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A framework for measuring mutual value

A ground-breaking performance measurement approach, the Mutual Value Measurement (MVM) framework, is enabling cooperatives and mutuals to measure and report their total value for the first time. MVM has been co-developed by a research team from the Monash Business School (Melbourne, Australia), the Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals (BCCM) and 13 cooperatives and mutuals in Australia. Around 30 cooperatives and mutuals are already on the journey to adopt and use the framework to measure and report total value.

This webinar provides an opportunity to learn about MVM and hear about its use to measure and report total value. Melina Morrison, CEO of BCCM shares her perspectives on the MVM and the unique partnership with researchers and her members that enabled the development of the framework. Melina is joined by Dr Paul Thambar, Monash Business School and the lead researcher who describes the MVM framework and its application; and Lisa Williams, Finance Manager, CivicRisk Mutual, an ICMIF and BCCM member, who shares her experience in adopting and using the MVM framework.


  • Melina Morrison, CEO, Business Council of Cooperatives and Mutuals (Australia)
  • Dr Paul Thambar, Senior Lecturer, Department of Accounting, Monash Business School (Australia)
  • Lisa Williams, Finance Manager, CivicRisk Mutual (Australia)

Melina Morrison:

We are delighted to be here from a very rainy East Coast in Australia, where insurance is a huge issue, very topical issue. And we are very pleased that so many members of ICMIF around the world are joining or will watch this webinar. So as Ben said, I’m the CEO of the peak body for cooperatives and mutuals in Australia.

I’m just going to say a little bit about our organization and how we got started on this measurement journey. And then a little bit about how the peak body is managing the project in partnership with our research partners and our industry members. So firstly, a little bit about the BCCM.

So as I said, with the peak body, the first national cross sectoral body ever to form in Australia for all forms of cooperatives, mutuals and member-owned businesses.

So we do indeed have insurance mutuals and discretionary risk mutuals in membership. We also have indemnity pools and organizations that covered various types of risk, but we also represent the mutual bank’s credit unions, we represent motoring and mobility clubs and of course all of the areas in which cooperatives operate in the Australian economy. So we represent a very large sector, cooperatives and mutuals in all sectors including insurance have eight in 10 Australians in membership. So a very well used model in Australia for delivering the essential services and products to Australians.

Just a bit more about the Australian cooperative and mutual economy. We’ve called it the Ninja Economy and that’s really to represent the fact that we have a very omnipresence sector, but politicians, educators, policy makers and indeed Australians do not see the business model. This is ubiquitous as a challenge around the world. And one of the reasons that stimulated mutual value measurement as a research project with Monash University.

Invisibility of our business model as you all very well know leads to sometimes neglect or policy challenges just by the omission of the business model. We are facing some of those challenges for the inclusion of discretionary risk mutual products in government backed insurance pools at the moment. So we really do need to bring our business model to light.

Our mantra at the BCCM is that we should have in Australia a world leading business environment for cooperatives and mutuals for CMEs, cooperative and mutual enterprises as we’ve called them here. And we want that to reflect the best of Australian mutual business, including insurance mutuals. We want to draw on global best practice. Now this also means that we want to see cooperatives and mutuals here and indeed around the world have measurement methodologies and frameworks, which genuinely reflect their unique characteristics.

Mutual Value Measurement, which you’ll hear more about from Paul and Lisa is the world’s first measurement methodology we understand, we believe that’s genuinely been developed and evolved out of industry, the mutual industry for industry through a deeply embedded research exercise, which Paul will tell you about that involved two years of interviews within new different types of cooperatives and mutuals to arrive at a way of capturing the total value creation of mutuals under various dimensions.

What we are doing as an industry peak body to support the use and uptake of Mutual Value Measurement is to create tools and resources through our website, but we have also developed a community of practice. This is really about mutual peers learning from each other, mentoring and sharing best practice in a very supportive online community. And we have house meetings and share insights from the implementation of Mutual Value Measurement. One of our next exciting projects is to develop a prototype technology dashboard that will allow metrics to be visualized in ways, turn measurement into visual data so that people can understand the value creation that we are talking about.

These are some of the dimensions of areas that members are telling us Mutual Value Measurement is really helping them, not only to create a measurement framework to capture longitudinally, how they’re creating value under various dimensions, but it’s also really helping them with actually revisiting and discovering their strategic purpose. We’re hearing that member engagement and consumer engagement, depending on who your stakeholders are are a target audience for the measurement that we are capturing.

