Analysis of Ing Canada Using the 7-S Framework

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  • Topic: Insurance, ING Group, Underwriting
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  • Published : February 10, 2009
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With ING Canada Inc. as the basis, I will first provide a brief company profile. This will serve as the foundation for a cumulative organizational assessment using the McKinsey 7S Model. With the information extracted from this assessment, I will then discuss my three month plan in the role of the company’s interim CEO.

Company Background

ING Canada Inc., composed of ING Insurance, belairdirect, and Grey Power, is Canada’s largest and most reputable property and casualty insurer. It employs over 6,500 individuals and leads the way in home, auto and commercial insurance. The company offers a variety of uniquely tailored products and services designed to meet the needs of its diverse customers. Products are delivered primarily through an independent broker distribution network, but also directly via call centres and the internet.[1] The company is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with a share price of $27.75 (as of November 27th, 2008).[2]

The company is backed by the large Dutch conglomerate, ING Groep, who is a dominant international player in the financial services industry. ING’s brand in North America was made famous by the success of its revolutionary internet banking system, ING Direct. The strength of their brand was a significant contributing factor in the development of ING in Canada. This growth began in 1988 as ING started to acquire several highly successful insurance companies. Today, ING Canada holds a commanding 11% share in the country’s property and casualty insurance market. It boasts over $4 billion in direct written premiums, and manages an investment portfolio worth over $7 billion.[3]

The McKinsey 7S Model

One of the most widely recognized business models today is the McKinsey 7S Model. It has been modified over the years, but at its core is still an effective and holistic approach to organizational assessment. The framework examines the relationship of seven key variables (Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills), each of which are distinct yet highly interdependent.

The variables are divided into two categories, hard and soft. Hard variables (Strategy, Structure, and System) consist of formal processes, business lines, departments, organizational charts, and strategic statements. These are generally easier to define, identify and manage. Soft variables (Shared Values, Style, Staff and Skills) are typically more difficult to define, less tangible, and easily influenced by environment and culture.[4]

The premise of the model is that the variables must be aligned if an organization is to be effective. Misaligned variables represent organizational deficiencies relating to performance, but more importantly opportunities for corrective action. In order to determine the effectiveness of ING Canada Inc., we will explore the 7S variables in detail, as they relate to the company.

Application of the McKinsey 7S Model

1. Strategy

An organization’s strategy is in essence their overall plan to create and maintain a competitive advantage. More specifically, it is the actionable items that an organization implements in order to achieve its objective, as well as to cope with change. Weber describes four different types of strategies:

i. Business – Relating to products and services offered. ii. Corporate – Relating to all stakeholders’ interests. iii. Functional – Specific to departments/business lines. iv. Individual – Relating to the personal goals of all employees.

We previously mentioned that ING Canada is a provider of various property and casualty insurance products. Since our society is continuously evolving, insurance companies must move alongside with it. ING Canada aims at adapting to these changes in order to stay focused on their customer’s wide ranging needs. For example, ING Canada was the first Canadian Property & Casualty company to implement Guaranteed Replacement Cost in homeowner’s property...
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