By: Howard John, CEO, Brolink
We are living in a time when examples of purpose, kindness, and a sense of community abound. This provides inspiration to all of us and emphasises the power of the human psyche. All around us we witness an unyielding desire to go beyond survival and to thrive. I have seen this not only in the company that I am part of, but also among all the stakeholders and business partners we engage with daily.
The essence, I believe, lies squarely in the fact that I am surrounded by people who share the qualities of clarity, decisiveness, courage, passion, humility and compassion. In such times, these are the qualities that are needed more than ever.
At Brolink, we experienced an almost immediate mind-shift by our teams when Covid-19 struck. Whether you carried the title of manager, team leader or administration consultant we saw every employee play a leadership role. The teams had a single-minded purpose, and that was not to let policyholders down.
The across-the-board change to work from home in response to Covid-19 was a fundamental shift for everyone. There was not a lot of time to ponder and look for perfection in the process immediately. Many scrambled to adapt to the real complexities of the change that was required, and in the process, we were able to unearth a plethora of out-of-the- box thinking from all levels within the organisation. Within two weeks we had 90% of our staff operating at full capacity from their homes.
What we learnt was so refreshing and really reinforced the paradigm we had been chasing for many years. That is: Our people have the answers. We just need to provide the opportunity for them to share. We learnt (and still are learning) that collaboration, flexibility, inclusion, and accountability are the primary ingredients of a successful outcome. Yes, this probably sounds familiar to all of us; these are things we all have been chasing for years. It’s just been accelerated, and with great effect, which has allowed us at Brolink to put into practice these values in the challenging time of Covid-19.
Office life was generally well defined at Brolink. We had people from different departments, all defending their territory and getting on with the daily business. We all knew the mind set had to change during this pandemic and this happened when we decided to operate with a defined mission and a sense of urgency. We mandated that everyone moved quickly to solve problems, relying on expertise rather than rank.
Managers also promoted a flatter decision-making structure in their teams. By adopting this culture during crisis mode we were able to make better decisions because we moved faster and were more flexible. Incidentally, we were working on a more nimble decision-making process in the months before the pandemic struck. Its arrival actually helped us to speed up the process. Many routine decisions that used to go up the chain of command are now being decided much lower in the hierarchy, to good effect.
Since March we have successfully launched two new products, we have supported our insurance partners in premium discounts to insureds on our book. We have continued to work on strategic IT projects and have welcomed the approval from our board on a project to rewrite our Websure platform to fully align with digitisation going forward. This will give our brokers a system that is 100% future fit.
The future is still uncertain, but one must remain optimistic. At Brolink we always strive to serve policyholders and put them in the same position as they were prior to a loss. We will live by our values while still observing all the protocols to flatten the curve.
We will play our part to bring us to a new normal of doing business in the insurance technology and administration environment.