And of course ESG and sustainability frameworks are being helped by the bridge that’s created between Mutual Value Measurement as a framework and how cooperatives and mutuals are using those pillars of ESG to report back to regulators and different stakeholders. So just to finish now with the last slide, I’d just like to offer my congratulations to the first four cooperatives and mutuals in Australia who have received a mutual value mark and that is our accreditation mark that means that you have been assessed as an organization, your Mutual Value Measurement has been assessed as being fit for purpose, of high quality and standard and that the measurement framework has been applied in the intended way.

It’s not a benchmark of one mutual against another, it is a measurement of how well you have used Mutual Value Measurement. And you can see from the breadth of organizations on your screen that what we are hearing is that Mutual Value Measurement is highly adaptable and flexible. We have a fishing cooperative, producer cooperative there, we have a discretionary risk mutual, which is Lisa’s organization, we have another type of insurer and we have an education bond mutual. So these are all very different types of organizations. And we are just going to show you the mutual value mark, which any mutual cooperative anywhere in the world can apply for. And over to my colleague, Paul, thank you.

Paul Thambar:

Thank you, Melina and thank you, Ben for this opportunity to ICMIF to speak to insurance mutuals across the world. This is a very exciting project for the Monash Business School. We spent two years, a team of, as you can see there, my colleagues along with myself, we spent two years embedded in 13 organizations roughly spending about two weeks in each organization just asking three basic questions. What is your value or what is your mutual value? How do you create it? And how do you measure it at the moment? Three basic questions.

We spoke to something like 260 people across all levels of the organization. So we spoke to board members, to senior leaders, we spoke to middle managers and including frontline staff to get understanding of how a mutual or a cooperative created value, how they understood it and what measurement was being used to capture that. And coming out of that, we have this groundbreaking framework, the Mutual Value Measurement Framework, which I will talk about in more detail.

So the framework has a number of features. As Melina has already mentioned, it is the first framework developed for a cooperative or a mutual. It is a sector specific framework, very collaboratively designed. As I said, we worked with 13 organizations. And subsequent to that, we’ve been working with a whole range of organizations. I think the last count to around 30 organizations that are on this journey with us. It’s a very generic and adaptable framework. So it is a framework that can be used by any type of coop or mutual.

And that was one of the key requirements that we had when we started the project to be able to develop a framework that was generic and adaptable. It is a tested framework. Before we launched it, we tested the framework that we came up with with three of the 13 organizations. They road tested it for a few months just to make sure that what we had come up with was actually going to be very practical and workable. And there is a structured process for adoption and use, which we will talk about at length in the next few slides.

All right, probably should have had a drum roll at this point. And this is the framework, the Mutual Value Measurement Framework. The core component of the framework is what you see on the left-hand side, which is the six dimensions of value as we call it. So these are the areas or the dimensions through which a coop or a mutual creates value. Commerciality, which is basically talking about your economic performance and returns. Shaping markets, and I’m going to use that dimension in a slide that’s coming up to take you through a dimension in more detail.

This is about a coop or a mutual doing what it always does. Setting up a market or going into an existing market to shape it and to mold it, to make it fairer and more competitive. Member relationships, the clear focus on members and creating value for members. Community relationships, so this is looking beyond your member to the community within which you are embedded and looking at the value you create through broad partnership, et cetera. Number five is ecosystem and reciprocity. So this is going beyond your community to look at the ecosystem within which you are embedded.

So it could be partners, it could be other coops, mutuals that you are working or collaborating with, the whole range of different partners in that ecosystem where you are jointly creating value through the, what’s referred to as the network effects. And finally, the dimension number six is what we call mutual mindset. So this is essentially who you are as a coop or a mutual. This is your culture. This is the way you carry out your activities. This is how you make decisions. This is how you look at not just the short-term outcomes, but also more of the focus on the long-term.

So these are the six dimensions of value through which we understood a coop or a mutual creates value. Now you may not all be creating value equally through each of these dimensions and that’s fine. Depending on who you are and what market you are working in and what products and services you’re providing, you may have more value being created through a particular dimension than another. But broadly speaking, all coops and mutuals create value through these six dimensions. And these dimensions are linked to the mission and the objectives of the organization, the purpose that drives a coop or a mutual.

So once you have identified the place that each of these dimensions have in your value creation and you’ve got that balance going, then we ask you to think about three things. First, how do you create value? And that’s the column named value creation description. You think about how you are creating value, identify the activities that help you to create that value. Then we ask you to think about how you would go about measuring that value. Now the measurement is open. It is not limited to quantitative accounting type measurements. It includes more qualitative types of measurement.

