The NSW Self Insurance Corporation (SICorp) is an agency created by an Act of Parliament (NSW Self Insurance Corporation Act 2004 and Public Finance and Audit Act 1983). SICorp’s role is to manage Government’s self insured assets and liabilities.
SICorp utilises an outsourcing model where services to Government agencies and the public are delivered through private sector service providers. This means that SICorp is a small office of around 40 full-time equivalent staff. SICorp is the central coordination point for its service providers, setting policy and monitoring performance.
This case study describes a series of improvements implemented by SICorp to consolidate and streamline its information management processes to add value and improve organisational performance.
The prior situation
SICorp manages a large amount of data for insurance claims and payments relating to Workers Compensation, Motor Vehicle, Property and Public Liability. This claim data includes private information such as client health and rehabilitation outcomes as well as commercially sensitive information such as financial liabilities and operational performance. but these data sets were held and processed by various units within SICorp and with different outsourced insurance service providers. The systems and processes in place did not ensure standardisation across the various places these data sets were collected and managed, and this impacted SICorp’s ability to monitor the effectiveness of service delivery and accurately project the State’s liability under the Treasury Managed Fund. This also affected its ability to report to its member agencies.
SICorp instituted a total realignment of information management responsibilities, processes and technology to take control of rapidly growing information and data assets. Because of SICorp’s extensive outsourcing arrangements, these requirements had to be fully incorporated in SICorp’s contracts. The contracts needed to specify appropriate responsibilities which worked within insurance industry best-practice processes and which could work seamlessly across the technology platforms of SICorp and outsourced providers in the insurance industry.
SICorp also needed to realign its own information architecture to ensure technologies and processes were capable of managing these arrangements. Furthermore, SICorp needed to define and establish its own internal controls to prevent the emergence of parallel/unofficial processes and isolated repositories of data.
SICorp’s business model is based around having a small, agile staff and contracting for specialist expertise as required. This approach informs their implementation of information management improvements. SICorp has developed a strong understanding of information management across the organisation, and a specialist manager on the permanent staff.
For particular tasks, such as development of data quality requirements and specification of information management contractual arrangements, SICorp brings in external expertise. Certain ongoing governance processes are also outsourced, which ensures the independence of the monitoring and allows the focus of the permanent staff to remain on the strategic view for information management.
SICorp has made these improvements over a period of time. . The key component to driving this was the commitment to management of data and information within the organisation, which provided the basis for achieving improvements in external information management processes.
Strategic, long term view of information
Reliable, accurate data is critical to SICorp’s objective of reducing the cost of meeting the state’s insurance needs. Data needs to be accurate for current purposes, but high quality, well managed data over time is also important because the assets and liabilities are very long-term in nature.
With the consistent processes for specification, collection and management of data in one place, a long term view is much easier to establish.
SICorp achieved consolidation and harmonisation of a number of information and data reporting processes, and are able to manage data about claims and patient outcomes from a data warehouse which provides a single source of truth.
While SICorp’s strategic role provides insurance coverage to government as a whole, on an operation level it provides these services to member agencies. Establishing consistent processes for data quality and management is the only way to aggregate data from service providers and then make it available to multiple government customers.
This provides a clear expectation for outsourced providers and allows SICorp to accurately manage and forecast the schemes’ liabilities and provide authoritative reporting data to Work Cover and member agencies.
Maturity of information governance
Governance processes established in tandem with reporting processes allow SICorp to identify emerging information management issues and respond to them before they affect operational effectiveness, and also provide a mechanism to monitor and manage the performance of outsourced providers. Because there is a clearer definition of obligations on outsourced providers, SICorp is better able to manage the transition between providers when contractual terms end or government reorganisation requires that member agency responsibilities are redistributed among providers.
These information management capabilities are recognised as a key for the organisation to achieve its aim of providing the State with effective and cost-saving self insurance.
SICorp arranges its information management function in such a way that improvement opportunities can be identified. Because SICorp’s outsourced arrangements are put out for tender periodically, there are regular opportunities to incorporate improvements in information management and governance processes.
Published February 2015