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How can Lean Six Sigma be used in the service industry? More specifically, how can it be used in the accidental claims approval department with a general insurance company?

Process improvement can definitely apply here. We’ve seen Insurance companies such as Trustmark Insurance and National Insurance companies make significant strides to improve their processes. Even though not every claim will be approved, process improvement can insure that the process of making a decision is streamlined and timely.

  1. Are customers waiting a long time to find out if something is covered? If so, process improvement can help reduce variation and eliminate unnecessary steps or waiting in the process.
  2. How much information is really needed from customers? One organization had a 18 page document that they reduced to only 1 page!
  3. How often do we have to go back to the customer to get more information because we don’t have the right information? Some insurance companies have admitted that sometimes they have to go back to the customer between 5-8 times to get the right information and their goal was to reduce this back and forth and streamline the process.

Hopefully these examples will help you see opportunities within your own department. 

Tracy O'Rourke

Tracy is a Managing Partner at, the co-author of The Problem-Solver’s Toolkit and co-host of the Just-in-Time Cafe. She is also a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Instructor at UC San Diego and teaches in San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise Program. For almost 20 years, she has helped leading organizations like Washington State, Charles Schwab and GE build problem-solving muscles.