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Stephen has worked on insurance initiatives for Innovation since 2012; and since 2014, developing Innovation’s IFRS 17 delivery framework. Quite a leap from the car industry, where he started his career as an engineer 1991. 

A car might have 10,000 components and mind-blowing build complexity. Development of a product may take 3000 people up to 6 years and cost 3 billion USD. Revenue implications on sales of a product can be 10 billion USD a year during its production life.

A complex challenge to get right

In this environment, leaders put great emphasis on understanding outcomes of any initiative before committing time, money and people. The greatest successes happened when implications of ideas were fully thought through prior to capital commitment. Failures happened when ideas were pushed through without first understanding strategic implications, or when evidence of the implications was ignored.

The cause of success and failure has left its mark on me

Experience I gained in engineering design, business strategy and delivering multi-million-dollar programmes in the car industry engrained three principles:

  • We need to take care our deliverables will achieve our objective. Outcome is more important than just delivering something tangible such as a product, model, process, or system.
  • Subject-matter-experts are essential in design and delivery of change. However, management of change is always multi-dimensional, it usually takes a non-SME to extract clues and map the road to success.
  • More time spent contemplating implications of change prior to it becoming on a critical path always reduces overall cost and risk, and improves likelihood of success.

So, to insurance

I left the car industry in 2005 and undertook strategy, change and delivery projects in unrelated sectors. Common to each was that the experts involved generally knew their details, but were challenged in stitching together a desirable outcome.

In 2012 Innovation and Towers Watson asked me to review and propose improvements to a periodic valuation undertaken on behalf of a client. Within the first few days my mind boggled at my introduction to stochastic modelling and the complexity of assumption derivations. Then the model runs ... and they went on forever. However, like my previous assignments, I asked lots of dumb questions, prompting the actuaries to articulate the process and challenges. This provided us with a map of what we could change to deliver the desired outcome.

I simply empowered them to give me the information for me to imagine what was possible. Then using my own brand of expertise, we worked together to develop a delivery framework.

Simple really

If people are willing to be open, there is always a way to deliver the outcome. The rub is, all too often people don’t see the big picture, they focus on their part of a product, proposition, model, process or system. They need someone to help be a bridge to the rest of a business.

In 2013 I moved to Asia with Innovation and my most recent projects are detailed below. My recent focus has included corporate back-office change strategy for the coming IFRS changes in the insurance industry. I have been able to do this by serving chief actuaries and chief financial officers in delivering financial close, actuarial modelling capital management and accounting initiatives.

My insurance work in Asia includes:

  • Assessment and strategy for accounting policies
  • Close process transformation
  • Quality improvement of accounting and actuarial closes
  • Increased speed of accounting and actuarial closes
  • Capital management to improve shareholder value
  • Product realignment to reduce risk
  • Product realignment to change regulatory impact of reserving requirements
  • Investor relations strategy and communication
  • Customer centricity improvement
  • Reinsurance structuring strategy
  • Domestication/divestment/novation of contracts
  • Regulatory relationship approaches
  • Actuarial modelling approaches
  • Risk allocation / reduction
  • Turnaround of troubled initiatives
  • TOM development enforced by regulatory change

 

Fast Facts

Has an ability to draw together expert opinions together and develop them into strategies that deliver success

Has managed around 80 change projects and 6 large-scale programmes

Has designed and delivered business transformation and Target Operating Models (TOMs) in 13 organisations