AML, GLB, SOX, ORSA…what the alphabet soup? If you are in a Compliance role in Financial Services you recognize these abbreviations to be something more – legislation related to Financial Services businesses including Insurance. Selling insurance, likely one of the most regulated industries in the U.S., has seen an ever increasing maze of regulations as a result of changing market conditions, the economic meltdown and a desire by our legislators to improve the transparency of Financial Services companies for consumers. Ultimately Congress wants to make sure Insurers do not end up in a position where the risks they’ve taken on leave them unable to fulfill their obligations to their consumers.
If you work in Insurance, you know that keeping up with the dizzying array of legislation, along with the pressures of meeting business demands, gets even more challenging every year. So what’s the best way to manage your Producer Compliance program? Where do you start? Following are five steps you can take to improve your Compliance in the New Year.
- Get a system. Really, get a system. By this I don’t mean hardware and software, I mean a method or set of rules that govern how you manage Producer Compliance. This as an investment that can cost little more than time but reaps big dividends. What I am suggesting can be simple – for example, devoting a specific time daily or weekly, dedicating a notebook to just this task and keeping the time as sacrosanct so that you have attention to the task, routinely. Over time, your behavior becomes habit and you’ll discover even more ways to become streamlined and systematic leading to further savings and better risk mitigation.
- Standardize as much as possible. May sound obvious and simple but this can be an overlooked arrow in your quiver. The obvious place to look for standards is industry forums where you can learn about and gain access to best practices for processes and forms. Take it a step further and volunteer with a professional association and you’ll gain from your interaction with colleagues in similar capacities from other companies. Be curious, inquisitive and open. Soak it all in.
- Get a plan. Work your plan. Be your plan. I’m reminded of the quote from Chevy Chase in the movie Caddyshack, talking to his Caddy, “I'm going to give you a little advice. There's a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” In business, the best way to get in touch with that force and to let things happen is to develop a plan, then work your plan and be your plan. Give it careful, rigorous thought and challenge your assumptions, thinking and perspectives. With Producer Compliance, this is thinking not only about where you are but where you want to be in the near term and the longer term. Try to include as many S.M.A.R.T. goals as possible. Then put the plan away and work the plan. Be the plan. Review it periodically – at least annually, and modify where necessary to accommodate changing business, regulatory or organization changes.
- Automate. So you’ve ticked off the easy things, now to move up the scale in difficulty, but the returns are likely commensurate with the investment in time and money. If your company isn’t taking advantage of automation, then you’ve may have some work ahead of you. Depending on how big a step you want to take. Data collection. Analogs. Business Case development and presentations. I recommend securing an executive sponsor. At a minimum, you need to have technical help. Make sure you have good rapport with your local IT Manager then invite him/her for a coffee and explain your workflow. Listen to the input and work up a plan or proposal for the business. Be patient but persistent. Automation can lead to gains in efficiency and improve the quality of your output and increase worker satisfaction leading to improved retention of key resources.
- Get a real system. Admittedly a bit self-serving here, but I advocate on behalf of all providers here…but since you’re in my house, so to say…Outline Systems is a group of Insurance Experts developing Expert Insurance systems. Our team of developers, architects and leaders has all worked in insurance for many years and on average at least five years. You gain the advantage of having someone else invest in trial and error (uh, we don’t keep the errors, but we do learn from them) affording you speed to market and a stable, proven, solid solutions. We use and leverage industry standards. We volunteer with industry associations so that we can stay ahead of the curve on emerging trends and changes. In short, it’s our business to keep ahead of the market.
Each year, solutions are more accessible and this year, Outline Systems has an easy, affordable way for you to gain all of the benefits of a system with little to no involvement from you IT staff. You know that cloud thingy everyone’s talking about? Got it! ProducerOne in the cloud. Call us. We’ll create a username and get you up and running in no time. All in the comfort of your office. You may not even have to call IT because it’s all web based. And, don’t worry about your data. We encrypt your data and interactions and adhere to data security standards.
Ultimately improving your Producer Compliance is manageable and you can yield gains by following a few simple steps. So good luck on your journey and call us if we can be of assistance. Thank you.