Nottingham University Business School has concluded that CGNU (Norwich Union), Standard Life, Legal ...
Nottingham University Business School has concluded that CGNU (Norwich Union), Standard Life, Legal & General and Skandia Life are the most successful long-term insurers in Britain.
Leading the research, Professor Stephen Diacon says that 12 companies were considered in the research process, which involved one hour and a half interview with senior management in operations, strategy and planning departments. Insurance companies also participated in a survey.
The research offers some glowing reflections on these four companies.
Norwich Union is admired for the way in which senior management have managed its (very rapid) expansion and innovation while continuing to maintain good relationships with customers and IFAs.
Standard Life is admired for its financial strength in the competitive with-profits market.
The researchers were impressed by Legal & General's single-minded, consistent, focused strategies to reduce unit costs to be a major player in the stakeholder market.
Skandia Life is admired for the way it established niche, managed outsourcing relationships, serviced IFAs and avoided investment risk.
"By success factors, we mean those resources or capabilities that are specific to the firm, which help it to deliver superior performance and which are not easily imitated by its rivals," says the report.
The university's research also found that small and large life companies have different criteria for achieving critical success.
Large insurers said that broker/IFA relationships is the most important critical factor for success, followed by having a wide range of distribution mechanisms, brand management, innovation, wide range of products, bancassurance links, and the use of information technology in distribution, processing and administration.
Smaller insurers said the most important factor for success was having a focus on niche market segments, followed by financial control, quality senior management, quality staff, control, good support for customer queries and complaints, good claims management process and sound operational risk management.
Three funds to watch