half page bullet points, punching, precise problem cse study define problem solving. 2.vision mission corporate objectives zurich website. 3.situational analysis - global context. 4.macro economic - goverment, industry monopoly ogilopu - industry anaylysis -insurance industry.
Zurich Insurance Company
Zurich Insurance Company is a powerful player in the global insurance industry and, despite the economic crisis, it now strives to expand its operations. This expansion is to be a dual one, namely within both the markets in which it already operates, as well as in new, emergent markets. This very situation reveals the need for complex strategic approaches, materialized primary in the recommendations to use market penetration and market development strategies.
The company is faced with the strategic decision to expand its operations. Yet, this desire is subjected to a wide array of competitive issues, such as the following:
High levels of dynamicity within the insurance industry
Intense and fierce competition between the insurance companies in both Switzerland, as well as at an international level
Key importance of marketing strategies to gain advantages and market share
The need to expand with the aid of the existing products, rather than developing new ones
Marketing complexities, such as budgets, processes, distribution and so on.
3. Vision, mission and corporate objectives
Zurich Insurance Company strives to become the best provider of insurance products and services. In their own words, the aim is that of being "the best global insurer, as defined by our customers, our shareholders and our people" (Website of Zurich Financial Services Group, 2011).
3.2. Mission statement
The executives at the Zurich Financial Services Group strive to attain their organizational objectives and accomplish the corporate vision through the full satisfaction of the needs and wants of a wide array of stakeholders, including employees, customers, business partners, the general public and so on. At the level of customers, the mission is constructed around the Zurich Help Point, or the positioning of the firm in a means which suggests that it is close to its customers to help them in a multitude of challenging life situations, such as the encounter of damages, the need for financial security and so on (You Tube, 2011).
3.3. Corporate objectives
As it has already been mentioned, the ultimate objective of the Zurich insurance company remains that of registering increased financial results. The means in which it would achieve this ultimate goal represent a series of smaller and intermediary goals, such as customer satisfaction, stakeholder satisfaction or expansion into the existent and into new markets.
4. Situational analysis
In order to formulate the most relevant recommendations, it is necessary to commence with the analysis of the situation. This specifically refers to the assessment of a wide array of contexts, such as the internal organizational climate, the industry in which the firm operates or the macroenvironment.
4.1. Macroeconomic analysis
The analysis of the macroeconomy is best conducted through the PESTEL analysis, revealed in the table below:
Switzerland is a democratic state in which the policies are developed and implemented based on the vote and agreement between the several political parties. Since Zurich Financial Services Group however operates at an international scale, they have to obey not only the policies of Swiss regulators, but also the policies of international regulators, as well as the policies of regulators in the national markets in which they sell their insurance products and services.
At an international level, the economic crisis which has commenced in the United States is still negatively impacting consumers' purchasing powers. This specifically means that the demand for insurance products would be decreasing.
Switzerland has been a rather prudential state and it has not excessively opened itself up to globalization. This meant that the economic crisis did not generate immediate negative effects. Nevertheless, the financial hurdles are now impacting the Western European country (News Week, 2011).
The socio-cultural community impacts the insurance industry through a wide array of features. First of all, there is the changing purchasing power, which impacts sales and revenues. Then, there are the growing pretensions of customers, which translate into demands of higher quality products, but also social and environmental responsibility, which in turn materialize in higher costs for the insurance agencies. Finally, there is the diverse means of perceiving insurance. In the developed countries for instance, insurance is perceived as a daily necessity. In the less developed and emergent economies however, insurance is perceived as cost and it is often neglected.
The modern day society is developing at a rapid pace and this pace is often set by the Information Technology and Communication industry. This sector generates impressive developments, which are eventually integrated in business operations, including those operations in the insurance industry.
The replacement of the older technologies with the new developments materializes in higher levels of productivity and operational efficiency, but it also translates into higher operational costs for the economic agents in the insurance industry. The integration of technological advent is however a competitive must, rather than an alternative.
The protection of the environment is becoming more important than ever and it also impacts the insurance industry. The specific force in this sense is represented by the need to create insurance products that offer coverage against environmental risks.
Finally, at the level of legal forces, it has to be noted that the insurance company is still a relatively new one, and it has yet to be fully regulated. In a context in which new risks, and as such new products, arise new laws are also being developed to better regulate them. This situation generates additional complexities for the players in the insurance industry.
4.2. Industry analysis
The Swiss insurance industry is driven by high levels of competition. The success of insurance agencies depends on their ability to attract as many customers as possible. In order to better understand the industry, a telescopic observation is required. Part of the elements have already been revealed throughout the PESTEL analysis of the previous section, meaning as such that the most adequate approach to a telescopic observation at this stage would be through the assessment of Porter's five forces in the industry.
Bargaining power of buyers
Bargaining power of suppliers
The individual buyers have a rather inexistent bargaining power over the insurance companies. Larger size customers however, such as corporations or large health care institutions, are better able to negotiate more advantageous premiums.
The bargaining power of suppliers is in general limited, but a risk is identified at the level of the human capital. Competition is also tough at the level of hiring and retaining the best staff members and insurance agencies could easily lose employees in favor of larger companies.
Threat of new entrants
Threat of substitute products
New entrants are seldom a real threat, but the risks are in fact posed by already existent insurance agents, who could expand their operations into new markets or with new products, and pose as such more competition.
The substitute products are represented by similar insurance products offered by competitive firms and their threat is increased. Small size firms activating in niche markets are better protected against these risks and they as such possess a competitive advantage.
Finally, the competitive rivalry in the insurance industry is increasing. The similarity of the insurance products and services means that the firm with the most appealing offer -- lower costs, increased coverage, ease of access to the product, attractive marketing -- stands the most chances of retrieving business success (Investopedia, 2011).
Today, the most intense competition faced by the Zurich Financial Services Group is posed by Allianz SE, Aviva Plc. And AXA. A telescopic observation of the four companies reveals the following:
Revenues per 2009
1. Zurich Financial Services Group
Life insurance, non-life insurance, pensions and investments (Website of the Zurich Financial Services Group, 2011)
2. Allianz SE
Insurance, banking products and services and asset management (Website of Allianz Se, 2011)
Insurance and pensions (Website of Aviva, 2011)
Life insurance, health insurance, asset management (Website of AXA, 2011)
4.3. Market analysis
The demand for insurance products and services is given by demographics, volume of transactions as well as legal requirements, such as the need to get insurance on the automobile or on the real estate properties. Large size insurance agents ensure their success through the creation of economies of scale, but also through the development and implementation of effective marketing strategies. Small size insurance agents generally compete on niche market by offering specific products and services to well defined customer audiences.
The profitability of the industry has bee decreasing as a result of the internationalized economic crisis. "In the late 2000s recession, insurers saw revenues decline sharply when their investment portfolios lost value after the market fell. Insurance carriers rely heavily on their investment portfolios, which is where they invest premiums collected until they are…