Zurich Case Study

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A customer-centred approach to providing insurance

Curriculum Topics • Vision • Aims and objectives • Strategy and tactics • Measuring performance

One approach to business is to develop a product and then look for customers. However, for many businesses the customers come first. They adopt what is known as a customer-focused approach. These businesses seek to provide customers with what they want. This involves listening to customers to identify their specific needs and requirements. This case study examines the customer-focused approach of Zurich, the insurance and financial services provider. Zurich Financial Services Group (Zurich) is a global company. It provides both business and personal insurance. It has a rich mix of products and services, including motor insurance, buildings and contents insurance, risk management, life assurance, and pensions and investments. The company was founded in 1872 and the Group’s headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland. Today Zurich does business in over 170 countries and has over 60,000 employees. It operates through a network of subsidiaries and offices in North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. Zurich combines its knowledge of local markets with international expertise. It aims to offer its customers a high level of service. To do this, Zurich has recently developed a new customer-centric strategy. This strategy sets out plans to provide customers with

the products and services they require accompanied by a high level of customer service. Zurich continually monitors its activities to make sure that its customer-focused objectives are being achieved.

An organisation’s vision is a clear statement of what it seeks to achieve. The vision should inspire everyone associated with the organisation. It should motivate employees to strive to achieve the vision. If the vision sets out what an organisation seeks to achieve, then it needs to have a means to fulfil that vision. The means to achieve the vision is termed a strategy. Zurich’s vision is set out in this way: ‘At Zurich, we aspire to become the best global insurer as measured by our customers, our shareholders and our people.’ To achieve this aim, Zurich’s strategy involves being effective in the key areas that add value to its stakeholders. Adding value is the process of increasing the market value of a product. It is a key part of ensuring stakeholder satisfaction. Zurich’s key value-adding activities are: • meeting customers’ real needs – this is what the company means by customer centricity • providing products and services where and when customers want them • making sure that all of the processes involved in providing financial services are done effectively.

Subsidiaries: Businesses that are owned by another business.

Customer centric: When an organisation puts satisfying the customer at the centre of everything it does.

Strategy: A plan for achieving key objectives.

Vision: A motivating summary of what an organisation hopes or intends to achieve.


Zurich | A customer-centred approach to providing insurance




All staff play a role in making sure that the value-adding activities are done efficiently. Responsibility does not solely lie with the top managers. It is important to look after the people that work for Zurich. Team members that are well-trained and motivated will deliver a better service to customers. This is an important part of people management. It is important to monitor a strategy to ensure it is effective. This will show whether an organisation’s vision is becoming a reality. For Zurich this involves measuring: • customer centricity • shareholder value • being the employer of choice.

Aims and objectives
The relationship between a business’s aims and its objectives is important. Aims are general statements of what a business is seeking to achieve....
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