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Best Risk Management Solution Highly Commended: Palo Alto Networks

Published: Aug 2023
Photo of Ann Barry, Palo Alto Networks.

Photo of Ann Barry, Palo Alto Networks.

Ann Barry

Sr. Director, Risk Management
Palo Alto Networks Inc. provides cybersecurity services to enterprises, government and service providers. The company’s business operations span the Americas; Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Palo Alto is headquartered in Santa Clara, California in the US.

In-house insurance solution delivers improved risk management at Palo Alto Networks

The challenge

Palo Alto Networks is the world’s cybersecurity leader. It’s seen year over year growth, in its most recent quarter ending April 30, 2023 it reported revenue of US$1.72bn, a 24% y/y increase.

The Risk and Insurance team – part of the Global Treasury group – is a small team of two full-time employees and needed solutions to allow the function to scale, while being cognizant of its costs for both resource needs and software solutions to manage the company’s coverage and global exposures.

“We needed efficiency and integrity in our annual data collection processes. We focused on three areas: request and distribution for certificates of insurance, data collection process and property statement of values,” explains Ann Barry, Sr. Director, Risk Management.

The solution

Certificates of insurance – customers, landlords and RFP’s all require a certificate of insurance. The manual process was completed through an email request to the risk and insurance team, who would then make the request to its insurance brokers. The request was not always done accurately and completely and required multiple emails to obtain a certificate. The team removed the ‘middleman’ creating an intranet site where internal teams could submit their proof of insurance requests. They developed a simple online form for non-insurance colleagues to complete for custom requests. Once the form is completed requestors immediately obtain a general certificate, which satisfied approximately 80% of requests or the option to ask for a custom certificate directly from its broker using a standard form and ensuring all requests were in the same format and easy to execute.

Data collection process – the company places ~30 master insurance policies and ~45 local insurance policies with one annual renewal date.

The data collection process varies for each programme, including required applications, requests for data points and local forms. Data collection was being managed through individual email boxes, with significant back and forth between brokers, risk management and colleagues to obtain and submit required data. To make the process more efficient, organised and consistent, it created an insurance tracker using smartsheet software with AI capabilities.

“We developed our own forms that can be easily completed and submitted, we synced applications from carriers where we were able and created new applications in the software, automating all the applications. We documented and established each data set for collection and or signature in advance, allowing anyone to run the tracker and ensure all the required information is collected and submitted timely. The smartsheet is designed to do all the follow-up and keep data contained within the document,” explains Barry.

Property statement of values – on an annual basis the company manually reviews 50,000 lines of data and manipulates the information into a statement of values for each leased and owned location. It is required to provide a total insurable value for each property broken out by leasehold improvement/building value, furniture/fixture, and computer equipment. The process consumes ~400 human hours to create a three-page report. The solution is to create a data lake that will sort the data and create a final report with tableau, eliminating the manual hours needed.

Best practice and innovation

On an annual basis, the company aligns with its CFO’s priorities to scale, simplify, execute and disrupt, or what it internally refers to as its “North Star”. It has successfully fulfilled these priorities by engaging with technology through its own interactive intranet site or using third-party software tools. It is simplifying the process of procuring insurance and improving the data integrity by having a consistent process that removes manual manipulation.

The solutions allow it to scale and execute, avoiding any single point of failure, which can occur in small teams where only one person may be responsible/knowledgeable of the insurance programme.

“We are disrupting the way insurance renewals and data collection has been done and creating new best practices, sharing our knowledge with our peers. We have achieved all of this within our budget, without adding headcount or increasing our software spend,” concludes Barry.

Key benefits

  • Cost savings.

  • Headcount savings.

  • Process efficiencies.

  • Increased automation.

  • Risk mitigated.

  • Manual intervention reduced.

The Adam Smith Awards is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2023 awards attracted 320 nominations spanning 34 countries. To find out more please visit: treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards.

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