Guide to Successfully Implementing a COI Management Tool | Jones

How to Nail Implementation for COI Management Software

7 Rules the Jones Implementation Team Wants You to Know


As proptech software takes over commercial real estate, so do stories of proptech projects that get abandoned midway through.

Why do technology tools fail? Oftentimes, they get doomed at the initial stage (the first 3-6 months). 

Timelines get extended, end-users boycott the system, frustrations grow – all because a few mistakes have been made at the very beginning when the technology tool was being set up. COI management software is no exception.

In this guide, we will outline what milestones to expect when you implement Jones—or any insurance compliance solution—and what rules to follow at every milestone to ensure success.

First things first. Compliance solutions might differ, but the implementation process is supposed to follow the best practices of project management. 

In this post, we will describe the process at Jones, but you can follow along and apply the rules we describe for any insurance compliance tool—or any software.

Here is one key thing we learned after implementing Jones at dozens of companies. Things can get off track pretty fast if certain mistakes are made. 

Here are 7 rules you should follow to make sure that your compliance software becomes a worthwhile investment:

✅ Rule 1:
Assign a dedicated person to manage the implementation process from your side.

Rule 2:
Define ONE clear goal and communicate it to the implementation manager. Hint – it can’t be “to save time”.

Rule 3:
Follow the data submission protocols. They are there to streamline data collection and onboarding.

Rule 4:
Be proactive in providing accurate documentation such as insurance requirements. Otherwise, they will hunt you for months.

Rule 5:
Consider a “phased” approach – for example, focus on tenants first and then move on to vendors.

Rule 6:
Introduce compliance-related OKRs and assign the enforcement squad.

Rule 7:
Explain the “why” and manage expectations for end-users, tenants, and/or vendors before the go-live.

 

Rule 1: Assign a dedicated person to manage the implementation process from your side.

Before the kickoff call, your company needs to agree on who is going to own the project on your end. This seems to be a self-explanatory rule, and yet, we see miscalculations being made all the time.

Here are some basic rules:

  • Your project manager should have access to all the necessary information, like insurance and lease requirements, or at least know how to obtain it fast. We’ve seen delays happening because the person who was initially the primary point of contact for us didn’t have sufficient knowledge or authority to get the project off the ground.
  • Your project manager should have enough time to spearhead the implementation process and keep it on track for 1-2 months. Most likely, some of their day-to-day tasks will have to be temporarily delegated to other folks or they will end up dropping the ball and the implementation will be delayed. No, they can’t lead the project implementation and do their old job full-time.
  • Finally, your project manager should be responsible for all internal communication about the software.

 


Rule 2:
Define ONE clear goal and communicate it to the implementation manager. Hint – it can’t be “to save time”.

Example of a great goal for implementing a compliance tool: “Get from 20% to at least 40% compliance rate across the portfolio in six months.”

What should the increase in compliance rate be based on? Well, that depends on the results of the initial COI review. More often than not, the overall compliance rate is way lower than you expect it to be. This is what happens when the insurance auditing experts put a magnifying glass to your compliance. 

What’s a healthy compliance rate to strive for? That depends on your policies and risk tolerance, but on average, we see that a 60-70% compliance rate is a healthy spot to be in. 

Example of a poorly defined goal:We’d like to save time with Jones.”

Time savings as the end goal is a horrible way to approach a compliance tool implementation. Here is why. Time savings is a by-product of the coordinated effort to improve the compliance management process. In the beginning, the focus should be on fixing the process, not accelerating bad habits. 

Here at Jones we clearly see that time spent on COI management directly correlates with the compliance rate. Real-time savings kick in and start accruing after the compliance rate gets to 60 percent.

In other words, it takes time to start saving time with Jones, and we know exactly when it happens – once the 60% compliance rate milestone is achieved.


Rule 3:
Follow the data submission protocols. They are there to streamline data collection and onboarding.

Some of our customers have ensured that their implementation process stayed on track by adopting a phased approach. First, they tackled tenants, which involved collecting and reviewing building requirements, leases, and tenant COIs. 

After nailing the tenant portion of compliance, they repeated the same process for vendors.

