Designing, building and launching a new business in Poland

Prudential Poland CASE STUDY



Prudential originally opened its doors in Poland in 1927 and successfully offered life insurance products in that country until the Second World War intervened. The company is still active today in trying to trace and pay out to the descendants of those 4623 policies which were in force in 1939 and the company felt that the time was right to once again offer life products in Poland.

This strategic decision to reintroduce the Prudential offering was taken in the light of an analysis of the Polish marketplace with the business being keen to offer a new suite of products which would meet the particular requirements of the Polish people.

The launch of a completely new venture called on Prudential’s expertise not only in creating appropriate life products but also in designing and implementing a new digital/IT/business structure which would deliver expertise on a local level whilst maintaining the Prudential ethos and meeting regulatory requirements in both the UK and Poland.


Whilst the top line objective was to design, build and launch a new business in Poland which would deliver sales, growth and profitability in line with the approved business case, the proposition had to draw on Prudential’s worldwide expertise to deliver differentiation and competitive advantage.

Culture Consultancy’s role was to align people across the multi-disciplinary programme which called on participants from 7 locations in 4 countries. This included developing and agreeing critical success factors, creating a set of design principles to guide the design thinking/decision making and engaging and aligning those who were actively involved in the programme as well as key stakeholders.Key to the success of this process was the attention paid to aligning behaviours
across the differing locations to ensure continuity of approach.

Creating and launching a new suite of products gave Prudential the opportunity to take full advantage of enhancements in digital technology. Drawing on expertise developed in their Asian business the project included the development and launch of a new iPad app which not only acted as a sales tool, providing information and illustrations, but also had application capability. This app enabled Prudential Poland to offer Straight Through Processing (STP) which not only was a key enabler for sales conversion but also created differentiated customer experience. With paper eliminated from the process the app also delivered operational efficiencies. Although the product was being launched for the Polish market it still had to meet the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requirements and this brought its own challenges in ensuring that the beliefs and behaviours instilled in the Polish team were concurrent with thinking in the UK finance sector. Equally, aligning thinking and behaviours of the UK team to the Polish national culture differences as well as the regulatory requirements of the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) was also critical.

As the app had to meet both UK and Polish IT security and finance regulations this brought its own digital challenges both from a design and engagement perspective and Culture Consultancy was required to add its expertise in overcoming the barriers to digital to this element of the project. This expertise included overcoming the cultural challenges associated with the design and deployment of automated underwriting in the digital sales process; drawing on ‘best practice’ expertise from the UK marketplace.

  • Critical success factors
  • Creating design principles
  • Engaging participants
  • Overcoming digital barriers

Creating a new proposition from scratch requires a multi-faceted approach, particularly if that proposition involves a move into a new product line of a new country. Our approach focused on the customer journey, ensuring that Prudential’s values and a differentiated experience were at the heart of the project.

Projects to deliver improvements to an existing business can partially draw on existing expertise as well as all the data that is available. With a greenfield development or brand new proposition, success rests on strong design and leadership set alongside an attitude which challenges the thinking and constantly looks for new ways of proceeding. The iPad app was one such challenge but so too was the creation of fresh products for a new marketplace and the design of a reporting/control structure which provided sufficient autonomy to the Polish leadership whilst ensuring that Prudential’s worldwide ethos and principles were maintained.

“Clarity was required throughout the programme, from the senior leadership through the core project team and the newly recruited team in Poland on answering the critical questions of “How will we know when we are ready to launch the new business?” and “How will we judge that we have set ourselves up for a successful launch?” as the marketplace would be watching closely. We led the creation and adoption of critical success factors for the programme, including the engagement of everyone involved. These criteria included customer, regulatory, people, operational, financial, governance, marketing / sales and systems”

A Business Design Group was formed with representatives from across the business functions. This group created ownership and accountability for design decisions and resolved design issues. Engaging and involving the group was key to the success of the project, particularly when much of the work started in the UK and was then transferred to Poland. This created its own challenges as approaches differed across national boundaries and there was a danger that as ownership transferred the project’s scope may have strayed.

Designing and managing the transition was therefore vital for the success of the project. This drew on the Culture Consultancy expertise in stakeholder management, project engagement, governance, overcoming objections and transition management. Here, we were able to particularly draw on our experience of cultural change and ensure that suppliers and third parties such as IT providers and app developers were fully aligned with the aims and values of the project.

  • Ownership and accountability
  • Engaging Leadership
  • Transition management
  • Overcoming objections
  • Project engagement
  • Governance

The new business was launched in 2013 with an initial product range and other products have since come on stream including children’s savings products. In the two years since launch, Prudential Poland has made significant inroads into the life insurance market, with brand awareness in the top 10 life insurance companies in Poland and rising. There are Prudential offices in 16 Polish cities and a sales force of over 600 agents, all of whom are equipped with tablets, and the company has passed the 10,000 policy mark.”

“Prudential is now the second most preferred company in Poland in its field.”


Successful project delivery and launch


“Developed a detailed and thorough solution”

“Derek from Culture Consultancy was able to take a very ambiguous and high level brief and develop a detailed and thorough solution, outlining a clear road map for other colleagues to pick up as the programme we worked on moved from a planning in to an execution phase. Importantly Derek was also able to work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders across the organisation, quickly winning their trust and confidence, which was absolutely critical.”

Richard Wazacz
COO Europe, Prudential at Prudential Poland

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