Among North American initiatives driven by Zurich's group IT is the Simple Term Life platform, launched in late 2006, which enables a process that previously took days or weeks to be completed in under two minutes, resulting in more than 80,000 applications being processed in its first year, making Simple Term the most successful product in the history of P&C subsidiary Farmers Life, according to Paravicini. Shortly after, in spring and summer 2007, Zurich rolled out ServicePoint, Los Angeles-based Farmers' state-of-the-art service center that serves Farmers' customers and 9,371 agents in 21 states. "With ServicePoint, we're answering 80 percent of calls within 20 seconds, averaging 8.8 minutes per call, and closing 71 percent of all service requests within 24 hours," Paravicini relates.
Among many other successes, these initiatives demonstrate that Zurich's group IT has become a growth enabler while gaining significant internal efficiencies. Owing to its sourcing strategy, Zurich was able to reduce its IT staff from 7,700 to about 3,700, gaining greater control over projected expenditures and the ability to manage peaks in demand without overcapacity, according to Paravicini. The strategy also was the key contributor to reducing the group IT's overall run rate by 20 percent to 25 percent, he adds.
"Zurich today is a flexible organization that can easily cope with change and react quickly to customer needs since its IT organization enables a more innovative product creation, better distribution and servicing solutions, as well as better data and customer management," Paravicini says. "Today, Zurich can very quickly develop and implement new and creative products across borders -- an advantage that will be very hard for our competitors to copy."
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