So it could be testimonials, it could be case studies, all range of qualitative ways of measuring. Again, that was a requirement for the project. The BCCM and the coops who were involved in the study didn’t want to end up with a number, accounting number, which would defeat the whole purpose of understanding how mutuals really create value, which goes beyond existing quantified measurements. And finally, we also have a window to the future. We want you to think about how you could improve or enhance your measurement of value through developing new measures, which may not be currently available to you for a range of reasons.

You may not have the data, you may not have the systems and the processes that help you to do that measurement easily. So we just get you to think about that as part of your adoption of the framework. So it’s a very simple, generic, customizable framework. And as I have mentioned, right now we have something like 30 plus organizations in Australia, coops and mutuals of all different shapes and sizes and in different sectors working with this framework, looking to adopt it and to be able to measure value.

So as we designed the framework, we had certain principles that guided our development. We made it modular so it can be taken and customized and adapted, as I mentioned, to your local context and to the particular type of coop or mutual that you are. The framework provides a common set of dimensions and a shared language about measuring and reporting value. So you are working with a language that the first time allows you to talk about how you create value keeping in mind that measurement is not just about getting a metric, but it’s also about the communication, using those metrics, communicating the value that you are creating.

The framework provides results that are understandable and acceptable to a wide range of stakeholders. We have insurance mutuals for example using this framework and the information produced on value creation to talk to their regulators. And we know that insurance is a very regulated industry. We have insurance mutuals that are using the framework to talk to regulators to explain to them how they are carrying out their business. A framework that builds on existing measurement practices or whatever measures and measurement practices you currently have, you can migrate them to this framework, but we also then encourage you to experiment and develop new approaches.

There is hopefully a point in time that we will reach where there will be a sufficient number of coops and mutuals who are using the framework so we can start then looking at benchmarking where we can look at commonality across dimensions, across coops and mutuals to be able to develop our own internal benchmarking. But you may also find that there are tailored measures that you work with within your organization, with this framework that is relevant for you.

Point six is something that we are currently now working to enhance and that is developing the measurement capacity within coops and mutuals to work with the framework. So Melina mentioned the technology dashboard that is being developed, where we are now creating the technology platform working with another technology solutions company and with partners from the sector with BCCM to develop a template technology dashboard that can be made available for any coop or CME or mutual that is taking on the framework.

So very quickly to give you an example of how a dimension works. I picked shaping markets because along with mutual mindset, I think these two dimensions are particularly relevant and exemplify the role of a coop or a mutual in our business world. So shaping markets refers to the value of a coop or mutual’s existence in creating, maintaining or shaping sustainable and competitive markets for goods and services. Now that’s a mouthful, but if we want to break it down, this is about value of existence in markets.

So you are going to a market and you’re offering products and services that would not exist without your organization or you’re going in and disrupting existing markets to enhance it. Maybe you are providing an alternate business model to the traditional model that is dominant in that particular market segment or you may just be maintaining a presence in a market just to influence behavior to prevent price gouging, whatever.

So to think about this dimension, the question we suggest that you ask yourself is what is the value of your coop or mutual’s existence? Sometimes to answer that question, it may be easier to start with the counter factual. What would happen if you didn’t exist in that particular marketplace? So once you work through those questions, it becomes very clear that through your presence in a particular market, you are shaping it and you are creating value through that process. So once you have developed that understanding, then we ask you to think about, okay, what are you then doing to actually shape the market?

Are you providing new products and services that provide a better value proposition for customers? Are you providing an alternate business model that provides better value? So what are the activities that you actually do to shape the market? Then we ask you to think about, okay, how are you going to measure those activities? What type of measurements do you already have? They can be quantitative, they can be qualitative, that’s fine. Or is there a gap? Therefore you need to develop some new metrics and data to support that.

And that may then take you into that final column about thinking about your future metrics. What would you like to have? You may have some measures that you’re currently working with. It may not be perfect, but that’s adequate for the purpose at the moment, but you can then think about how can I enhance these measures through more experimentation and development? Thanks, Ben. Adopting the framework is a journey. We talk about the MVM journey, the Mutual Value Measurement journey.

You’ve got to have a plan. And it starts with, and we’ve seen this with all the organization and I’m sure Lisa may touch on this as well in her case study. The framework forces everyone to look at their purpose. And sometimes revisit the purpose and then refresh the strategy because you cannot measure things that you haven’t thought through and work through. I mean, it doesn’t make sense. So you really need to plan for adoption. What is your purpose? How is your strategy aligned?