Does the phased approach make sense to your company? 

It depends on how many square feet you have, your asset type (office or industrial), and on your bandwidth. This is something you should discuss during the kickoff call with the implementation manager or right after that before you move on to the next phase and begin to collect and send over data.

Some of our customers ensured that their implementation process stayed on track by adopting a phased approach. First, they tackled tenants, which involved collecting and reviewing building requirements, leases, and tenant COIs. 


Rule 4:
Be proactive in providing accurate documentation such as insurance requirements, or they will hunt you for months.

When you submit data to your implementation manager, it is a huge data dump. For larger accounts, we are talking thousands of data points: leases for tenants, all the building requirements for vendors, the list goes on. With the volume of data that big, it’s unavoidable that inaccurate records sneak in.

The key here is to catch the errors before we start conducting reviews of COIs. If that happens, the audit results will obviously be inaccurate, non-compliant COIs will subject your building to risk, and the process to re-audit will take forever.

Here is what we do at Jones to avoid such situations. During our implementation process, we conduct a review of insurance requirements together with our clients so that we can catch mistakes. It is very important that our customers actually do pay attention and review all the documents we present to them.

Example of a “disciplined” customer: Reviews everything we present, marks up everything they are not sure about, and provides updates in writing.  

Example of a customer who is slacking off: Sits on the call, acknowledges receipt of the documents, never actually reviews them, fails to catch errors, is genuinely surprised that the audit results are inaccurate, and delays the launch date.


Rule 5:
Consider a “phased” approach – for example, focus on tenants first and then move on to vendors.

Some of our customers have ensured that their implementation process stayed on track by adopting a phased approach. First, they tackled tenants, which involved collecting and reviewing building requirements, leases, and tenant COIs. 

After nailing the tenant portion of compliance, they repeated the same process for vendors.

Does the phased approach make sense to your company? 

It depends on how many square feet you have, your asset type (office or industrial), and on your bandwidth. This is something you should discuss during the kickoff call with the implementation manager or right after that before you move on to the next phase and begin to collect and send over data.

Even the best compliance tool in the world can’t help you move the needle forward if tenants and vendors fail to submit COIs and to resolve gaps. This, in turn, requires commitment from property managers to work on engagement in their building. 


Rule 6:
Introduce compliance-related OKRs and assign the enforcement squad.

Here is what we recommend to our customers: 👏 Make 👏 Every 👏 Property 👏 Manager 👏 Responsible 👏 For 👏The 👏 Compliance 👏 Rate 👏 In 👏 Their 👏 Building. 

If you use OKRs (Objective & Key Results) system, assign every property manager an OKR to improve the compliance rate by X percent.

One caveat: If you are going to follow this advice, make sure you have a solid company policy around what gets waived and in what cases. Ideally, the right to waive a requirement should only be given to compliance managers in charge. 

Finally, we highly recommend assigning a “software squad” who will be responsible for enforcing the usage of the tool and making sure all of your end-users manage the compliance through the new software – no exceptions.


Rule 7:
Explain the “why” and manage expectations for end-users, tenants, and/or vendors preventatively.

Here is the top reason why best efforts to increase compliance, at times, fail. If your tenants don’t want to cooperate, you have no leverage. What are you going to do – evict them?

Here is what we at Jones see work: strategic communication with tenants which consists of two parts: 

Strategic communication: the “why” behind the effort.
Examples: “average compliance rate in the building is low, we would love to get it to at least 60 percent to protect everybody from liability.” Or – “We will make it easier for you to get your vendors approved to get into the building with the new compliance tool.”

Tactical communication: what to expect in the short term, what the emails from Jones (or your new compliance tool) would look like, and how often they will arrive.

Above, we’ve outlined the seven rules we recommend following during the implementation. We are at the finish line – your tool is up and running and (hopefully) collecting and auditing COIs. 

The fun part, however, is just about to start. There are lots of tips and tricks that amplify your ROI on any software, compliance tool no exception. We will continue publishing posts on the best practices and training for anybody who has to handle COIs and manage compliance for the buildings.


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