The rapid and unexpected worldwide spread of COVID-19 is continuing to affect the strategic, commercial, operational and leadership challenges associated with the insurance industry.
As areas such as risk, regulation, relationships, and finance present their own challenges, there needs to be a wider consideration of business continuity and response during this crisis.
Referring to Deloitte’s recently published ‘Understanding the sector impact of COVID-19’ as well as drawing on our experience in learning and development in insurance, we have identified three key areas for businesses to focus on in the coming weeks. These are:
- Ensuring the safety and protection of staff members
- Reviewing internal operations and processes
- Preparing adequate strategies and responses going forward.
Ensuring the safety of your people
While it may appear to be obvious, the absolute priority for any insurance business at this time is to ensure that their employees are able to work in a safe environment in order to best serve their clients.
While the majority of insurance businesses will be well-prepared for this crisis, the importance of creating effective communication networks and making alternative working arrangements must not be undermined when looking to ensure business continuity.
While this may seem simple enough for businesses in other sectors, cybersecurity and regulation both play a significant role in the insurance sector, meaning that new protocols may have to be introduced in order to permit the exchange of confidential data to employees outside of a registered office.
Reviewing internal operations
To better understand how best to proceed when alternative working arrangements are in place, those at the top of the hierarchy have a responsibility to review how processes are set to be affected if they are going to be ready to respond accordingly.
Key questions to consider when carrying out an internal review in light of a crisis include:
- Which parts of the business or processes are most exposed and at risk to this crisis?
- Is our brand risk exposure going to increase as a result of the disruption?
Whether it is general business interruption, event cancellations, trade credit insurance or even travel claims, there needs to be a direct action and policy in place, which in turn needs to be communicated to employees, to react and mitigate the consequences of this pandemic.
Prepare an adequate strategy and response
Once the workforce is prepared to carry out their roles in whatever capacity and plans are in place to proceed with any customer queries and claims that may come in, communicating this officially and directly to both stakeholders and regulators is critical.
While this entire process is easier said than done (considerations such as staff shortages and immediate cash flow issues must be made), the business must be able to respond accordingly to the challenges that COVID-19 will bring.
Neal Baumann at Deloitte also notes that actively engaging with regulators and insurance markets is key to maintaining confidence across the board.
MDA Training’s Digital Solutions for Insurers
While we specialise in delivering in-house training solutions for insurers by utilising experiential learning methods like business simulations, we are currently developing our digital solutions to support businesses in light of this pandemic.
Moving away from the asynchronous and one-way form of digital learning, our solutions are designed to enhance communication networks between remote workers. They are delivered using a range of methods including:
- Virtual learning.
For more information on our digital learning solutions for insurance, please click here.
While businesses in pretty much every industry are having to deal with widespread change, the actions that are taken now will help to define how the business fares when the pandemic has settled.
Especially for insurers, who will likely see a surge in consumer activity combined with a disruption to continuity, putting the right plans in order can yield significant benefits in the long run.