ILO Logo

Making change happen

Emerging Insight #:


Date of Release:

  August 22, 2018


  Business viability, Business models


  The Facility

Tips from six providers who implemented a change process

To effectively serve the low-income and emerging market segments, insurance providers often need to go through a systematic change process to become more client-centric, more efficient, and more innovative. They may need to improve operations, enable staff, secure new partnerships, improve governance, or revise organizational structure. All of these components should be addressed as part of a change management strategy.

A new paper released by the ILO’s Impact Insurance Facility, with support from Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), outlines a six-step process that insurance providers can follow to make these changes:

A key step of the process is securing buy-in. In all six cases reviewed in the paper, securing buy-in with middle managers and operational staff was more difficult than with senior management. Providers found that staff do not participate in the process if they are fearful of the changes, distrust the process, or see no value in the changes. In order to be successful, staff members must believe they have a personal interest in the change management process.

At Britam, an insurer in Kenya, a lack of clarity about the value of change affected the process initially. Operational staff were busy with day-to-day tasks and did not see value in implementing change. Britam addressed this issue by breaking down the broader change management agenda into easily understandable and executable tasks. These were then aligned with the roles of individual staff and linked to staff member’s individual performance goals. This helped staff understand their contribution, and brought them recognition and reward when their tasks were successfully completed.

SUNU Assurances, an insurer in Ivory Coast, focused on communication. Each week the company sent out a reminder to all staff, showcasing how their jobs would be positively impacted in the future by their participation in the change management processes.  SUNU found that staff viewed the term “change” as synonymous with "termination", "replacement", and "substitution". SUNU addressed this by framing changes in a positive way, using words like "evolution" and "transformation". Time was allocated for staff to identify and discuss their concerns, as well as to helping staff learn to succeed in the new roles they needed to take on.

For more practical tips on how to manage such a change process, see Make change happen: Getting insurance providers ready to better serve low-income households