And then think about the framework and the measurement. You certainly need capabilities for the use of the framework. There are skills maybe that you need to develop, maybe there are data and systems that you need to pull together. And that’s what we are seeing currently with the organizations that we are working with. Now to help this journey together with BCCM, we have developed a whole portfolio of support mechanisms that are available.

Simple things like when you first come across the framework, we have one leadership presentation that we would do to your leadership team or your board just to give you an overview of the framework. We run master classes that give you more detail of the framework and how to work with it. We have a community of practice. There’s a whole range of mechanisms that we have and we’d be happy to talk more about it in the Q and A. Thanks, Ben. All right, that’s it. That’s me done and over to you, Lisa.

Lisa Williams:

Thanks, Paul. Thank you for the opportunity to share our MVM journey. We are a bit of a case study in relation to implementing the MVM within our organization. So I’d just like to give you a little bit of background as to who we are and how our journey has gone in relation to implementing this quite unique framework. So we’re actually local councils in New South Wales, in Sydney or around Sydney, but all of New South Wales in Australia.

So we represent a small group of councils, but we do represent about 10% of the Australian population. So local councils in Australia are responsible for community assets in our major cities, in our towns and regions. And we look after all the sporting fields and the waste management, the community facilities, libraries, halls, aquatic centers and a whole range of different community-based assets and facilities.

We’re a little bit different to what you see in other regions of the world. And we have a three tiered government level of which we represent the local councils and the local government. In relation to what we cover, we really cover everything. So non-life insurance products or what we call discretionary protection and everything including excluding workers comp or what we call employee benefit or injury type insurance. So I’ve listed here. The main ones of course are the property assets and the motor vehicles and the liability side or casualties as known elsewhere in the world.

So where do we do business? I guess, as a mutual, the things that we really resonate with, although we are 24 councils, our members own and operate us. So we’re not making a profit for any other purpose, we simply exist to provide a solution to our member councils that provide them protection in relation to their risks. But we also share a lot of information. We’re completely open book and we just try to be better every day.

Our members really value that connectivity between each other because when we hear about a particular risk in one council or resources that are needed to manage something, that information can share between our councils really transparently and easily and it just makes our community safer really because our members actually work collaboratively together on the risk management side of their businesses.

So in terms of our MVM journey, why we decided to undertake this project was because we heard about the work Melina and Paul were doing and their organizations were doing and it resonated with us at a time that we were up revisiting our strategic plan. And we looked at this model and said, “Oh, this is actually a great way to start to try and articulate the value that we know exists within our mutual. We see it and we feel it and we breathe it and we know it’s there, but there wasn’t a really good way to capture and articulate that.”

We could talk about stories and we could talk about examples that where we’ve gone above and beyond or where we’ve been better every day or where we’ve been fully transparent. But we really liked the idea that this model was a way of a systematic approach to categorize, capture and report that intrinsic value that exists in our mutuals and cooperatives that doesn’t exist always the same way in a profit making business.

We wanted to be able to reiterate that value that we were creating and we wanted a way to capture it and be able to articulate that in… And that’s what appealed to us. So we went and had a look, we took this to our board and we said, “Hey, these guys have got a great idea and a great framework that’s being developed. We’d really like to run the process at the same time as doing our strategic planning. And we just thought it would add a lot of value.”

Our board actually was really supportive of that. They loved the idea. They thought it was really a worthwhile project. And we then received a bit of funding through the… Yeah, the board allocated some money and some time and said, “Okay, let’s do this as well.” So we engaged mature who were involved in the development of the framework. They actually came along and helped us, which actually we found really helpful because we run our business every day, we’re involved in it, we’re living and breathing it, but it was really helpful to have someone external come in and say, all right, what do you call shaping market? Or what do you call… Help us with the language, help us with the, interestingly, the allocation of all these examples we produced.

They were able to help us systematically put it into some of the different dimensions. And help us with the wording of that too in a way that said, so what you really mean is you go above and beyond and help members by creating value and helping them with their cash flow when they have a major loss. So we were able to put some additional wording around it to simplify it for somebody to understand easily.

So it probably took us a good part of a year to run the process alongside our strategic planning. And it really was a helpful thing to do alongside that because the two processes for us started to interact and interlink. And we found that things that we were articulating in the MVM and we were measuring started to influence what that strategic plan was saying and what actions we were going to take or what opportunities we saw to better help our members were developed in the process.

We actually created a Mutual Value Measurement plan and our members were in involved in that, not just from the point of view of surveys and questions, but at the day, we did a big strategic planning day. We’re chopped some of the Mutual Value Measures to see which ones members felt were most important to them or the ones that really resonated with them. So having their feedback and involvement was really helpful in developing the measures as we found them. We did have a lot of measures. So we came up with a real lots and lots of ideas.

