Business Intelligence Project Manager
Advanced reporting accelerates efficiency
SAS integrates smoothly with Secura's back office
How has the amount of written premiums evolved in the various markets? What is the total value of claims emanating from the motor business? How many new contracts have been obtained in Spain during the last renewal period? Having the correct data instantly at hand to answer such questions is absolutely vital in the reinsurance business.
Secura is an innovator in its working philosophy and through its use of IT applications. "The SAS-based solution provides users with considerably more clarity on the status of files and contracts."
Paperless working environment
Secura is a Belgian reinsurance company, part of the QBE Insurance Group. QBE is Standard & Poor's 'A+' rated and is one of the world's leading international insurers and reinsurers, headquartered in Sydney, Australia. As a reinsurer, Secura specializes in insuring insurance companies. With over sixty years of experience in the field, Secura is a renowned European player. In 2005, its gross written premiums reached 256.8 million euros. Yet its 85 staff members work in an almost paperless environment. Most files, contracts, and reports are kept
electronically. Secura not only switched to a new working environment, but also renewed their entire IT system.
Special attention was given to the development of a state-of-the-art reporting system. A key requirement was to allow easy access to information in order for everyone to be able to work independently of time and place.
Improving the user interface
"Migrating to a new IT platform was obviously necessary," says Frédéric Fanchamps, Business Intelligence Project Manager at Secura. "Our objective was to avoid any re-engineering and to keep the core functions of our existing system. But on top of this, we needed to create a completely new business intelligence (BI) solution. We also wanted to set up a reporting system based on a data warehouse to enhance reporting efficiency and consistency."
The new application also had to be in line with Secura's work processes. Information had to be accessible 24/7 from anywhere, and dynamic reports had to be available in both HTML and PDF formats. In addition, the solution had to be fully integrated with Lotus Notes, the central tool for document management at Secura. Even given all of these stringent prerequisites, SAS had no problem in coming up with an appropriate solution.
"What we've basically been able to accomplish is to keep the core of our previous system, while improving both data input and output." says Fanchamps. "And on the output side, SAS turns the data into crystal clear reports."
Single point of access
The new SAS-based reporting application features a single point of access from Lotus Notes. "We chose this single point for various reasons," says Fanchamps. "It avoids the multiplication of selection screens and simplifies the learning curve. It also makes all reports accessible from the same location, which reduces the risk of forgetting about the existence of specific documents. As a result, reports can now be found more rapidly. Everyone knows where to find the exact data they need."
The starting screen allows staff to select parameters to create reports. These parameters include, among other things, customer, region, sector, accounting data, premiums, and claims. Once the parameters are selected, users only need to choose their preferred layout and the report is instantly available. These reports are viewed throughout the company, from secretarial staff to top management. In just a few mouse clicks, standard graphs and tables on financial data or evolutions in turnover for instance, can be accessed.
Easy integration of corporate fonts and logos
"Another benefit we genuinely appreciate in the new system is that it easily integrates all of our company branding and corporate communication standards," observes Fanchamps. "Corporate fonts and logos are automatically inserted in the reports, and the tool features an automatic description of data items from the company dictionary. If changes are made to company fonts, logos, or terminology, these are immediately reflected on all reports."
Greater staff efficiency
"The true power of SAS is that it is very flexible," stresses Fanchamps. "Because it is fully parameterized, our IT staff can tailor reports to evolving user or market needs. New reports can be created more rapidly by reusing and adapting existing reports. Moreover, ideas from users are being continuously integrated to make the solution even more user-friendly."
Secura has observed an appreciable gain in both reporting quality and staff efficiency. Thanks to the clear layout and data presentation from SAS, users are able to better interpret the information. And because the right reports are now found more rapidly, internal follow-up of files has significantly improved. Client companies calling for information are also helped more quickly. Reports are now used much more frequently and effectively by commercial staff on the road, since they can remotely access all information over a VPN connection. This means they can look
up specific data from a customer's premises and answer any customer question directly or provide them with any requested figure. As a result, their productivity has improved, particularly between customer visits.
"The application also tracks the frequency that reports are called up. Reports that are never used can be easily identified and taken out of the system," concludes Fanchamps. "In other words, it is a dynamic solution that keeps on improving."
Improve access to and consistency of corporate reports and data.
- Enhanced staff productivity and business awareness.
- Improved customer service.
- Quicker access to information, even from outside the office.
- Decisions are now based on more reliable facts.