Breaking Down the Insurance Silos

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1 Breaking Down the Insurance Silos Improving Performance through Increased Collaboration Insurers that cannot model business scenarios quickly and accurately to allow them to plan effectively for the future will increasingly struggle in what is a fast moving, complex, and highly competitive market. To date, most have failed to find the business modelling and planning tools that let them do this, and so they have found it difficult to adapt their operations to be in line with changing market forces and trading environments. In part, this is due to the complex nature of insurance companies and the market challenges they face. In part, it is because until recently the business modelling and planning tools were simply not capable of delivering what insurers wanted and needed. This is no longer the case. Improved technologies now offer insurers the ability to intricately model across complex, multi-national organisations in real-time. In turn, this gives these large organisations the ability to be more agile than ever before and to better position themselves to improve future performance.

2 Complex Companies One of the major problems for insurers to deal with when it comes to effective business modelling and planning is their sheer scale and structural complexity. policyholders or work through brokers, aggregators, or financial advisers, adding further structural complexity to their operations. The larger composite insurers have tens of millions of customers and pay out tens of billions of pounds in claims each year. They offer insurance products in many different lines of business from household, motor and travel to life, liability, and health. In offering these products, insurers work in many different environments including face-to-face, telephone, and online. They may sell direct to their Whether based nationally or internationally, insurers operate from multiple geographical locations and under the banner of different legal entities. These are just some of the complexities insurers have to deal with at an organisational level and they are a major part of why it has become so hard for these businesses to model and plan effectively. Market Challenges The insurance market is in a constant state of flux and the changing landscape demands that insurers can respond effectively and evolve proactively to maintain their competitive edge. For instance in the UK, the Financial Services Authority has recently given way to the two regulatory bodies of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. One of the biggest issues for insurers to cope with is that the regulation, rules, and legislation governing the way they work is constantly changing. The financial crisis has meant insurers, like other financial services organisations, are under closer scrutiny than they have ever been.

3 As the regulatory environment evolves, insurers need to understand how proposed changes will impact their business. In turn, they need to know whether certain lines of business will remain viable, and whether they need to alter the weighting they have in particular areas of sales and distribution. There are also changes to understand at a European and a global level and there is no doubt that the forthcoming advent of Solvency II, for example, is a major factor for insurers when planning their future activities. Beyond the bounds of regulation, insurers need to understand how changing technology and customer behaviour will impact their business. Whether it is tablets or smart phones, the way customers interact with them is changing rapidly as are the types of product they want to buy. If insurers are unable to respond to these changing dynamics then they are set to lose out to more fleetfooted rivals from within the insurance market. They also stand to lose ground to competitors from rival sectors such as retail and telecommunications who are already greedily eyeing their customers. To respond effectively, insurers need to be able to model quickly and accurately. Whether looking at operations, sales, or finance, they need robust data that will empower them to act confidently and keep ahead of the changing times. The main issue they face is that the tools previously available to them have not been designed for the jobs they want them to do. A New Dawn There is now no need to give up control for the sake of flexibility when it comes to business modelling and planning. Cloud-based technology ensures that it is possible for people across disparate locations to work in real time with the same documents and data sets. Similarly, proprietary technology designed by business modelling and planning specialist Anaplan, incorporates the control of accounting and reporting tools with the immediacy and flexibility of a spreadsheet-like interface. This unified business modelling and planning platform combines all of the essential components for every department in an insurance company to allow it to build and maintain robust models, plans, and forecasts using data sets that are always up-to-date. At the core of the Anaplan platform is its patented, in-memory data engine, HyperBlock, purpose-built to manage transactional data and multi-dimensional models. The platform comes with all the modelling and planning essentials a business user needs: time and hierarchy management, version control, collaborative, workflow, auditability, and more. Despite the advanced technology that powers the Anaplan platform, it is designed so that individuals can use it intuitively, without any technical IT abilities and without any software or hardware updates. To understand how this way of working benefits insurers at a practical level the following examples demonstrate how insurers in the general, life, and Lloyd s markets are putting it to use.

4 Aviva s end-to-end Group Planning process incorporates the 16 countries in which they operate. Aligning and optimising plans and forecasts in an increasingly fast-moving environment is a complex process that must be managed with a high degree of accuracy and agility. Historically, Aviva s Finance function utilised their existing financial consolidation and external reporting tools for planning. This solution afforded the team financial control given consistency with external reporting processes, but lacked the agility necessary in planning to build scenarios quickly and deal with multiple versions. Aviva introduced a new way of segmenting its business into material cells aligned to management structures and individual responsibility. The current planning tool, based on financial reporting entities, was unable to easily mirror the new cell structure. Our first key criteria for a new tool was usability, said Darren Craddock, Director of Planning and Forecasting at Aviva. I needed to know that when we wanted to modify the model by adding a new metric or change a hierarchy to match our new cells structure we would be able to do this quickly. Over the course of the build, Darren saw how easily the Finance team was able to grasp Anaplan s intuitive business rules and calculations. This gave him the confidence that he and his colleagues would be able to own the solution without relying on consulting or IT. The second requirement was agility, and Anaplan out-paced the competition: It became very evident over the two days that we spent with Anaplan that we could 1 rapidly deploy the solution globally, said Darren. Anaplan In Practice Aviva However, rapid deployment wasn t the only concern; Darren was also looking to improve the speed of the company s annual planning process. Here again, Anaplan s combination of advanced real-time analytics and in-memory processing power was enough to convince him that the platform would increase agility and save time. We also had a relatively short window to bring on a new system. I couldn t have done that without an agile, cloud solution like Anaplan, said Darren. The final requirement was financial control. Darren wanted an agile, enterprisewide planning solution that could be implemented without sacrificing accuracy. The proof of concept demonstrated Anaplan was capable of this and more. Anaplan s cloud-based single database enables every one of our businesses to collaborate around a single view of the data, said Darren. We also loved the audit trail functionality, which enabled complete transparency of the way numbers change over time and the ability to roll-back the model to a previous version if required. By using the Anaplan platform for our end-to-end Group planning process, we ve been able to spend far less time generating an accurate forecast, leaving more time to engage with business units, review the numbers, and optimise the end result, said Darren. Consolidating each iteration of the Group plan numbers used to take the Finance team one week. With Anaplan, they ve reduced that figure to one day. Through using Anaplan we have a more agile and efficient planning process. The Anaplan platform has given Aviva s Finance team a familiar, intuitive modelling environment, while delivering a whole new level of power and scalability on an enterprise platform. The system has allowed us to further optimise our plans by delivering instant results of alternative scenarios, said Darren. Just as importantly, it gives us the flexibility to deliver those results in different ways to suit varying departmental and executive needs.

