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Manufacturing Process at Zurich Life

Maximizing efficiency through process.

In terms of maximizing efficiency through process, manufacturing is far ahead of the insurance industry, according to Richard Sousa, who spent 10 years at Wang Laboratories, in hardware and software manufacturing. Zurich Life (Schaumburg, IL, $403 billion in assets) has availed itself of Sousa's insight since 1998, and has validated it by elevating him from senior vice president and head of call center operations for Zurich Life's services organization to the newly minted post of executive vice president of service.

In his new role, Sousa heads all services operations, including underwriting and call center activity; in-force processing, premium and new business operations; and administrative services.

Sousa believes his non-insurance background will serve Zurich Life well as it seeks to focus on distribution. "What's going to differentiate us is our ability to process and perform, and to manage our relationships with our distributors," he says.

The first thing that Sousa will do to support those ambitions is "to engage in an entire process mapping of the organization," he says.

Streamlining process throughout the enterprise is important, Sousa opines, because today's customers compare insurance companies not to other insurers "but against the Lands' Ends and everybody else who executes their transactions well," he says.

The new EVP of service shows not only a shift from product to customer-centricity, but also "a recognition that process execution is not only as important as product, but maybe even more so," Sousa says.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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