Sun life is an insurance company that provides diverse range of financial products and services to individual and corporate customers around the world. However, as the management at Sun Life prepared the strategic plan for 2001 Kevin Dougherty was faced by some strategic problems after taking a group of people for a retreat in order to brain storm on some the strategies. The major problem was that, he had to decide whether to examine the planes put forward by the groups made of the people he had taken for the retreat in details and if so how was he going to proceed?
Situational Analysis and Relevant Facts
Sun Life became one of the world’s largest financial services firms in the world after it managed a CN$45 billion in assets as of September 2000. It has gone as far as selling 650,000 individual policyholders and 6 million group insurance plan members in North America alone, which shows that Sun Life has been able to create a big market in North America. In addition to that in the first three quarters of 2000 Sun Life revenues rose 12% to CN$12.7 billion and net income rose from CN$258 million to CN$592 million. This data clearly show that Sun Life has the ability to grow rapidly and quickly and even gain more profits.
What made many people to prefer Sun Life was the fact that the company had a good relationship with its customers. In most cases the employees did not make their choices based on prices but on the strength of their relationship with the company. Its ability to help them reduce their benefits and administrative costs and the quality services and information the company provides.
The growth of Canadian Group Insurance Industry could have come about as a result of the federal and the political government funding nearly 70% of health care expenditures in Canada. The other aspect that enhanced this growth was the supplemental private insurance and out of pocket expenses. These help this group to grow 11.2% to CN$23.3 billion in 1999. However, the growth that people anticipated was not seen as environment had become more turbulent. In addition to that, flexible benefit plans grew in popularity and corporations had begun to outsource many aspects of administration, which is one of the trends that affected the competitors in the industry.
The internet too affected the way that insurance companies distributed products and services to their customers. It had a major impact on the Canadian financial services industry since the Canadian banks were very successful at providing services to customers over the internet. This however was different for the Canadian insurers as they were much slower to embrace the internet. For years their work had been done manually and as they shifted product distribution and customer service to the web, they found themselves competing and or partnering with internet firms such as WebMD and GlobalMedic.
After the retreat Kevin Dougherty came up with several alternative solutions that would help him to be able to solve the problem he faced at the moment. These alternative solutions are:
1. He could choose to discus the ideas in future Strategic Planning Group meetings but not to assign anyone to conduct additional research on these specific proposals at this time. This choice may seem fine since it means that it will not include a lot of budgeting. However, by not assigning anyone to conduct additional research means, the thinking will be narrowed down to just a few people if not one person and will not provide adequate information.
2. He could ask Janice Wallace to organize a specific task force to examine each plan in much more detail. This is a very good choice since by examining each plan in more detail will make them to be able to know which plan may be good at the long run and which one can just be used for the short run. It will enable them to be able to have concrete reason why not to go about with a particular plan other than just putting the plan aside without a critical analysis of it.
3. Dougherty could also direct Wallace to focus only on the proposal(s) that received the highest evaluations at the retreat. This will mean that they will have to go with the strong proposals only, which may be good ideas for them. However it means that some of the people may feel like their proposals were not given enough evaluation since they were just evaluated in one day only and in just a matter of time.
4. Dougherty could ask the retreat groups to develop their own plans in more depth over the next few months and then to present them as future developmental projects. This could be helpful as it could bring about more creativity since during the retreat the groups had dedicated enormous amounts of energy to the creation and presentation of their business plans and also they had a belief that the proposals demonstrated great potential.
Recommendations and Justification
I recommend that Kevin Dougherty to go with solution 2 and solution 4. Solution 2 will enable him to see the proposals in detail as they will be able to evaluate each plan with more details. It will enable Dougherty to know which plan will be the best probably in all aspects. On the other hand, by asking the retreat groups to develop their own plans in more depth is to enable them to help them understand in more details the ideas of good management skills. This will enable the people to question their own plans in detail before presenting them.