Managing performance in an insurance company

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1 Managing performance in an insurance company The European insurance market is facing major changes that continue to evolve especially in the supervisory and regulatory environment. At the same time, increased competition, an expected market consolidation and volatility of the capital markets require insurers to make significant improvements to their efficiency. White Paper Performance management

2 This white paper describes three important tools that can help insurance companies to manage their performance. In this white paper Introduction...3 Continuous improvement cycle Management system...6 Contacts...7

3 The European insurance market is facing major changes that continue to evolve especially in the supervisory and regulatory environment. At the same time, increased competition, an expected market consolidation and volatility of the capital markets require insurers to make significant improvements to their efficiency. Performance management is a concept designed with a view to improving the performance of an insurance company continuously. The main focus of performance management is to increase support for decision making and boost value contribution for the management team. This will allow an insurance company to link its strategy with the effective execution of that strategy and to align the employee incentive scheme with the company s objectives and key performance indicators (). There are three important tools that help insurance companies to manage their performance: 1. The continuous improvement cycle, called the plan-do-check-act or plan-docheck-adjust (PDCA) cycle 2. and the KPI hierarchy 3. The management system The following pages include a brief outline of the role of each of these three tools. 1. Continuous improvement cycle It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. Charles Darwin The PDCA cycle also called the Deming cycle or Shewhart cycle includes four steps: FIGURE 1: THE PDCA CYCLE Act Check Integrated data Do This first step involves creating objectives and drawing up plans on how to deliver results. During this phase there is a need to understand the market environment and drivers affecting business performance. An insurance company should carry out a market study and use business intelligence to understand the external environment. Actuarial analysis can offer significant input in this phase and help to establish the relevant key drivers for business performance. This includes risk factors related to insurance policies, for example, as well as pension plans and investments. White Paper Performance management 3

4 Do This step is about implementing and executing the plans drawn up during the previous phase. Insurance companies need to share all relevant plans with underlying business units and entities and make certain that they are using new relevant / appropriate drivers. Executing the plans is often considered the toughest phase in the PDCA cycle. Special attention must therefore be paid to enhancing the performance management process and ensuring that it supports core operations where the plans are executed. Check This step includes the analysis of the plans compared with actual results. It is important to make this analysis sufficiently detailed. For example, pure financial analysis without a supporting driver and operational data might be too high-level and might not support the identification of the root causes of deviations from the plans. Typical results gained from a wellimplemented continuous improvement cycle include: a reduction in the time taken to carry out basic tasks; an increase in the level of control employees have over their work and the results of this work; and improved visibility. Act This step is sometimes called adjust because it is during this phase that the necessary corrections are made. Based on the analysis carried out in the check phase, conclusions are drawn and corrective action is taken. The main purpose of such corrective action is to improve an organization s performance in each cycle that is why the PDCA cycle is a continuous improvement cycle. This phase will be used to provide input for the next cycle and for another plan phase through the definition of a new strategic or tactical framework. The continuous improvement cycle is an iterative process; the goal is normally achieved after several cycles. Activities carried out during the continuous improvement cycle require a lot of input from the various business operations in areas such as risk assessment and market forecast. The case for implementing the continuous improvement cycle can be made when no systematic way of analyzing and improving the planning and execution activities is in place. As with other changes of this magnitude, it is appropriate to introduce the cycle first to the leadership of the relevant functions in order to generate enough momentum for the required change from the top. From there on, the usual changedeployment practices such as the train-the-trainer approach can be used to prepare for the transition of responsibilities inside the company as this encourages buy-in from employees. Typical results gained from a well-implemented continuous improvement cycle include: a reduction in the time taken to carry out basic tasks; an increase in the level of control employees have over their work and the results of this work; and improved visibility. The key to determining the success of a continuous improvement cycle (CIC) engagement is to review the results afterwards. If the new practices, tools and methods are still in use when the coaches and trainers are no longer present, their implementation has been effective. BearingPoint s role is typically to act as the initiator of change, to train managers and coach them throughout the change process, and to carry out follow-up and monitoring work once the change process has been completed. BearingPoint has extensive experience in the insurance industry and from implementing operational excellence projects, providing the combination of skills needed to see through the change required. 2. There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. Peter Drucker have a major role to play in performance management. They are used to quantify the goals and achievements of an organization. When creating a strategy, an insurance company will set strategic that will be communicated to the organization and followed up on regularly. The strategic are normally high-level targets that need to be broken down into more understandable operational at the various levels of an organization. 4 White Paper Performance management

