Bryan’s Blog: Support functions and insurance companies: A lot in common?

Last blog I said it was good to be common and pointed you to my latest paper on building tribes with a common purpose. This blog I’m not so sure you will be happy to have something in common with insurance companies.

I used to work in the insurance industry. I was there at the Ides of March 2001 when HIH went into liquidation. The insurance industry was and remains a tough industry and has a lot more in common with support functions than you may realise.

The top five things corporate support functions and insurance companies have in common:

  1. You get complained about a lot.
  2. You are a “grudge purchase”.
  3. When you are needed, you are sometimes very difficult to deal with.
  4. When you save the day, you are a hero and you are given a lot of praise.
  5. You are soon forgotten.

What can you learn from the best insurance companies?

The top five tips for a corporate support function to take from the insurance industry:

  1. Have a brand that is likeable – think the smiling AAMII or the cute and funny meerkats. Maybe go talk to marketing and get some ideas on how to build your department’s brand.
  2. Add value through the buying process – think online home and contents valuation calculators. Make sure you take every opportunity to provide insight along the way.
  3. Make it as easy as possible for your internal client to deal with you – insurers have made getting something fixed on a minimum claim much simpler. When your client comes asking for help, help them with minimal obstacles.
  4. Advertise your success – insurers let us know they were voted best this or best that. Get your successes into the monthly newsletter.
  5. Build your tribe of advocates – insurers of large corporates invest in a tribe that can advocate for them. They are called insurance brokers. They do their very best to ensure they have a great relationship with their broker so they are given their best shot at winning or retaining the business. Who makes up your tribe of “brokers”?

Like insurance, you are selling something people don’t want but they actually need. It takes a range of approaches to maximise your impact.