09 Nov Insurance Compliance: Reducing Risk in a Post Covid Landscape
Your company’s compliance strategy needs to assess and mitigate risk while also addressing an ever-increasing slate of complex regulatory rules from competing governmental bodies.
Just like the uptick in regulation following the financial crisis of 2007, industry analysts expect new insurance compliance requirements from the pandemic to materialize heading into 2022.
What’s Driving Change?
While other industries seemed to struggle taking their operations remote and online, many insurance companies found themselves better positioned and more agile in the initial days and weeks of the pandemic.
The challenge now is to continue investing in technology that allows for secure virtual work while addressing potential compliance issues arising from the new hybrid work environment. In a recent survey, nearly 73% of employees expressed a desire to remain on flexible work options even post-pandemic.
If your company plans to continue to operate on a remote-first footing, you’ll need to consider strategic partnerships with established cloud providers who are well-versed in meeting current compliance standards and that are positioned to assist as you implement strategic IT upgrades over months rather than over years.
Compliance Strategy Changes
Even as digital security and compliance timelines accelerate, there is more pushback against downtime, disruption, and reduced employee productivity.
With remote work creating teams that operate nearly round the clock, it’s becoming more complex to perform necessary system upgrades at times where they won’t cause a loss of business hours or affect either employee or customer access.
As your security roadmaps are updated to reflect not only demand differences ushered in by remote-first work but also by potential staffing challenges, expect to see security remaining a concern of top-level executives driven by a more collaborative approach to meet compliance requirements using risk-based programs.
The Benefits of Risk-based Compliance Programs
For many organizations, a straightforward risk-based compliance program is the most feasible. Once your top compliance threats are identified, you can develop controls, procedures, and policies that address those risks to the company.
As the most critical risks are mitigated, you move on to lower risk exposures and work to eliminate those as well. By taking a top-down approach, you minimize the chances of being subjected to the most disruptive issues — the ones that will ultimately cost you not only in assessed fines but also in unwanted negative consequences like loss of public trust or diminished reputation.
Operationally, a risk-based approach indicates to regulators that you take compliance seriously while allowing for human and financial resources to be used wisely. Cloud based compliance solutions can help you meet rigorous standards while also providing economic benefits as well.
Incorporating Compliance into Business Planning
The insurance industry remains vulnerable to attack and increasingly C-suite level executives are feeling the pressure from an ever-changing cyber landscape while also struggling to recruit necessary employees to ensure data integrity is maintained.
Risk trends can leave you open to vulnerabilities or have you struggling to meet the day-to-day demands of increasingly complex compliance activities. As it becomes increasingly more difficult to attract necessary talent you may end up having to rely on a reactive posture rather than implementing a forward-looking approach.
Without planning and foresight, not only do you leave yourself open to attacks and breaches, but a lack of a proactive protocol can also slow business growth and leave you scrambling to establish improved processes with streamlined efficiencies.
Ideally, your compliance strategy should be an integral part of your overall business plan. Future success will depend on balancing your digital capabilities, your capital investments, and your talent acquisition to stay ahead of your competitors while addressing compliance requirements.
Incorporating Compliance into Workplace Training
Every employee at every level should be invested in compliance training and have a complete understanding of regulatory compliance relevant to their role in the organization. While compliance training in the workplace can often been seen as a challenge to implement, in the current environment, this training is essential to reduce risk, increase transparency, and ensure that all employees are fully aware of and up to date on controlling regulations and laws.
Workplace training is most effective when it is seen as a priority of leadership as well as conducted in a risk-based approach to make best use of available resources against the most likely threats or weaknesses.
As you assess risks from compliance driven topics, don’t forget to add health and safety concerns to your new workplace compliance training initiatives. In a post pandemic office environment, modifications will need to be made to balance productivity with the wellness of office-based staff.
The other benefit of a strong workplace compliance training culture is that positive onboarding experiences help employees meet productivity goals faster by providing fast, flexible, and innovative workplace solutions.
A strong compliance training program will not be static but rather should be able to be adapted in real time and in response to ongoing changes and challenges as they arise. The days of a printed corporate handbook are behind us. You want to make sure compliance training is analyzing and assessing outcomes so that controls, policies, and procedures can be modified to quickly address emerging or identified threats.
How to Start Compliance Improvement
As you look out into the future of operations for your organization, compliance demands should be at the forefront of your planning. To start compliance improvement, first acknowledge both the internal pressures from your existing corporate culture, leadership, and your stakeholders as well as the external pressures from regulators.
Taking the right approach, especially if you take advantage of a cloud based partnership to administer key parts of your compliance program, can mean increased risk mitigation and overall cost savings along with improved employee and customer satisfaction.
With the right programs and partners, you can remain competitive even as you weather talent acquisition challenges, new demands for hybrid work and remote first operations…and the constant threat of emerging risks to the insurance industry.