And we have probably way too many of them to be perfectly honest now that we’re actually trying to measure them regularly. So we are in a process. We’ve refined some them and that will probably be an ongoing process. We also went there and we applied for the accreditation because we were pleased and had the opportunity to be part of this initial implementation. And that’s something that we are using and where we’re talking to potential new members, but also to our current members about how we have implemented. And they’re seeing the benefits of this particular framework.

A little bit about our measures. I guess, that was one of the things that we looked at in this first year and we said, “Okay, well, what are these things that we are creating for our members?” And I think commerciality was fairly easy to measure and we were able to… Because we are an organization that hands back the money to the members. So we keep enough money in our mutual to satisfy our regulators, not just the ones that we are regulated by, but the ones that produce a best practice for us in the industry as well for insurance companies.

We technically aren’t an insurance company because we’re a mutual that provides discretionary cover, but we actually choose to use the insurance regulator as a benchmark on how much money would they expect us to keep in the mutual. But we account for it in a really interesting way. We do it in a way that allows our members to see what share of those fund years that our members have been involved in, what their share of what’s left is.

Members actually get the opportunity to see what they’re keeping, which would’ve otherwise been put into the insurance market in profits made by insurers and it generates this narrative around well, there’s 95 million in Australia that we’ve kept within the communities and 25 million of that’s been paid back in cash, but the remainder is allocated to each of those councils to come back in time as funders close and we don’t need that money to stay within the mutual anymore.

That’s something that’s not common, but it’s a value that we create for our member because that money does actually attach to them and come back to them over a period of time. So that’s money that stayed within our community. So that’s a value just by a structure. And not all insurance mutuals are created the same way. That’s quite unique to us. As I go down the dimensions, I guess, there’s slightly different wording here in the way that we’ve reported this because it made more sense to our members, but it did fit into these different dimensions as listed by Paul earlier.

In relation to how do we prove that our members actually have control in this mutual? We look at our strategic forum. And 75% of our members attended that and decided on the strategic direction of the mutual. So there are things that proved that what we say is what we do, is what we deliver. And our member focus, I mean, we have a whole heap of examples that sit in our member relationships here. And we have, recently last year, but we are currently within a fairly significant weather event here in New South Wales and Queensland also, but all our members in New South Wales, many are impacted by a particular East Coast low that has been impacting us for the last week or so.

And we’re seeing a lot of flooding. So one of the things that we’ve found is really helpful to our members when they have a significant losses that we are in and able to help them early. Once everybody’s safe and the flood waters come back a little bit, we’re there to help them assess the damage really quickly. And we’re actually paying the money up front so that… In an irregular insurance company, you will wait until they’ve assessed the damage and then they’ll settle the claim sometimes down the track.

But for us, our members, they need help the grounds. They need relief from their cashflow to repair things quickly and make their community safe again. And so we actually have found that doing up front payments on these large claims really help the members from a cashflow point of view and just support them in that time. And so that’s an example that we are using and we’ve captured in this data by recording where we find, we go and do something a bit different. We also have a lot of information sharing between our members. So we had a lot of things in member relationships.

We are now capturing how many times we train people within the councils and how many times we go out and we visit the councils and do briefings with their executive team or train some people on how to save some money within their own council budgets by how to respond to people that make requests of councils for claim. And we had a whole lot of opportunities in that space that we are now capturing that were never really part of our commercial data because it was really about the interactions with the members and what kind and how that helped them in some way.

And the shaping markets was a really interesting one too. I guess, in the New South Wales, there is us from one other option for councils, generally speaking. So it was quite an easy one for us to go, “Well, we shape a market by simply existing.” Because if we weren’t there, there’d be a monopoly. So that was quite easy initially. And we really like the wording of shaping markets. It’s become one of those things that we talk about in a board meeting where we’re shape the market by or this shapes the market because. And that wording has been helpful in relation to talking about how we do business and where we add value.

There are a couple of examples I suppose I wanted to share with you in relation to how our measures go. We do have something like 100 of them and each time we look at how we’re communicating with our members and potential new members, we’re looking at how do we use the information that we’re capturing? So onto the next one. So the benefits we’ve felt and identified throughout this process is that it did provide us that structure to capture and articulate. And that was really helpful because I think we all know where we create. We live it when we’re inside and running a mutual.

We know where we go above and beyond, where we do something different, where we help the member because that’s our primary purpose, that’s our only purpose is to help our members. So where we do that, it’s been a really helpful way to capture that value. Gave us a bit of a framework. And as I mentioned, using the terminology’s been interesting. So we shape a market value, we’ve created commercial value for our members because, and that has been a useful structure to have also.

