In a recent survey conducted by Gratex International, involving senior executives of underwriting agencies from Australia and New Zealand, 68 percent stated that fierce competition is a key challenge that impacts on their business, forcing 47 percent of agencies to look for ways to protect their business.
The survey also showed that 74 percent of agencies nominated operation systems as being 'very important' or 'critical' to improving business flexibility and scalability. Meanwhile, 66 percent of respondents also said improved operational efficiency was 'very important' or 'critical' to reducing business costs.
One insurance agency that took responsibility to ensure its operation systems were ready for the future — and has since reaped the rewards — is GT Insurance. The heavy transport insurer, which is 73 percent owned by insurance giant Allianz, reviewed its systems and chose to implement Gratex International's Underwriting Process Management (UPM) business platform, an end-to-end business management solution designed specifically for niche insurance agencies.
Since completing the implementation in March 2012, the company has been able to offload its back-office work, such as claims management, CRM management, financial management, and claims processing, onto the business management system. As a result, the company has been able to grow by an average of 13 percent year-on-year, and has seen efficiency gains of between 25 to 30 percent, while maintaining staff headcount.
"What we've seen in our business is a significant change in our cross structures," said GT Insurance CEO Glenn Lambert.
"The deployment of this tool was not insignificant, nor was the move to an industry strength platform. We've had a huge leap forward in systemisation of the business because Gratex has learnt what it takes to systemise our business to get the outcomes we need to meet our problems and needs."
While the company is tied to Alliance's corporate ownership and is therefore required to meet certain compliances, Lambert said UPM enables the company to react more quickly and "get things done overnight", including being able to "exploit opportunities and address any weaknesses".
GT Insurance also now has the capabilities to gain insight into all of the company's transactions, which was never previously possible.
"At the summary level of every transaction there were no details, but in a period of one and a half years we have moved forward to where every piece of transaction is measurable, and now we've started data cleansing," Lambert said.
To further help the "dynamic segment" of insurance, Gratex has announced the launch of its next-generation underwriting process management suite, UPM2.
Gratex International Australia managing director Milan Neklapil said UPM2 is a continuation of UPM, but with improved feature sets, such as being able to deliver the application to any device or browser.
"Those companies are very inventive and we thought it was an opportunity for us to develop a product that would help automate their business processes and increase their effectiveness," he said.