Case study: Leading the drafting, adoption and implementation of a new suite of insurance agreements
Adam Gates, Head of Odgers Connect, speaks to independent consultant Nick Rhodes about his recent assignment for one of the UK’s leading personal lines managing general agents, drafting and leading the adoption and implementation project for a new suite of insurance agreements
The client, one of the UK’s leading personal lines managing general agents (MGA), was in the process of being acquired. The sale of the company demanded great time and resource of the staff and decision makers to not only oversee the sale process but also to carry out a major restructuring programme in preparation for the acquisition, and to lay the groundwork for the organisation going forward. Within this large-scale transformation process, one of the key strands of work required was to put in place a suite of new contracts with distribution partners. The client wanted to use this period of change to revise the contracts and provide a robust contractual basis for its future stability and growth. Simultaneously, and to add further complication, the MGA had another challenge in managing the negotiation, finalisation and roll-out of an agreement with a new capacity provider.
With such a barrage of changes to oversee and a stretched workforce, the company turned to Odgers Connect for an independent consultant to lead the programme of work to put in place the set of new operational contracts and ensure their implementation with their distribution partners. The project required a consultant with the necessary change and transformation management skills as well as knowledge of the insurance sector and legal expertise. To fulfil these needs, the client appointed Nick Rhodes, an independent consultant who initially practiced as a solicitor before his career in the financial services sector, and who now consults on and leads projects for the insurance industry.
The project focused on a suite of three insurance agreements: The Binding Authority Agreement, the Introducer Agreement and the Claims Management Agreement. The MGA saw the new Agreements as an opportunity to follow industry “best practice”, reposition the basis and tone of the relationship with distribution partners and to make the contracting processes more efficient in time, cost and scalability.
The initial scope and objectives of work were determined in what Nick called the ‘discovery phase’. At this starting point of the assignment, Nick met with the team, formed relationships with internal stakeholders and external lawyers and read the necessary documents to get an understanding of the work to be carried out. Nick did however encounter some difficulties in the initial phase. Remote working slowed down this preliminary process as he wasn’t inside the office getting to know people, asking questions as and when they came up, and had reduced access to the internal systems and documents.
Despite a slower start to the project, Nick was able to develop relationships both internally and externally. Building rapport with the people involved allowed him to get to the crux of the matter, knowing the expectations of all involved and where to focus on in the development of the Agreements. From there, Nick could then start to review the documents, ask questions and make suggestions to push the Agreements forward to be finalised by the client.
In tandem, Nick planned the roll-out of the Agreements. This required him to understand the dependencies, and how they related to the other on-going changes in the organisation, as well as understand the stakeholders and their priorities and time frames. A key part of this piece of work was internal education and communication. In order to successfully embed the change, Nick worked with the relevant Heads of Function and very closely with the project Sponsor in the creation of the Agreements and all aspects of the roll-out plan. Throughout the assignment, Nick and the team were in close contact with regular communication to maintain engagement from all involved and everyone informed of the project’s progress.
The Agreements are now complete, and the client is ready to begin their phased implementation. This will see the trialling and testing of the Agreements with a small, select group of partners. The learning from this exercise will then help shape a full and effective roll-out to the rest of the distribution partner population as well as internally. Successful delivery of the project will enable the organisation to establish a new and stronger relationship with its partners, streamline processes to reduce the time taken to carry out the underwriting and re-contracting and provide the organization with a solid and modern platform on which to do business and achieve its growth ambitions.
For more information please contact Adam Gates.