Generali Improves Insurance Product Delivery and Supports Growth
- Get products to market faster and more cost effectively
- VP/MS, CSC's product definition and modelling tool that ensures products are usable across different applications and channels and quickly deployed
- Enabled complex, function rich products to be developed much faster and new versions delivered regularly to customers
- Increased customer value and improved the company's competitiveness
- Supported growth plan with planned rollout in Central and Eastern Europe
Generali has improved product development speed and management efficiency for its motor, property and casualty, and life insurance products using VP/MS. The group is backing ambitious growth plans with a VP/MS strategy for all product development and for rollouts to Central and Eastern Europe.
As well as insurance, the group operates in real estate, investment, pension funds, and banking and financial services businesses. Although headquartered in Austria, the group is focusing its future growth plans on Central and Eastern European markets. It is one of the leading insurers in Central and Eastern Europe.
A Strategic Cornerstone
The group’s product development strategy has increasingly been based on CSC’s VP/MS product definition tool.
“While it is impossible to calculate the financial contribution VP/MS has made to product sales, there is no doubt that the number and quality of our products, the speed we have got them to customers and the efficiency with which we can manage them would not have been so good without it,” says Harry Fräser, department head of the group’s IT solution provider VIS Informatik. “Quite simply, some of our products would have been too uneconomical to develop. Others would not have been developed because we would have been unable to model them”.
Fräser describes VP/MS as Generali’s “strategic cornerstone” for future growth plans.
“We will use VP/MS in all systems that are product dependent,” he said. “For example, we have developed a new nonlife contract management system with VP/MS at the core, which provides much better calculations on a micro coverage level. So we are using VP/MS to enter new application areas and refining our business processes to become more efficient and productive.”
New Product Models Across Different Applications
Generali was a joint developer of VP/MS in the 1990s. The group’s objectives for the project were to enable its skilled business analysts to easily model new products and make new product models usable across different applications.
The first objective was met when Generali modelled its first complex product using VP/MS — a commercial insurance package for small businesses.
“It needed to cover a number of markets, and we could not have implemented it with our previous system,” Fräser said.
The first application to use VP/MS modelled products was for sales force automation, implemented in 1997.
“In developing an automated sales force system, the generic elements are proposals and quotations,” Fräser said. “We wanted an executable model that could be connected to the sales force application, so that the application didn’t have to be changed from product to product”.
Generali recognised that the VP/MS product definition model could be used to support development of a range of back office applications that were product dependent. In 1998 the group developed a new claims system, using VP/MS to provide supporting functionality for claims management.
“When managing a claim, the handler has to ensure a lot of information is collected, and that information is different for different products,” Fräser said. “The business rules function in VP/MS provides the claims handler with the type of information needed for each product to assess the claim for validity and the extent of damage”.
Reduced Development Effort
“Whatever the products or applications, the benefits are always the same,” Fräser said. “VP/MS has enabled us to reduce development efforts and speeded up output. That helps the productivity of both the IT support and the business units. But in addition, VP/MS enables us to add information and functionality in the system that is usually not available when developed in the traditional way.”
“In some ways, being able to create new product versions quickly with VP/MS is just as important as the ability to create new products,” he said. “We can put a new product version in front of the customer every month, providing regular value — and ensuring we stay competitive.”
VP/MS has helped the group to make its sales, administration and claims handling systems significantly more efficient. Every time a new product is developed, the tool’s business rules ensure back office systems are integrated with new product information without additional technical interfaces, as the product is rolled out to salesmen or brokers.
Although much of the focus for VP/MS development has been in the group’s insurance companies so far, it is making an impact in the group’s Generali Bank. A VP/MS modelled sales automation system helps manage the workflow of banking proposals, which can be transferred automatically into the account administration system.
The group is looking closely at using the product definition tool more widely in banking in future. A micro workflow engine implemented in the group’s insurance companies is now being assessed for potential use in Generali Bank — helping to manage account details and integrate product data into back office systems.
VP/MS made its initial impact in the group’s Austrian companies. However, with Central and Eastern Europe targeted for growth, implementation of VP/MS in that region is underway. It is in use in the group’s Croatia and Slovenia offices, and there are discussions about potential implementation in Hungary.
“VP/MS is central to our growth strategy,” Fräser. said. “Product development is not just about getting good products out to the market fast and efficiently — which VP/MS helps us to do. It is also about managing those products efficiently across front and back office applications. I can’t see any alternative as good at that as VP/MS”.