Codan's analytical CEO
New CEO Rickard Gustafson is making big changes at Danish insurance giant Codan by emphasizing speed and innovation
At 43, Rickard Gustafson is one of the youngest senior executives in the Danish corporate sector. His meteoric career, which has included senior executive positions in both the international consulting and finance sectors, has made him a symbol of a new era in insurance. From his office at the top floor of the Codan building in Copenhagen, Gustafson sets innovative standards for insurance, workflows and customer awareness.
360-degree customer view
According to Gustafson, enterprise intelligence in a wider sense is extremely important in the insurance industry. "With the strategic measures we have taken at Codan, the need for enterprise intelligence is even greater," he explains. "We need to both strengthen the source data and make sure that the necessary analytical competencies are present in the organization to ensure innovation as well as intelligent product development and choice of channels. As a company, we benefit from the opportunity to share analytical insight and learn from each other internationally."
Codan's new products and campaigns are based on demand and target-group analyses. An example is the marketing strategy for the loyalty program CodanTjek. Analyses show that four out of five Danes do not have sufficient insurance coverage. Based on this data, Codan created CodanTjek to ensure that its customers have the right insurance coverage for every life stage – from the first home and the first job until retirement. Codan marketed CodanTjek under the slogan "No one knows what the future holds" with considerable success, setting the company apart from its competitors.
First with online insurance
"The insurance industry will experience the same development as banks did four to five years ago," predicts Gustafson. "Almost three million Danes now bank online, whereas only a few percent turn on their computers when it comes to insurance. In the UK, 75 percent of all car insurance policies are bought, paid and delivered online, and I believe that the Danes are also ready to buy insurance coverage over the Internet." As a first step, Codan will launch ATAVA and then analyze online transactions to learn how to adapt both products and channels to each individual segment.
"The world is not black and white, and this is also true in terms of insurance and target groups," Gustafson says. "Customers will use the different contact channels – Internet, phone, face-to-face meetings – according to their needs, and it is our job to offer the exact right mix of products and contact opportunities at the exact right time."
Focus on knowledge sharing
This is done both at a regional and an international level. From a Nordic perspective, Codan benefits from its presence in both Sweden and Denmark. Knowledge about markets and customer behavior is shared extensively, resulting in faster product development. When Denmark passed new legislation on travel insurance, for example, Codan was the first insurer to offer free travel insurance to customers with home-contents insurance. This product had been part of the Swedish portfolio for years and was easily adapted to the Danish market.
In front with compliance
"The insurance industry will be faced with some strict compliance requirements in the future," explains Gustafson. "We need to be aware of these requirements and be ready to adjust our business processes to meet them. Fortunately, we benefit from being a part of an international group with a lot of know-how and advanced compliance methods." He also stresses the clear link to process and precision.
"We need to think across boundaries, work smarter and share knowledge," says Gustafson. "Knowledge is vital to our business, whether concerning customers, products, profitability or compliance. The more we know, the more precisely we can target our activities."
Predictive analytics in insurance
This story appears in the Fourth Quarter 2008 issue of