re/insurance globally.


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