Running an Effective Risk Management Workshop with Highmark

Quick Stats

Insurance Industry
4.9 million health plan members
34.4 million customers
20,000 employees

Applications Used

  • Risk Assessment
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Highmark Inc., based in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. As one of the largest health insurers in the nation, we serve 4.9 million health plan members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware. Nationally, we employ more than 20,000 people and provide health, dental, vision and supplemental health products and services to 34.4 million customers.

The Challenge

Highmark Inc. was looking for a risk management software system that would help its corporate risk department quickly learn about and document the biggest risks that the organization faces. Their team was looking for a system that would provide them with a high quality risk universe and scoring methodology that employees and stakeholders could easily understand and use to improve business decisions.

The Solution

Highmark selected Resolver Ballot to help them run their risk assessment workshops with great success. “As a $14 billion company with 20,000 employees and a number of subsidiaries, using Resolver Ballot in our workshops allowed us to learn about the entire organization and document our company’s biggest risks in 12 workshops over a two week period,” said Highmark’s Justin Schell.

Lessons Learned

Highmark noted that proper preparation for the workshop was vital to the team’s success. Before going into the session, the Highmark team built a risk register that included risks from all parts of the business and developed and refined their assessment scaled. They also ran test workshops internally with their own team and then with a few of the risk owners. This approach helped them calibrate the workshop process and timing and gave them a better understanding of what to expect from the risk assessment.

The Results

Improved Communication

Unlike a traditional survey or interview, where communication flows in one direction, a Ballot workshop facilitates the sharing of risks and responses laterally between departments. This inter-department awareness means that knowledge and experiences can be communicated to others as necessary, often pre-empting a risk exposure. In doing this, Highmark was able to learn collectively rather than have functional silos learn independently, a challenge for any large organization.

Smarter Decision-Making

The structure of the Ballot workshop allows the Highmark team to move through the assessment in a timely manner. Risk Owners are more engaged and participants are able to see that their opinions are captured and valued. The momentum created early on in the Ballot workshops carried into the risk response and planning sessions, enabling the overarching risk management process to flow smoothly. In addition, the success of the workshops validated the expertise of the risk management group within the organization.

Trend Analysis & Voter Anonymity

Understanding the context of anonymous votes can create some exciting and insightful conversations. The Stakeholder feature allows the group to see trends and understand how each business segment is voting without pointing a finger at an individual. This is extremely helpful when, for example, the IT department may have a more accurate picture of the likelihood of a technology risk occurring, while the business users may have a unique view on the impact that risk would have on corporate objectives.

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