The life insurance industry is undergoing a major renovation. ClearView’s Gerard Kerr shares insights from his experience with business and kitchen transformations.
Nothing gives me more joy than seeing my family hanging out in the kitchen.
My wife and I spent four months renovating our kitchen. It was inconvenient, expensive and exhausting but necessary. We had outgrown the old one.
The result is a modern, functional open plan kitchen that has transformed the way we cook, entertain and live.
Right now, the life insurance industry is in the middle of a renovation.
It is overhauling the way products are designed, priced and distributed.
ClearView is also changing its life insurance systems and processes.
The aim our multi-year transformation program is to ensure that our products are fit-for-purpose and we remain easy to do business with by being simpler, clearer, faster and fairer.
But it’s not just the life insurance industry undergoing major changes.
Many advisers are also restructuring their business, refining their strategy and refreshing their pricing to prepare for the future.
Consequently, many are experiencing the same emotions I felt during my kitchen renovation; frustration, stress and anxiety but also excitement.
While change is essential for personal and professional growth, it’s often uncomfortable because it stretches you.
Having led and participated in a number of business transformations in my career, my advice is to embrace change because where you’re heading is much better than where you are.
From a corporate perspective, transformation benefits include improved efficiencies, higher customer satisfaction and a solid platform for growth.
On a personal level, it presents opportunities to learn, collaborate and try something different.
Here are three insights from my experience.
1. Things will get harder before they get better
During our kitchen renovation, the house was dusty, I kept tripping over things and the gifted tradies in our home made me feel insecure about my office hands.
I started to look at our old kitchen through rose-tinted glasses. (Rose-tinted glasses often come out at the start of a change journey.)
Once you’ve made the call to start and metaphorically rip out the first appliance, your patience, abilities and resolve will be tested. In many ways the unknown begins.
On top of your day job, other time-consuming activities include briefing consultants, hiring additional help, liaising with vendors, updating stakeholders, testing systems, managing budgets and delays, and communicating changes to customers and business partners.
The disruption on resources can’t be underestimated.
Like a physical renovation, businesses in the midst of transformation can look and feel like a mess.
But this feeling is temporary. It is part of the process and, on the other side, the changes will deliver tangible, long-term benefits.
2. Focus on the customer
For my kitchen renovation, my family was my main customer.
While at times I felt frustrated with the process, I kept my family’s happiness in mind.
Similarly, the life insurance industry must increasingly have a more customer centric approach to the design and distribution of products. For a highly intermediated industry, this is a significant and positive shift.
At ClearView, we recognise that we have two important customers: advisers and their clients.
We don’t believe the answer to the age-old question; who is the customer? requires an either / or response.
Our philosophy is that customers and advisers are both important. Advisers are the lifeblood of our business and extremely valuable business partners, however, we must simultaneously lift the bar in terms of customer experience. By better serving our customers, we are supporting the advice relationship.
3. Don’t expect perfection
Less than a month after our kitchen was completed, I realised that a couple of cupboards opened the wrong way and we needed extra power points.
If I could go back, there are a few things I’d do differently but overall my new kitchen is infinitely better than the old one.
With any business transformation, expect to make some mistakes (they are still some of our best learnings). No matter how carefully you plan, there are things that can’t be anticipated until you’re living and working in the new environment.
That’s why ClearView’s transformation program is a journey. From phase-to-phase, there will be enhancements, additional functionality and new people with fresh ideas to help us achieve our goals.
Change is good and necessary. It is also unavoidable. Organisations that don’t change eventually get left behind.
At ClearView, we’re making big changes. We are investing in our people, processes and technology as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. As we change and strive to embody the principles of, simpler, clearer, faster and fairer, we will be in a stronger position to better support our staff, customers and advice partners into the future.
General Manager, Life Insurance