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With more than 1.8 million lives insured, a total premium volume in excess of CHF 5 billion (US$4 billion) and more than 2,600 employees, Helsana is the leading provider of statutory and supplementary health insurance in Switzerland.
Helsana enjoyed a personal lines market share in Switzerland of more than 20 percent. However, this strong position, coupled with a generally saturated market, limited opportunities for additional growth. To achieve high performance, Helsana set its sights on further penetrating the lucrative commercial market, through both organic and inorganic growth.
As Helsana was formalizing its vision to expand its corporate customer base, the Swiss Life Group sought to divest its non-core businesses, including its short-term disability and accident insurance businesses that operated under the Swiss Life non-life subsidiary, La Suisse. Helsana was interested in acquiring La Suisse as it believed this would allow it to compete more effectively with the other major Swiss insurers in providing worker's compensation coverage to corporations. Before moving forward, Helsana wanted to be sure that such an acquisition would deliver significant and recognizable value. Helsana submitted a non-binding offer for La Suisse and then turned to Accenture for help in all major aspects of the acquisition and for planning and assessing the impact of the post-merger integration.
Accenture deployed a team of health industry professionals, along with skilled IT personnel and functional insurance business process experts. This multifaceted team provided overall program management assistance during the acquisition and helped identify the technical and business implications associated with integrating La Suisse into Helsana's structures. The team's role also included developing service level agreements and conditions, particularly in the IT area.
At the end of Phase 1, Helsana formally announced its intention to acquire the health and accident insurance business of La Suisse. This led to a six-month review of the proposed acquisition by government and industry regulators. During the review process, Accenture and Helsana launched Phase 2 of the acquisition program which focused on preparing all aspects of the organization for the pending integration.
On the day regulatory approval was obtained, Accenture and Helsana immediately began Phase 3 activities, which have included transitioning former La Suisse employees and the insurance portfolio, refining processes, conducting change management workshops, archiving customer data and claims, and encouraging La Suisse customers to sign new contracts with Helsana, thus avoiding policy cancellations.
The Accenture project team continues to support Helsana post-merger by migrating the La Suisse insurance portfolio to Helsana's core business systems, revising the organizational structure and tracking the financial outcomes of the acquisition.
With Accenture's help, Helsana has successfully completed its bold and ambitious acquisition of La Suisse's commercial health and accident insurance portfolio. The acquisition increased Helsana's customer contracts by 60,000 (approximately 30 percent). Premium volume has increased roughly 60 percent by CHF 260 million (US$210 million).
The acquisition has propelled Helsana from the sixth- to the fourth-largest provider of accident insurance in the country and also positions Helsana strongly in the Francophone region of Switzerland. It also solidified Helsana's position as a leader in the highly competitive Swiss personal injury insurance market.
These results support Accenture's ongoing research, which reveals that an important characteristic of high-performance insurance companies is the ability to boost market share through a combination of organic and inorganic growth. According to René Kramer, the head of corporate clients business at Helsana, "Accenture's expertise helped make the integration of the La Suisse business into Helsana run so smoothly that few people recognized the tremendous change we were undertaking. Accenture's involvement allowed us to do what we do best—focus on our customers."
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