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28 June 2010Craig Beattie
The Guardian newspaper in the UK reported that the UK Government is looking at closing up to 75% of it's websites. The challenges facing the UK Government in terms of cutting costs and ensuring that they are getting value from assets are no different to the issues facing insurers in these uncertain economic times. Whilst it may not be typical to look at the approaches taken in the public sector to cost cutting there are some interesting features of the approach taken by the Government. Of particular interest was a KPI quote in the report regarding cost per visit. The article cites one website that costs £11.78 a visit versus on that costs £2.75 a visit. Such an analysis and metric would be most useful to insurers - particularly those that are operating multiple brands on different sets of technology. Of course getting to the true cost of running a web site can be difficult, but an educated estimate along with existing web site analytics data would allow a similar analysis - one that could produce the same savings in a direct insurer or any insurer with multiple Internet applications. The other point made in the report is that some government units were competing with each other in terms of marketing and search engine optimisation spend. Having two units in the same organisation bidding for the same search term in Google advertising for instance is simply not cost effective. As above, in any insurer operating multiple web sites or multiple brands this kind of activity could be prevalent but not immediately obvious, perhaps this is something insurers could review and see where savings could be made. I doubt insurers should make the kind of culling of 75% of their websites that the UK Government is discussing but the principle is sound and relevant to Insurance. Insurers should ask themselves how many websites they are running, are they all equal in cost and could any of the services be merged onto cheaper platforms. In these cost constrained times it's key that insurers not only examine core systems for possible cost savings but also the eco-system of ancillary applications and servers running the enterprise.