Compliance Metaphors: Options Abound, But I Want More

I once heard someone describe compliance as similar to the plumbing in a house – it’s not glamorous and functions behind the scenes, but it’s necessary – and when things break down, it stinks. I’ve heard many compliance metaphors, and when I first heard this one, I thought it was totally spot on. Many metaphors used to describe compliance centered around this theme. Compliance is necessary, but no one really likes it. And while I still enjoy the compliance-as-plumbing description (it certainly hits home when compliance breaks down), I think we can do better. 

I don’t want to settle on compliance being pigeon-holed as the un-glamorous, behind-the-scenes “necessary evil” that companies and agents have to deal with. Does it need to be front-and-center like the new central AC system that is totally wonderful, but not necessary? No, but I personally feel that if we’re able to stop thinking of compliance as a solely mandated function and instead push ourselves to see it as another business tool to leverage, not only can a company’s internal operational flow improve, so can the business bottom line. 


Reputation. Our world is increasingly digitized with so much information instantly at our fingertips. Bad reviews or press? Easy to find it. Our attention span is decreasing. First impressions are everything, and if you do get additional time to impress someone, count yourself lucky. Embracing a pro-compliance attitude, including compliance as part of the businesses culture, demonstrating a commitment to compliance in all business areas of a company, and having conversations internally and externally about this commitment can set you apart from the pack, and build your reputation. 

Compliance is a form of risk management, just like the products sold in the insurance industry. Use compliance to mitigate risks and build your company’s reputation. Move it from behind-the-scenes, and start using this tool to propel your company ahead. Tell us, is compliance the plumbing in your company? What’s your favorite metaphor for compliance?