Overview Considering SAFe and Finding Cprime This organization is a large, publicly-traded Property & Casualty…
Partnering for Success—Fostering A New Way of Working at a Global Insurance Provider
Headquartered in London and Newark, NJ, with subsidiaries and offices in over 40 countries in the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Europe, the client, a top international insurance provider, has offered consumer and commercial insurance products in the UK for over 170 years. The company has operated in the US since 1875.
With an estimated customer base of over 29 million people, the insurance provider is on the Forbes list of the Top 20 Insurers Worldwide and ranks among the top three largest international insurers by asset value. They are also the largest insurance provider in the US with estimated assets of $1.46 trillion under management in their civilian and military portfolios. First listed on the LSE in 1978, the company currently trades on four stock exchanges and reported an annual revenue of nearly $60 billion in 2020.
Recognizing the Need for Full-Scale Organizational Change
As part of its ongoing efforts to gain a greater portion of the rapidly expanding online B2C insurance market, the insurance company acquired a disruptive, direct-to-consumer sales platform. Its goal was to transform the insurance buying experience for individuals seeking personalized health and financial wellness solutions.
“After the acquisition, the insurer’s whole business model had to change. Everything had to go—the way they worked, the way they planned for work, their workflows, and the way they organized their workflows into teams,” explains Eyal Abukasis, Cprime Sales Director for the Central Region. “They were essentially a new organization and they needed somebody to help them establish a new way of working.”
Given the scope of changes to come and impact on the organization as a whole, the insurer engaged a top global management consulting firm—trusted, high-level advisors and counselors to many of the world’s most influential businesses and institutions—to complete an assessment and guide its transformation.
“They needed to port an understanding of agile practices and how everything works together from the senior leaders down. Recognizing Cprime’s expertise across the enterprise, they asked to partner with us to support the overall transformation with program and team level coaching.”
— Brian Segel, Cprime Managing Director
From the Top Down—Putting Agile Theory into Practice
The management consultants performed extensive agile health checks and assessed the insurer’s strategic goals and business processes. Ultimately, they recommended implementing their in-house agile processes and New Way of Working (NWoW) to improve efficiency. The consultants submitted a proposal to provide the insurer with high-level management and strategic support for its agile adoption which relied upon working with Cprime as their trusted partner on the ground to make it happen.
Cprime’s long-established relationship with the insurer played a key factor in its selection for the partnership. “We have been working with the company since 2015,” says Abukasis. “Our knowledge and experience of the insurer’s culture and previous successes with its teams in addition to our deep understanding of the management consultancy’s goals and processes helped us hit the ground running.”
With the consulting firm working with the insurance company’s senior leadership to foster a top-down understanding of agile practices, Cprime was the implementation arm to forward its strategy. “Our expertise across the enterprise supported the overall agile transformation with program level and team level coaching,” says Brian Segel, Managing Director at Cprime.
Staying flexible and adapting to evolving needs
For the Cprime team, adaptability was critical to ensuring the success of the insurance provider’s agile adoption. “The initial agreement was to support the team transformations with learning and development,” says Chris Thiele, Cprime Delivery Manager and the insurer’s primary contact responsible for executing the implementation. “Our partners planned the transformation based upon the demand they saw, but, after getting in there, we both agreed we needed to adjust our strategy to meet real conditions.”
Those conditions involved organizational changes and shifts of focus—including a change in leadership at the agile transformation office itself and a significant restructuring of the insurer’s workforce. “We initially anticipated working predominantly in the CORE space, but the Chief Data Office (CDO) ended up being our actual focus. We adapted based upon the organization’s evolving needs,” Thiele says.
Shifting teams to meet real demand
Throughout the project, the Cprime team fluctuated in size to support the consultancy’s agile initiatives and meet the insurance provider’s needs. “Initially, we had two coaches in the academy, the main pillar of the agile transformation office. Those coaches developed the agile materials and training sessions for the roles, teams and coaches coming on board throughout the organization,” explains Thiele. “As the adoption gained momentum, we added a team of six coaches to work with the 34 teams the CDO needed to transition.”
Following Through to Ensure Success
Once the high-level strategic work was done, Cprime stayed with the insurance company to supplement and up-level their training materials and classes and sustain the agile adoption and training.
With the role of the consultants at an end, “We began working even more closely with the insurance provider’s teams to identify and fill in gaps and add additional value to their processes,” says Thiele. “To further support the transformation, Cprime also managed Atlassian licensing for 7,000 people within the organization,” adds Abukasis.
Despite the sweeping changes within the insurance organization, on the ground the transformation proceeded smoothly. “Ultimately we were hired to get the teams through the agile adoption, and we achieved that,” says Thiele.
“They were very eager to onboard the agile framework—our whole engagement has been overwhelmingly positive. Now we’re moving past the adoption into agile maturity. That’s the outcome that we’re driving in 2022,” Thiele concludes.Want to share with a colleague? Download the PDF
Featured Team Members
Sales Director for the Central Region
Eyal has over two decades of experience at companies like Blue Agility, IBM, Number Six Software, and ATS. He brings to his role an extensive background in software process improvement and technical practices, large-scale Agile and SAFe transformations, as well as ALM technology adoption. Eyal has been involved in dozens of projects in public and private industry verticals, including healthcare, insurance, and retail.
Brian is an experienced transformation leader with a demonstrated history of working in a variety of industries both commercial and federal. He is skilled in Agile/Lean practices and principles (including SAFe, Scrum, Kanban, etc.), Project Management, and Business Process Improvement. He has an MBA in Strategy and Finance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Chris is a dynamic product and portfolio leader with extensive experience in fast-paced technology environments and SAFe organizations. He has over 15 years of experience of coaching and bringing together the disciplines of traditional waterfall and innovative agile methodologies.