5 Anaplan In Practice Prudential Prudential has selected Anaplan s integrated Sales, Operations and Finance business modelling and planning platform to underpin improvements to its bonus modelling process. Anaplan s real time modelling and calculation capabilities will enable Prudential to significantly shorten the end-to-end process for bonus calculation and payment across its UK Intermediary Channel. Prudential is implementing an uncluttered, streamlined system that will be the backbone of the bonus process. By switching to Anaplan s platform, which allows us to combine flexibility with automation, we will be able to streamline the process of bonus calculations for our Account Managers. We will also be able to improve our process and output analytics, said Deirdre Flood, Commercial Finance Director. Prudential s primary business challenges are to improve the efficiency of the calculation of quarterly sales bonuses through greater automation, but without loss of flexibility, to assist the bonus planning process, and to improve analytics. They turned to Anaplan s cloudbased platform, built on a patented, in-memory data engine (HyperBlock ), to speed up the end-to-end process, and quickly calculate and produce outputs with minimum process activity. Anaplan In Practice Lloyd s The Syndicate Business Forecasting required by Lloyd s demands that insurers in the market can accurately predict premium volumes, split those volumes out by risk, currency and location and then estimate forward profit and loss positions. The central Finance department of most syndicates will send out a template spreadsheet, asking individual stakeholders to submit information relative to them. This can lead to the generation of anything up to 100 spreadsheets covering off the individual lines of business, written by different teams, in different locations, and through different legal entities. This creates a consolidation headache for the central Finance team and is a long drawn out process demanding significant resource. Anaplan is working with a number of syndicates and its platform creates a central, secure repository for data that allows individual users to upload the information requested to a live model. That live model can then be shaped as needed by the Finance department to produce not only the information required for Syndicate Business Forecasting, but to model every aspect of a syndicate s Sales, Operations, and Finance activities.

6 Collaborative Working Insurance companies have grown siloed whether that is around Sales at the front end, and Claims at the back end, the individual markets they operate in, or the individual entities that make up the larger organisation. These silos often struggle to meaningfully share data and collaborate with each other. This discontinuity is a legacy issue that hampers the performance of an insurer and is one the market is trying to overcome. The unique architecture of the platform also means that individual units of data are modelled right across the entire organisation, providing a more detailed understanding of how each individual part feeds into the overall performance of the company as a whole. This approach does not only enable individual organisations to unpick the way they work, but also allows for the collaborative approach to be extended to include third parties. Whether it is looking across an insurer s legal entities, geographical locations, and market sectors or trying to model how changes within Sales, Claims, or Underwriting departments will affect the rest of the business, insurers need a faster and more flexible way of getting an in-depth understanding of their business. The Cloud-based nature of Anaplan means it is possible for stakeholders from any part of the company to feed into a central model. Either insurers can agree to take information from third parties to input into their models and plans; or they can provide tiered access to these companies and ask then to supply specific data for particular models and plans they are creating. This extends the benefits provided by faster and more accurate modelling beyond the confines of the insurer to encompass its third party commercial relationships. Given the complexity of commercial relationships within the insurance sector, better modelling and planning within this area has the potential to create competitive advantage for those that get it right. Training and Roll Out For insurers looking to develop their business modelling and planning capabilities, there is little appetite to create further demands on already stretched IT departments when doing so. Where insurers decide to work on the Anaplan platform there will be two levels of user. In the first instance, there will be those responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the model. Therefore working with cloud-based technology provided on a Software as a Service basis makes any transition easier and does away with software downloads or hardware upgrades. After three days of training and a few weeks working alongside Anaplan consultants to build the initial model, these users will not need further support to get the best out of the technology. Similarly, the move should be easy for employees to manage and not require significant education or training programmes if insurers are to adopt it quickly. For individual employees asked to input data into the model, minimal light touch training is required to show them how to log on and supply the information required.

7 Time to Act Insurers have never had such a diverse landscape in which to operate and they are under intense pressure to manage their operations efficiently and to allocate their resources effectively. Evolving technology is giving insurers this capability and it is up to them to explore how it could work for their own individual organisations. This demands they can model and plan effectively and that they understand exactly how the changes they make at ground level will unfold at an organisational level. CONTACT US linkedin.com/company/anaplan twitter.com/anaplan facebook.com/anaplan plus.google.com/+anaplaninc About the Author Edward Murray is a freelance financial journalist and business copywriter. He is based in Edinburgh, but writes for publications and clients all over the UK Anaplan. All rights reserved.

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