There can be no industry in which risk and reward are so evident as in insurance. Much Z/Yen experience and many risk/reward methodology concepts have their origins in our work in the insurance sector. Z/Yen's proprietary risk/reward methodology has been brought to bear on many insurance sector problems - reinsurance level calculations, direct marketing campaigns, automated insurance applications, marketing rates of return, mutual structures, captives, cellular insurance, strategic planning, claims analysis, pricing and transaction costing. The boom and bust nature of insurance, with excess capacity available at just the moment when long-term players are expecting the returns from focusing on the sector, underscores the importance of strategic advice on timing and levels of exposure as much as underlying business targeting and efficiency.

Z/Yen has worked with large composite insurers in areas such as employers' liability, aviation, automotive or life on problems from computer systems implementation, quality systems, management information through to strategic planning. Z/Yen has worked in the Lloyd's market with underwriters, brokers and managing agents principally on information systems problems but also on wider problems such as reserve levels or pricing based on multivariate regression seeking key variables. Z/Yen has been active in working with mutuals, often on strategic planning issues, but also on innovative structures bringing the advantages of mutuals within new, more traditional corporate structures. Z/Yen has even been involved in exciting new initiatives using the internet to replace forms of insurance with dynamic risk-trading markets.

A project which brought together a variety of work within one client was Z/Yen's involvement with a marine insurer. Beginning with a six-week strategic planning exercise performed in conjunction with the board, Z/Yen determined that the principal business risks were long latency marketing and poor transaction throughput. Working with the client Z/Yen developed a global marketing strategy which helped to predict demand and place marketing efforts and manpower on the spot in advance. The marketing strategy stemmed premium losses and then expanded sales, which justified the expenditure on enhancing transaction throughput by both investing in the Z/Yen-led information systems strategy and an outsourcing programme which brought in two key suppliers for quality enhancement and increased volume flexibility.

Z/Yen is involved in all areas of improving performance within the insurance industry, from improving efficiency or effectiveness to developing dramatic new products. As an industry, insurance increasingly feels threatened at the margins - self-insurance (or no insurance), industry mutuals, advanced financial products, internal risk management units and many types of disintermediation need to be robustly addressed by insurers who are prepared to demonstrate the value which they add to their client. Independent advice from Z/Yen, who view all business as based on risk/reward, is a natural starting point for those who seek to improve their performance in the competitive insurance industry.