Manzana Insurance

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1.How is the Fruitvale branch doing?
On viewing the financial performance of Manzana Ltd., we see that the branch profitability is decreasing. There is a huge backlog of policies, which is resulting in delays for current orders too. The number of new policies and endorsements appeared to be stagnating, whereas the rest of the industry reported moderate growth rates.

According to the figures of the present quarter, Fruitvale had shown a decline in insuring new policies whereas Golden Gate had issued 100 more policies than them in the same quarter. Moreover, the turnaround time, the time from policy request to policy issue, for Fruitvale was 5 days, which was, much more than the turnaround time of Golden Gate (2 days). The branch was also losing on renewals, which amounted to nearly 33%, again more than double of Golden Gate. The renewal losses represent a significant loss of business and an overall reduction in the number of policies in force. While new policies have not increased substantially, renewal policies are being lost, thus, effective growth isn't happening.

2.What are the causes of these problems?
One of the causes is the wrong method used in calculating the turnaround time. Their calculations show a much higher time than is actually the case, hence, agents don't want to work for them and readily switch to the competition.

Another cause is the employees' lack of willingness to work more at RERUNs and RAINs. When the conversion rate of RAP to RUN is only 15%, it seems that a lot of time is being wasted. The revenue figures for RAPs hasn't been given explicitly, but still, a proper cost-benefit analysis needs to be done to establish priorities.

The employees aren't working enough on renewals, hence, they are losing their existing customers. This can be partly traced to the practice of working on RUNs and RANs first. Another part of the problem is that in their quest for up-to-date information, the relevant data are released just one day before the date of renewal. When the information is released, it is not acted quickly upon as the employees focus more on RUNs and RAPs. Elementary marketing theory states that it costs at least 5 times to attract a new customer than to please an existing customer. Hence, their practice isn't cost-effective, which is being reflected in the falling premiums.

Another problem is that agents' contracts aren't being renewed at the same pace as that of the competition. Hence, these agents were recommending other insurance providers.
We can look at the utilization percentage of the groups of employees.
For example, let's consider distribution.
Weighted average time = 41 min.
Arrival rate = 39 policies/day (given)
Total time available = 7.5 * 60 * 4 = 1800 min/ day
Capacity = 1800 / 41 = 43.9 policies.
Hence, utilization = 39 / 43.9 = 89%
Similarly, if we calculate the % utilization for all groups, we get the following:

Distribution89%
Underwriters82%
Rating76%
Policy Writing64%

Hence, we see that the rating and policy writing departments have a lot of idle time. This is a symptom, the cause lies in incorrect calculation of turnaround time and doing the work in series rather than in parallel.

3.Can you identify the problems in the way Manzana is calculating turnaround time in exhibit 3?
In calculating the turnaround time, Manzana takes into account the 95th percentile of the completion time. This is a very conservative estimate, the calculation should be done using the mean. This results in a difference by a factor of 2-3, which has a significant effect on the turnaround time.

Another issue is that they assume a series operation while calculating the turnaround time. Ideally, work should be done simultaneously by the different groups of people. When these 2 factors are taken into consideration, the actual turnaround time will be reduced substantially.

Operating StepsRUNsRAPsRAINsRERUNs...
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