5 An effective way to create the link between high-level strategic and detailed operational is to build a KPI hierarchy. This hierarchy helps with visualizing the cause-and-effect relations between at different levels of an organization. In order to create enough interest and achieve the goals of an organization, the should be connected to incentive systems. For an insurance company, managing investments is one of the key tasks performed to secure profits and thus create value for policyholders and shareholders. Therefore, it is important for an insurance company to understand and focus on the key value drivers behind worthwhile investments. The illustration below shows an example of a KPI hierarchy for investment activity in an insurance company. FIGURE 2: SAMPLE KPI HIERARCHY Asset allocation (% EQ, FI, RE...) Asset-liability- (mis-)match Liability structure (cash flows, riskiness) Reinsurance strategy IFRS income Unrealized gains / losses (on- / offbalance) Claims reserves Excess capital + x Total return from investments Cost of financing _ Investment result before taxes Taxes Cost of capital _ Investment result after taxes _ Investment Value Created Yield curve x Investment Risk Capital charge Investment risk capital Common issues regarding for insurance companies include the lack of a clear link between the and strategy, and the fact that the may not being sufficiently forward-looking. A typical project established to address these issues would start with the creation of a strategy map identifying the business objectives and their value drivers. The strategy map creates transparency in terms of the correlation between key value drivers across business perspectives (people, process, customer and finance) and how these drivers influence the long-term business objectives. After this, the underlying for each value driver are created and stored in a KPI dictionary. Finally, the entire KPI hierarchy is reviewed and validated. This entire process is carried out in dedicated workshops involving representatives from BearingPoint, key stakeholders from the company in question and a technology representative. Leading practices for KPI design include ensuring that the organizational structure acts as a guideline for and limiting the number of (typically less than 10). The should differ according to the specific roles and responsibilities held in the particular function they are addressing. must contribute to one or more strategic objectives and the relevant function must assume responsibility for each particular level in the KPI hierarchy. An effective way to create the link between highlevel strategic and detailed operational is to build a KPI hierarchy. During successful KPI implementations, a KPI governance model is also designed and deployed. This includes the roles and responsibilities for maintaining the in future. The typical mistake is to assign responsibility for the to a technically oriented person or function. Instead the responsibility should always be held by a business unit because are fundamentally business issues. Finally a clear implementation plan including change management is required, as proper adoption is needed for a full rollout. White Paper Performance management 5

6 3. Management system The will is to select a goal, determine a course of action that will bring one to that goal, and then hold to that action till the goal is reached. The key is action. Michael Hanson A management system integrates the PDCA cycle and KPI hierarchy, and additionally, combines all management forums as part of the Performance Management System. Management forums include s and seminars at which the organization s management shares and analyzes information, discusses potential options and makes decisions. For all these activities, background information is required in form of and additional qualitative information. All information is prepared and refined in the PDCA cycle, with contributions from participants in the management forums. Designing and implementing a clear management system creates accountability, increases transparency and enhances communication between the various levels of an organization. A key issue companies often face is that practices do not support effective decision making and execution. FIGURE 3: SAMPLE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Weekly / daily Monthly Quarterly Annually Act Do Chec k Strategy Revised strategy plan Budget Final budget Marketing Action log Management Daily execution Action log Operations Action log All companies have some kind of management system. However if the management system is not systematic, cross-functional and documented, it is probably not functioning as it should be. A key issue companies often face is that practices do not support effective decision making and execution. Other indicators to look for include not being used as input for s and a lack of focus on prioritizing activities. A project launched to implement a management system would start with the illustration of the current management system and looking for effective practices and weaknesses in it. Next the future management system is drafted together with BearingPoint-utilized leading practices and refined during the course of a series of workshops. Finally the roadmap and rollout plan are created and implemented. Coaching is used to encourage the complete adoption of the new management system. After the successful implementation of a management system, a company can expect to realize the full benefits of the continuous improvement cycle and the KPI hierarchy. Three key elements that help an insurance company in performance management have been introduced: the continuous improvement cycle; and the KPI hierarchy; and the management system. The first of these brings a systematic method and structure for understanding current performance issues and resolving them. help in quantifying goals at the right level and specifically for each function. link a company s strategy directly to each individual and their performance. Finally the management system ties everything together by ensuring that s and decision making is carried out in a way that directly leads to better execution and performance. 6 White Paper Performance management

7 Contacts Patrick Mäder Firm-wide Partner Olivier Beugnet France/Benelux Director Thomas Horster Germany Senior Manager Mika Niemelä Nordic countries Partner Vahan Guermann Switzerland Partner Patrick Broer UK/Ireland Senior Manager About BearingPoint BearingPoint consultants understand that the world of business changes constantly and that the resulting complexities demand intelligent and adaptive solutions. Our clients, whether in commercial or financial industries or in government, experience real results when they work with us. We combine industry, operational and technology skills with relevant proprietary and other assets in order to tailor solutions for each client s individual challenges. This adaptive approach is at the heart of our culture and has led to long-standing relationships with many of the world s leading companies and organizations. Our 3500 people, together with our global consulting network serve clients in more than 70 countries and engage with them for measurable results and long-lasting success. For more information, visit White Paper Performance management 7

8 BearingPoint. All rights reserved. BENO1368

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