Case Study

Comprehensive Operational Support Driving Growth.

An international underwriter specializing in insurance and reinsurance in the property and casualty market.

Case Study - An international underwriter specializing in insurance and reinsurance in the property and casualty market
Industry
Insurance
Services
Business Process Transformation

The Challenge

The client’s business grew rapidly through acquisition, having doubled its commercial and specialty insurance business with the purchase of a competitor, then acquiring three specialist insurers covering six new markets in the US.

The priority at board level was to integrate the new acquisitions into the group processes and systems, while leveraging the new skills and products across markets. The growing pains for the new group were significant and across the complete lifecycle of insurance services.

Specifically, the board of directors was concerned with missed proposal opportunities due to bottlenecks in the underwriting teams, inconsistency in the quality of service to insurance agents, duplicate functions across the group, backlog in actuarial services preventing the board from understanding the full exposure to risk, and poor discipline with account reconciliations and collections impacting cash flow.

The client’s priority was a transformation, prioritizing on supporting growth, refocusing staff, and eliminating waste in their business processes.

The Sutherland Transformation

Sutherland launched a high-level discovery process to observe and define current processes and identify the scope for improvement. Sutherland then benchmarked key metrics, and outlined the new operational model and transition approach.

Each process migration commenced with an exhaustive diagnostic of the client’s processes using a Sutherland proprietary methodology. Then Sutherland developed a detailed transition plan, which resulted in a smooth and phased transition of the processes without interrupting normal business operations. Given the specialized nature of the products insured and the wide range of insurance schemes, the Sutherland staff referred to over 80 different conditions when underwriting a single policy. Adding to process complexity was the high frequency of updates to the schemes and the volatility of transaction volumes.

Sutherland undertook several Six Sigma initiatives which:

  • Removed redundancies and duplicate processes via rationalizing IT systems from 45 to 12
  • Streamlined the data/risk calculation process by implementing actuarial software
  • Developed a fast track accreditation and training program, reducing training of Sutherland staff from eight to two weeks
  • Consolidated the underwriting and policy administration processes to ensure higher efficiencies and speed of response
  • Established a cross-functional underwriting support team with specialist risk assessment and catastrophe modeling skills
  • Used time-zone differences to compress turnaround timelines
  • Created a centralized agent support team responsible for account reconciliations and query handling
  • Implemented a centralized monitoring system to report on policy processing performance and submission quality
  • Implemented a new binding authority audit system that determines high risk transactions and identifies processing irregularities for action
  • Reviewed and audited requested reparation actions by the loss adjusters to ensure all actions were in line with authorization limits. The team also verified that only authorized vendors were used in carrying out remediation work where new vendors or authorizations were required, to limit potential delays in the claims process.

The Sutherland staff referred to over 80 different conditions when underwriting a single policy.

The Results

Within the first 12 months of operations:

Turnaround times for quotes dropped from up to 30 days to a maximum of
4 days
Reduced operational costs by
40%
Reduced outstanding account balances for agents from $9M to
$2.5M
Moved audit coverage of binding authority management from 50% to
100%
Held staff attrition across critical areas at a record low of
3% annually