Avoiding Roadblocks: Creating Ideal Risk Management Dashboards

Frank Huang

Frank Huang, Head of Property and Casualty Actuarial Solutions

April 20th 2023

Originally published in PEO Insider (April 2023). Reproduced with permission of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations.

Key performance indicator dashboards instantly produce either awe or fear when brought up in conversation, and for good reason. They can be seen as straightforward, objective models that can do no wrong. Or, they can be seen as confusing, subjective, instruments rife with errors. While you have likely seen examples of many different types of dashboards (the good, the bad, and the ugly) it begs the question: what should a dashboard be in its most ideal form? More specifically, what is the most ideal dashboard for a PEO risk management professional?

There is no way in the span of this article to provide a complete blueprint for the most ideal risk management dashboard. I can, however, share three philosophies or bits of advice that will hopefully put you on the path towards profitable dashboarding.

Dashboards for Professional Growth

Dashboards are a bit like rock climbing in that they’re only useful if they fit your ability level. There’s little benefit to starting with a wall that requires far more technical and athletic ability than you’re able to produce. Instead, it may be easier to start off with easier walls for you to grow a foundation of climbing, practice certain concepts, and then gradually grow to more difficult walls.

Similarly, dashboards can allow you to grow yourself by tracking what you understand and pushing yourself to understand more. As your understanding of the risk space grows, you can introduce new metrics that build upon your existing knowledge. An invaluable goal is that your understanding will expand beyond the risk group and into the overall business such that you understand the role that risk plays in the operational and financial value of the firm.

Dashboards for Every Hat

As your worldview grows, so too will the conversations that you’ll have with colleagues above and below you. Since a CEO and a department head will value different metrics and goals, it is necessary to have dashboards that support your ability to excel in those different conversations. For example, knowing what your CEO cares about will allow you to tailor your dashboard to quantify how the risk group is contributing to those cases. Similarly, but in a different vein, understanding what your department head should be managing will allow you to tailor a dashboard to help them focus on the right areas.

Theoretically, there can even be relationships between the CEO dashboard and the department head dashboard, such that you can serve to bridge the gap between those levels, allowing the CEO visibility into the more task-oriented levels of the company and allowing department heads visibility into senior leadership concerns.

In addition to every hat, there may be dashboards tailored for specific purposes. A good example would be a client profitability dashboard that incorporates all revenue and cost aspects of a relationship over their entire tenure, such that it supports renewal discussions. It can also provide a point of comparison for prospective underwriting so that a firm understands how well or poorly they have fared in a particular industry or job class.

Build Upon What You Already Have

While all of the above may sound great, getting started may sound as pleasant as doing your own taxes. However, most risk professionals may be surprised at how many resources they have right under their nose without any additional cost.

For example, many brokers have dashboards already available to support client relationships. RMIS and payroll systems likewise may have dashboards and reporting features of which you are unaware. Spend time to inquire with those relationships to better understand what technology and dashboards are already included in your relationship at no additional cost. Dashboards can only measure and track as little or as much a risk professional desires to manage.

Peter Drucker’s famous quote still rings true, “what gets measured gets managed.” Start with what you have and understand, and then use dashboards to grow yourself and your business.

Learn more about our actuarial solutions by visiting https://davies-group.com/northamerica/solutions/insurance-services/actuarial-solutions.

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