Programme Management Assurance and Executive Support Services
London Market Dynamics Journals:
Last updated May 2015.

Please see below the current thinking around project management and its application in the modern world of the London Insurance Market.  These are non-attributable thoughts and are provided for discussion purposes only and are not based on any current or past projects.  Please feel free to comment on this information or anything else on our website by logging into the Chat page of the website or contacting D This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Solvency II and Regulators in the run up to 2016: D.Noakes: First published in May 2015 and protected by Copyright 2015.
It is an exciting time in the Solvency II world !  Lloyd's managing agents have submitted their first Interim reports in April and Insurance Companies in the UK and Europe have to submit theirs by July the 1st or slightly later if they are a Group.  They have worked closely with their IT providers to produce the returns in the required XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) format and have drafted their Narrative reports (the pre-curser to the SFCR - Solvency and Financial Condition Report). The syndicates and firms who are submitting thier returns are now expecting feedback in advance of January1 2015 when the Solvency II regime becomes law. For many, this is the culmination of many years work and if executed properly, will provide the foundations for a robust and useful operating model.  The key to all of this is buy in from Executive Management to build these tools into the day to day runnng of their businesses and to maintain good relations with their regulators.

Project Management: Common mistakes when setting up a new project: D. Noakes: First published in November 2013 and protected by Copyright 2013.

The XYZ Insurance Company Ltd (“XYZ”) identified the need to upgrade their Financial Reporting capability and decided to set up a project team to address the problem. Here is what happened. Click on the link under each section for the right way to do it !

Mistake #1 “Project Initiation”  – The Board of XYZ agreed a budget for the Finance Transformation project and asked Alan Jones, a senior accountant, to present a project plan at the next Board meeting in 2 weeks time.
There is a better way …..
The Board of XYZ agreed to commence problem definition and requirements gathering in order to determine project scope, resourcing and timelines.  The Board asked Alan Jones to report back within 2 weeks and include a proposal for a project manager whose skill set(s) match the project requirements.

Mistake #2 “Project Sponsor” – Alan suggested to the Board that because the project was around Finance Transformation, the project could be led by one of the Financial Controllers, Anne Smith who would benefit from some aspects of the project.  Anne reports to the Finance Manager who in turn reports to the Finance Director on the main Board.
There is a better way …..
The Board should appoint the Finance Director as the Project Sponsor because he is at a higher level in the organisation and needs to own the project from start to finish and will be personally vested in its complete success, not just part of it.  The Board should also remain actively involved and should be provided with regular updates.

Mistake #3 “Project Manager”- Alan spoke to the UK Sales Manager, Tim Hunt, who he spoke to by chance at the coffee machine who said he was available for the next few weeks and could fulfill the role of project manager.
There is a better way …..
Alan is aware of the general skill sets required of a project manager and having looked at project scope, is now aware of the specific skills that are required for this project.  Alan reviewed potential internal candidates but concluded that it was better to call London Market Dynamics to discuss more suitable candidates !

Mistake #4 “Communication and Buy-In” – Alan helped the project manager set up the project structure complete with workstreams and deadlines ready and in advance of the first Steering Committee meeting.
There is a better way …..
Once the project manager has correct sponsorship and agreement from the Board to proceed, he should meet with those that are likely to be affected by the changes planned and determine who can be involved at a project level.  Roles and responsibilities can then be agreed and more formal communication arranged for the project sponsor to deliver. This would include high level timelines, key personal involved, business case, benefits and changes that are expected.

If all of these steps are executed in the proper fashion, there is a good chance the project will have solid foundations and be successful.

Dane Noakes: © 2013