We were really pleased that our members were eager to participate in this process. And so they knew why we were doing this because they feel, particularly long term members and new members when they come in, they go, wow, okay, this is great. We love this experience with the mutual because you are available, you do have dedicated risk support. There’s someone on the end of the phone when I need them. You do help me find a solution when we’re not sure what to do.

You do help me when I need to create a policy on contractors. And I can just reach out to one of the other. We facilitate the interaction between the members on risk management, sharing and how members give each other their policies, their documentation, they just share really freely between each other. So it helped to reassure the members about where that value was created beyond the dollar. So in an expensive insurance market, as you were all aware, premium pricing has been increasing over the last few years. And we’ve seen the market capacity contract and we’ve seen lots of claims experience at that global level.

So that’s putting a lot of pressure on the premium. We buy catastrophe insurance, but we self-fund most of the working losses within our claims bracket. So however, the insurance cost is still significant within our budget. So it gave us the opportunity to say, “All right, well, in a time where there is pressure on the budget and premiums are increasing and therefore that’s impacting what we have to charge the members in contribution, this is where the evidence is for where the other value that you receive by being involved in this in the industry also experiencing the same increases.”

So we are not necessarily standalone in that regard, but it does provide some additional benefit. And the members feel when they’re talking to their other associated people within their councils about why they’re in this mutual, they’re able to articulate that value fairly easily to other people within their councils. So it just did have some really good benefits in that regard. And I think the link to strategic planning is something I’ve mentioned, but it certainly has influenced that on an ongoing basis.

So we had a recent… Well, a couple of years ago, we changed the structure of our organization. We had to be commercially a bit different to meet regulators requirements given we were growing and in order to have more members, we had to be slightly different structure, which meant that our members met and interacted differently. Previously, we had three smaller groups where they all got together regularly. And we’ve moved to one larger group, which meant that we had to really think about how do we keep the connectivity between the members? Is it not all able to sit around the table?

So capturing some of the data that we have has helped us modify and change and think about how we actually facilitate that connection between our members when they’re not sitting around the table. And we were able to even subset into different subgroups of the membership. Our finance committee for example interacts a bit differently to our risk management committee. So in terms of capturing how often they met and how many interactions went between them and how many times we communicated with them and how we did that is fine tuning on a regular basis because we are now having some data that we can use that helps us understand how our members are wanting to interact.

And we can ask them, but it’s also good to just see how many times do they log into our member portal? Or what’s the attendance rate at a finance committee meeting? So these are things that are helping us influence our way we deliver benefits and services to our members going forward. So just jumping to the next one. I guess, what are we going to do with it from here? So we’ve implemented or we’ve spent some time and energy and we’ve gone through the process and we’ve now got these measures and we are capturing and reporting on that going forward.

And we plan to use it. We have done and continue to plan to use it for our new counselors, our new board members. We refer to things in the board report. So sometimes not only do you have your strategic plan link, but you can have your Mutual Value Measurement link in when you have a particular report up for the board in terms of doing our member survey. Our next plans, I suppose, sit in two parts. They’re actually not just to refine, but also to potentially set targets where appropriate.

It’s not appropriate for everything, but in some regards, it might be. We’d like a 75% attendance rate in our meetings. So what do we do to facilitate that? And how can we measure it? Those things. We’re also finding that we need a way to efficiently capture the data. So currently we just recorded in spreadsheets from our different departments and then we measure against that. And it comes a lot of words and a lot of manual entry in that regard.

And we’re working with the four others that are in the pilot program that have been accredited to work with an IT provider that can help us actually capture or report that data. And it’s tailing with another project, we’ve now got on about how do we capture, not just the reporting information for MVM, but some of the key business things that we would like to be able to automate and capture on a more regular basis. So they’re the things we plan to do in the future.

If any members are interested in further examples of our measures or how we’ve gone about implementing stuff, I’d be more than happy to share any of that information with you. So through Melina or Ben or Paul, reach out for that because I think that’s more or less the end of mine. I haven’t got it flicking over to the last slide. I don’t think, Ben, but there we go maybe. So thank you for the time. Thank you. I hope that’s been helpful. And as I said, more than happy to help with any others that members might have. Thanks.

Ben Telfer:

Thank you very much, Lisa. It was great to hear your journey with MVM and also Paul and Melina for the developments and how the framework of the MVM actually works. We do have a bit of time for some questions.

