How Lean Process Mapping Can Benefit Insurance Organizations

Have you ever wondered whether there was a more efficient way of doing something within your business? If so, you would likely benefit from Lean process mapping.

Lean process mapping is a Lean management tool that involves breaking a process into step-by-step instructions and creating a flowchart to identify areas where work can be streamlined or eliminated. It enables businesses to boost quality, efficiency, and communication; ultimately improving customer experience.

What are the benefits of Lean process mapping?

By taking the time to visualize your processes, whether on paper or a spreadsheet, you’ll be able to answer critical questions like, “Are key steps being overlooked?” and “Where is time being wasted?” Even if your processes seem rock-solid, process mapping can help you gain the clarity to determine whether they are truly optimized or could benefit from reengineering. In our experience conducting process mapping sessions with clients, a seemingly simple process can often be much more complicated than it appears!

When executed correctly, process mapping can help your organization ensure that:

  • Leaders and team members have the same visibility of processes
  • Users process consistently, which promotes quality and ongoing process improvement
  • Standardization is well documented, which provides team members clear training
  • Employee engagement and competency remains high

Where can Lean process mapping be applied in insurance?

Process mapping can be applied almost anywhere in the insurance operations lifecycle, such as prospecting, submissions, quoting, binding, and policy issuance. Processes with low variance, are repetitive, and involve multiple team members are ideal candidates for review. However, some examples we’ve partnered with our clients on include claims, accounting, licensing and appointments, and employee benefits.

How can you get started with Lean process mapping?

Before you start process mapping, it’s important that you first develop an understanding of all the divisions within your organization and take an inventory of the processes/activities they perform. For each process, consider what roles are involved, who the owners are, and create an inventory of other factors, such as frequency, volumes, complexity, and service level agreements. This allows you to prioritize the processes you want to invest in the for the most immediate impact.

With those steps complete, you can proceed to choose the process you wish to map, define the scope, and determine the key stakeholders involved in the process (these team members should be included in the session). Your key objectives for the process mapping session will be to 1. Map the current state workflow 2. Identify and size-up improvement opportunities 3. Prioritize improvement opportunities, 4. Develop an improvement project plan, and 5. Create metrics to validate your progress. Your full agenda should look something like this:

  1. Help stakeholders understand Lean process mapping and define objectives for the session
  2. Create a list of current process pain points and key performance indicators
  3. Map your current process using swim lane maps and validate all key steps
  4. Use Lean principles to identify opportunities for improvement
  5. Create a matrix of the opportunities, analyzing feasibility and impact
  6. Prioritize the opportunities with the highest impact and lowest effort
  7. Develop your improvement project plan
  8. Develop a validation process to evaluate impact on improvements
  9. Celebrate wins and create a sustainability plan for continuous improvement

Keep in mind that process mapping is a long, often challenging endeavor, and a single session can last anywhere from a few hours to multiple days. Embarking on this journey is a huge investment, but there can be significant benefits.

Get help with process mapping

If you’ve never conducted a process mapping session before, it can be a daunting task. To ensure you get the most out of process mapping, it’s best to work with an experienced business partner. ReSource Pro’s insurance operations and Lean management experts can guide you through the process so you can create a future state plan to improve your resource utilization and reduce costs. Visit our Lean Process Mapping page to find out more.