Chubb: Workplace Flexibility Initiative Boosts Employee Productivity

July 18, 2005

“Flexible work hours can be more than an employee perk. They also can be an effective tool to increase productivity,” said John D. Finnegan, chairman, president and CEO of The Chubb Corporation. At a press briefing today at the National Press Club, Finnegan shared the results of a workplace flexibility pilot program recently conducted by Chubb in collaboration with The BOLD Initiative.

“We are very pleased with the results of the workplace flexibility initiative at Chubb’s Western Claims Service Center in Phoenix,” said Finnegan. “Our pilot teams experienced significant increases in productivity. As a result, we are rolling out the program to all the employees at the service center and look forward to expanding the initiative to other Chubb facilities.”

Three teams involving 17 employees participated in the 90-day pilot program. Supported by representatives from BOLD, team members developed flexible workplace arrangements with the objective of meeting or exceeding business goals and baseline measures of performance to assess the pilot project.

The three teams exceeded or met their objectives. The casualty claims adjuster team exceeded its performance goals, with an 18 percent increase in the number of claim files handled and no degradation in quality. In addition, 7 percent more customer telephone calls were routed to claims representatives rather than to voicemail. The Operations Services Division team processed 4 percent more claim payments within 24 hours and closed 7 percent more claim files. The team also was able to take on additional functions, including issuing to insureds 740 payments, logging in 152 first-notice-of-loss faxes and providing call center telephone coverage for an additional 44 hours.

Overall, the initiative recorded a more than 50 percent reduction in unscheduled paid time off and a 40 percent decrease in overtime hours.

“The employees are truly the foundation of this pilot program, and as a result of their creativity and commitment, their teams were able to meet or exceed productivity goals,” said Henry Hoffer, senior vice president of Chubb & Son and manager of the Western Claims Service Center. “The pilot program also created a significant increase in employee engagement in the day-to-day workload demands. For example, team members identified work volume spikes and developed plans to manage the increased volume. There was clearly a stronger sense of commitment and a willingness to pitch in when needed. Participants learned that when they are in a flexible work arrangement, they may also need to be flexible to meet business demands.”

“The program offers Chubb a way to achieve a number of challenging business goals while helping our employees balance their work and family lives,” said Finnegan. “Ultimately, workplace flexibility will become a strategic tool in hiring and retaining employees.”

The BOLD Initiative (Business Opportunities for Leadership Diversity) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping organizations diversify their leadership and create work environments that maximize the contribution of a diverse workforce. Its Workplace Flexibility Effectiveness Demonstration Project is funded with a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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