As Lisa said, if there’s any questions that come through this recording or you’d like to follow-up, we’ll talk about that at the end of the webinar. A couple of questions that have come in already and Lisa, I’ll come to you first for this one. How important was it to involve your members in creating the plans and the measurements that you’ve implemented?

Lisa Williams:

Good question. And I think we are one of the mutuals that are quite lucky to be very connected to our members because we have at least four representatives from our councils on our boards and committees that we do actually have a lot of touch points. So for us, communicating and asking for feedback from our members was really easy and really quite practical to involve them in that process. What it did for us so and even if you aren’t in the same position and you can survey your members or you can get feedback in other ways, it just gave us reassurance that we were on the right track.

When we were capturing that and creating measures, we were able to, we think this is where we’re creating value for you. What do you think? And that feedback for our us was really beneficial because we were able to be reassured that some of the measures we believed to be significantly important for our members in terms of value were and others were, “Okay, so they really do value that being together and meeting and sharing knowledge.”

We thought that, but we got some really strong results in that regard in our involvement of developing those measures, that’s really shown out as that this is what members are really valuing. So that was really helpful. So yeah, as much as you can involve the members, I think that reassurance and not only that, but you learn things from them when you ask them even beyond what you think you know.

Ben Telfer:

Thank you, Lisa. It was interesting you touched on the member ownership there because there’s a question here that talks about any unique features of insurance, where as a mutual you have the owners of the company. Are there any unique features of insurance that you’ve observed in the different applications of the framework? Paul or Melina, I think I’ll come to either of you to comment on that one.

Paul Thambar:

Well, one of the founding principles of the framework is that it is adaptable, flexible framework. So from that perspective, I mean, you really can work with this framework and adapt it to your own requirements. There is no… I mean, we haven’t done any work as yet to look at how by sector organizations are adapting it and what are some of the issues and challenges. And that might be something that we will think about another phase of this ongoing journey that we are on with BCCM and sector.

I’m not sure whether I can be very specific on that, but we certainly just looking at the experience of Lisa and CivilRisk and some of the other insurers. What we are seeing is that there is a level of similarity in the way they are taking off the framework and they’re using things, but there’s also differences. So there are mutuals who are more, as I’ve already mentioned, there are insurance mutuals that are strictly regulated and they’re using the framework with regulators. Now we are not seeing necessarily CivicRisk doing that because they’re not regulated to the extent.

There are some difference in the way you could actually use it. We are seeing some of the other organizations using it more broadly in their annual reporting and even using it as part of the information set that they are putting together to go to market, to raise capital, et cetera. Yeah, so there’s a number of different ways that people are using it. And we are in this early phase where beyond that journey of just people experimenting and using it and maybe down the track, we can get a better handle on how some of the unique ways in which organizations are using it within sectors.

Melina Morrison:

Just to add to Paul, yes, we’re definitely learning more. And this is why the community of practice is so important because there are things that are unique to different sectors as well as the uniqueness of each organization. And I think Lisa expressed very well. Some of the hidden dimensions of how mutuals work in markets is one of the great light bulbs or highlights of the framework. But one area we are really seeing, and this applies to insurance mutuals really quite impactfully where there is a lot of advantage in using the framework to discover things is the pillar of social and governance under ESG.

There’s been fantastic work done and led by ICMIF around the eighth and the impact of mutual insurance on setting appropriate environmental targets in light of climate change given that the insurance market is really at the very front line of where those impacts are being seen. But mutuals also have a tremendous competitive advantage in the social impact that they deliver and the governance impact.

So for example, under social, it’s not just how we interact and behave in relation to our employees and our stakeholders, but the social impact can extend to the ways that able to extend because of their focus on profit maximization or other targets. For example, a mutual insurer is a unique way of people pulling their capital both to reinvest back into their own sector and their mutual as well as to safeguard their own risk going forward.

Ben Telfer:

Thank you, Melina, thank you, Paul for those comprehensive answers. I think we have time for one final question. Lisa, this refines to how you refined your measurements. They actually asked how many you have now. And I think you mentioned later on that you had 100. What did you start with and what percentage of them would you say with quantitative or qualitative?

Lisa Williams:

Good question. So we probably had 100 to start with because it was ultimately just a brain dump from our team on all the things that we think we do that add value. So we captured everything initially and then there were probably 10 that presented themselves as really stand out great ways to articulate the value. So I would say we… And there is probably another…

I would say we are almost 50/50 in quantitative and qualitative because some things are easy to measure like how many people attend a meeting and what percentage increase members had in our retention rates and things along those lines, but we have so many examples of where we create value that sit in this other category that we found that we have other examples, other things we’ve done this year that are just examples of where we have gone above and beyond and created value for that member.

