By Robert Dixon
A unit of State Farm Insurance has won an award for operational excellence from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. The company's Bloomington Operations Center received a bronze medallion from The Shingo Prize, which helps companies increase efficiency and effectiveness, and recognizes those efforts with awards.
State Farm Life received the award after reducing operating expenses by a one-quarter while adding 250,000 policies, representing a 27 percent productivity gain and a savings of $35 million, according to a news release. The prize organization reviewed the insurer's internal processes and culture before deciding on the award, which will be formally given to State Farm representatives at a ceremony in May.
"Our commitment to excellence does not end with the Shingo assessment; we will embed these principles into our culture and continue to focus on improving processes and creative value for customers," said Jenifer Laesch, a supervisor at the unit, according to the release.
State Farm Life is one of the largest U.S. life insurers, offering term, whole, universal and annuity products. The company announced at the beginning of the month that 2012 sales totaled $65.3 billion, a $1 billion increase from 2011, with a sharp rise in full-year profits to $3.2 billion in 2012 from $800 million in 2011.
State Farm's life insurance units, one of which is State Farm Life Insurance Co., added $27 billion of policies in force in 2012 for a year-end total of $805 billion. Premium income was $4.8 billion last year, up slightly from 2011 with profit down to $471 million from $625 million in 2011.
The Shingo Prize is named for Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo, who helped develop the efficient industrial processes that Toyota pioneered and which are now a hallmark of modern manufacturing.
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