In 1959, Peter Drucker came up with the term “knowledge worker” to describe a worker who acquires, manipulates, interprets, and applies information to dynamic contexts. During the age of mass production, knowledge workers were the exception, but today they’re at the core of many organizations—particularly those involved in information-based transactions and interactions.
The insurance industry, and especially the reinsurance sector, is a classic example of a business that deals with huge amounts of information and thus depends on its knowledge workers collaborating effectively.
A case in point is Swiss Re’s global Property & Casualty (P&C) underwriting business. P&C Reinsurance accounted for 51% of Swiss Re’s premiums earned in 2016 and issued more than 50,000 insurance quotes every year. Before submitting an insurance quote, intense consultations between underwriters, contracting specialists, actuaries, product managers, client relationship managers, and service operations staff take place. Project teams are formed as needed for specific cases and stay in place for as long as needed—anywhere from a week to several months. Once the client accepts a proposal, new information can be added to the contract at any time; this requires teams to reconvene at short notice.
In 2015, P&C Reinsurance set itself an ambitious growth target: double the company’s premium volume in its emerging markets from 15% in 2015 to 30% in 2020, without hiring more knowledge workers. So, the challenge for Swiss Re was to reach this target while increasing their productivity. Given P&C’s complex underwriting operations, it’s difficult to standardize processes. There are many unplanned circumstances and the ideal process depends on the individual case at hand. Still, certain patterns of collaboration have proven effective over time and therefore lend themselves to automation.
Swiss Re tackled this challenge by introducing a case management solution based on Appway Platform. The solution splits up the workflow into several mini processes and allows the employees involved to re-arrange them according to their needs, enabling both sequential and parallel processing. This way, customized workflows can be designed without imposing a predefined structure. To improve convenience for all users, new cases can be opened directly from Microsoft Outlook, while all experts can continue using their specialist IT applications. All documents are automatically archived in conjunction with their case.
Appway Platform helps Swiss Re engage its employees in the concrete case while enabling the organization to leverage its expert knowledge when and where it is needed. With engaged knowledge workers, Swiss Re can be confident that P&C Reinsurance business will continue to grow.