And we are capturing them as examples or as feedback or case study, but we’re trying to keep them short and articulate them in a way that easily digest. So it’s, I’d say 50/50 between the two quantitative, qualitative because we have loads of examples and other things that we’re measuring that are not necessarily an easily definable amount of money or what have you. But I’d say there is probably 25% of those original 100 that are more actively being measured than the rest and probably 10 of those that stand out and say, here’s the examples of where we’ve really added value.

But we’re wanting to keep the other 75 just as ideas and on the radar, but they’re not necessarily things we can measure every quarter or every half year. There might be things that only when we’ve done this, does that happen? So when we’ve gone and self-insured a line of business or we’ve created a new type of cover that we’ve created ourselves, that doesn’t happen every year, but it’s on our radar as one of our measures so that when we do, that’s evidence we’ve shaped a market or we’ve gone above and beyond for our members and created value. So there are things that are in the top, the middle and we’ll just keep a watch on and about those proportions.

Ben Telfer:

Great, and Melina, Paul, is that something you’ve observed other companies that have gone through this process? Is that a similar profile they’ve got in terms of say 25 and then that mix between quantitative and qualitive measures?

Paul Thambar:

Yeah, I think from what we have seen, there’s a whole range of measures. And I mean, the end game is not to get to a set of measures, but it’s about finding the right mix. Now whether that is 10 or 20, I mean, all the research suggests that if you have anything more than 10, you are probably losing… You’re going crazy not trying to get the data to do the measures. But having said that, I mean, sometimes organizations work well with 20 different types measures because that suits them and they’ve got the processes and the data and the systems to support that. So what we are seeing is in this year over the last 12 months is this period of experimentation as organizations start with, as Lisa said, do a dump of everything that people want and then you slowly work through it to refine it. So I’m not surprised that Lisa is on that journey because that’s very similar to what we are seeing with the others.

Ben Telfer:

Thank you very much, Paul. Melina, I’m just going to hand back to you just for a final word because I know you are very keen to… And we’ve had some interest from other mutual and cooperative insurers around the world based on a blog that you and Paul wrote early in the year. So I’ll just hand over to you for a couple of minutes about the next steps here that you plan.

Melina Morrison:

Sure, I’ll keep this very short so you can all get away to your evenings. We are just beginning our day in Australia. So thank you again, ICMIF for this opportunity. We are really keen as a mutual sector and organization to encourage cooperative and mutuals globally to get in contact with us to use the Mutual Value Measurement Framework or at least to explore it. We want it to be shared globally and freely amongst the movement.

We do share the IP as the industry owner of the exercise with Monash, their research owner and the IP stewardship is really just to protect this for the mutual and cooperative sector. So the way to engage is visit the website, which is up on the screen and just explore it through that mechanism. We also have a brochure which we’ll share with you, Ben to share with ICMIF members. You can contact me directly to make contact with Paul and I. We are very happy to give presentations and to engage in a conversation, which is if you’d like to know more, then we would get in touch.

There is an exchange of… The reciprocity is we would like you to use the framework if you are interested, but you agree to using it in the way it’s intended. So it just begins with a conversation. And we do have consultancy. Lisa mentioned mutual, which is providing just some guide ropes, I guess, guidance to organizations as the exploration occurs. It’s not a set and forget, you really have to engage with it from the inside out as an organization to you get the value.

It’s not off the shelf, you customize it and build it around your organization. And that’s where the huge value is. Of course we do know that if more of us use it or find a common way to talk about the total value we create as mutuals, then that joined up message piece, aggregation of messages and ways of talking about the value is going to be an incredible opportunity for the sector to basically show the business model more globally. So that’s the joined up piece, I guess. And again, thank you, Ben.

Ben Telfer:

Thank you very much, Melina for that. And yes, anybody watching today or watching the recording, please do get in touch with myself, get in touch with Melina, get in touch with Lisa. Again, if you want to hear from an ICMIF member or a mutual company that has actually had this experience, we’ll be happy to connect you as well as sharing the presentation and also the publication that Melina mentioned just before.

Just a final thank you to Paul, Melina and Lisa for joining today. Thank you everybody else for watching. Details on screen of the next ICMIF webinar that we’ve got at the end of the month, which is one of our series of centenary webinars that we’re hosting this year. A very related topic that we just talked about today about communicating the mutual difference, which is based on a survey that ICMIF has just done looking at the marketing and communication strategies of member companies in how they leverage their mutuality.


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