Risk Engineering Notebook

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A global insurance company approached our teams to develop a toolset for risk engineers to increase the efficiency of risk assessment work documentation.

Objectives

The client saw the potential of mobile technology in terms of providing an easy to use and accessible hub for on-site visit note taking and intergrations for multiple back-end systems.

The main challenges were to improve:

  • Ease of navigation
  • The convenience of finding needed materials
  • Interconnected data through a graphical interface for better usability

Process

The team started with desk research evaluating the current toolset of the risk engineers. The toolset included macros-enabled spreadsheets for calculating the risk assessments for construction, water supply, fire protection, and alarm systems. The process has also included multiple backend systems for data exchange. The insights helped to understand the context and define effective questions to the risk engineers.

Existing risk assessment toolset

The next step was meeting with eighteen risk engineers to gather requirements. The high-level requirements and pain points were summarized into a process flow.

The observed As-Is approach was summarized –

  • The pain points were categorized and described
  • The business impact was calculated for each pain point
  • A brief recommendation was provided for dealing with each item

Also, the possibilities of mobile technology to mitigate those pain points were demonstrated by our team’s prototype. As it appeared, one of the peculiarities in the risk assessment process was the asynchronicity of the actions performed by different risk engineers. The first prototype incorporated an asynchronous way of working, where one could start with the notes, while the other risk engineer with the document reading or presentation draft.

First user interface prototype iteration as catalyst for ideation

“A Day in the Life of a Field Consultant

A shadowing activity was applied for the onsite field visit planning, conducting, and concluding process to validate the assumed pain points. As well as the prototype’s capability to mitigate the pain points.

Risk assessment on-site visit

This was followed by the insights categorized into the desired journey to inform the ideation process. It turned out that there is a potential to dramatically optimize the time and effort of risk assessments by reducing the off-site evaluation process. It was also clear, that there were issues when it came to the initial prototype’s onboarding in a way that would naturally fit into risk engineer’s life who were used to pen, paper, and mobile phone camera.

Risk Engineer journey during onsite risk assessment visits

Several opportunities were highlighted, namely –

  • Issue reporting while on-site to dramatically reduce writing time incl. access resources from relevant backed systems;
  • Major restructuring of the closing conference to deliver most critical reports to both the underwriters and the customers while still on-site e.g. preconfigured presentations
  • Enhancing information accuracy by conducting the risk grading process in collaboration with the customer so that customer can fact-check reports while still on-site
  • Automated travel planning. An easier way to set up each customer visit, coordinate with the customers n the area. Multi-trip planning
  • Front-end upload programs to enter report information into the backend system.

The next iterations simplified the prototype to naturally incorporate into the risk engineer’s life. It still supported the asynchrony of the work, however this time the approach was reduced to the split-screen paradigm that was naturally understood by the risk engineers.

Risk Assessment tool storyboard
User interface of a risk assessment tool

Result

The feedback from the risk engineering field staff was approving in regards to process optimization and great reduction of time and effort to deliver risk assessments. The customers have expressed their sense of improved collaboration as they worked with the risk engineers through their risk management cycle. They’ve also mentioned a better delivery of the loss prevention strategies.

This tool has been later scaled to other staff processes as well, including claims handling.