by Jørn Einard Skjærlund, Head of Accounts Receivable, Gjensidige
The cash management organisation at Gjensidige is responsible for banking communications, payments, collections and daily cash management, with investments handled separately. We work with SEB and DNB; currently SEB is a primary banking partner in Norway but we may extend this relationship in the future to other countries in which we have subsidiaries. Cash centralisation is more difficult for an insurance company than for other types of company as special rules apply to the industry, but we are aiming to adopt a single banking relationship to achieve better terms and visibility over our cash. In Sweden, we are restructuring the organisation in October 2009 which will allow us to centralise cash more easily.
Relationship with SEB
We have worked with SEB for three years, and recently renewed our agreement for a further three years, which can be extended for a further two years before the next renewal. There were a variety of reasons why we chose SEB as our partner bank. Firstly, pricing was competitive, which was an important consideration for a company with 4.7 million incoming payments each year; secondly, the SEB team provided highly personalised solutions and services. We do not manage any debt, so cash management is our primary focus, with an emphasis on cost-effective, efficient payments and collections, and visibility and control over cash flow.
Consequently, optimising systems and processes is very important to Gjensidige. We have a strong culture of identifying and resolving process inefficiencies in the company, but in addition, we worked through a detailed process evaluation with SEB, known as the SEB Corporate Value Chain™. Based on the outcome of this, together with our internal process analysis, we identified a variety of efficiency improvements and we have worked closely with SEB to implement them.