By CYRIL TUOHY, managing editor of Risk & Insurance®.
Think small, risk managers, and don't believe the hype! For the promises of going big, going bold aren't worth believin'.
Risk managers and their insurance partners should take a go-slow, incrementalist approach to innovation. It will save your company money and time, and it will save you plenty of headaches. As any industry veteran will tell you, start with the baby steps and work your way up.
The best way to innovate is from within the existing product mix, relying on your current staff, working through your company's current structure and processes, step by step by step, piece by piece by piece.
Scour your claims history databases, analyze the nuances of your existing program, and canvas the needs of your company. Work closely with your insurance partners, risk managers, but don't get ahead of yourselves.
Who needs the latest product with that snazzy rider? Remember, you don't need the world reinvented. In fact, risk managers, you probably don't even need half the coverage companies are trying to sell you. But you already knew that, right?
Don't believe me? Consider this: Who wants a cell phone packed with great features if the signal gets dropped twice in one call?
In the end a product only needs to work, but it needs to work well, and to work well every time. Claims need to be paid swiftly and efficiently. Take good service over products loaded with whiz-bang gadgetry any day.
For insurers, consider your audience, the risk manager. Many risk managers working for established companies are in their 40s or 50s. They are responsible for large premium volumes, and for protecting expensive assets.
Many don't believe what they hear, even at second pass. They've been around the block. They've had their claims denied once or twice. They've been left "holding the bag" after carriers exited a market willingly or unwillingly.
This, then, is a call to proceed with any innovation in risk management using a steady hand. Maybe I'm the one who's getting old, jaded by marketing clichés, broken promises, mediocre performance, outlandish claims.
This issue, our annual Risk Innovator? issue, is filled with profiles and details of innovative strategies, products and services that have been implemented recently within the industry.
The bulk of the innovations are not cut out of whole cloth. Instead, they were cobbled together using tried-and-true techniques with the existing resources available in a corporation.
So remember, never go de novo.
September 15, 2011
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