La Parisienne: a classic institution with a passion for the contemporary relies on Diligent Boards™ for a paperless environment
Created in 1829, La Parisienne is France’s oldest independent insurance company. Along with its long history, the company stands out for its innovative approach and modern ambitions. This is demonstrated in La Parisienne’s strategic efforts to confront the evolving challenges of the insurance sector, including consumer trends towards adopting digital and collaborative technology. This is why La Parisienne chose Diligent Boards, and has been working with Diligent since November 2015.
For years, Loubna Essaadani Foerster, legal advisor at La Parisienne, had to deal with collating the vast amounts of printed board materials which were required before each board meeting.
The board, comprised of more than a dozen board members, met four times a year, and each board member received a board book containing at least 70 pages. Furthermore, an additional 14 copies of the board book were printed to have on-hand for each meeting.
The material was also sent by email before each board meeting. Board members were able to print and annotate documents before attending the meeting. In addition, before using Diligent Boards, Foerster constantly received up-to-the-meeting information from a wide range of people, including the CFO and the CEO. This made her work even more difficult and time-consuming, since she had to constantly manage last-minute updates. Foerster then had to reprint the final versions in order to guarantee that every member had the most recent version. She recalled: “Sometimes, I was still in the office at 5am preparing [for] a board meeting at 9am, running back and forth to manage four printers that were producing the documents.”
After the establishment of a new paperless policy, La Parisienne’s recent adoption of Diligent Boards affirms the company’s new direction. “Modernity must be a way of thinking,” Foerster said. “We have used Diligent Boards since early 2016, but there are already numerous advantages, and it is remarkably simple and efficient to use.”
La Parisienne was looking for an intuitive, customisable and user-friendly solution for its board’s digitalisation. The company also wanted to provide board members with a flexible tool allowing them to annotate, modify and share comments in real time, clearly, and without having to reprint the documents each time a change was made.
First, La Parisienne, unfamiliar with the board portal market, searched for and identified the vendors most likely to meet the company’s needs. Before choosing Diligent Boards, the company requested proposals from, and met with, several providers in order to evaluate the different solutions available.
Diligent Boards’ implementation happened quickly and went without a hitch. “We were guided by a competent team that clearly explained the necessary steps for a
setup tailored to the company’s development needs. This support gave us the opportunity to customise our platform experience and learn how to use the board portal,” explained Foerster.
Diligent Boards allowed Foerster to avoid one of the common pitfalls of paper: “If I had to change a page, I had to take out all the staples, print again and then staple again. That takes an enormous amount of time, more than one can imagine. And contrary to what one might think, last-minute changes happen regularly.” However, with Diligent Boards, this kind of problem can be managed in a very different manner: “15 minutes before the meeting on 14 April, I had to change a page. I just had to insert the new document, and with three clicks of the mouse, it was available to all board members.” This flexibility reduces administrative burden and allows everyone to access the latest updates in real time.
Foerster confirmed that the installation and use of Diligent Boards has been very simple and quick: “You don’t have to be an IT specialist to use the Diligent solution. It’s very intuitive and user-friendly.”
Before one of the board meetings, however, she had to contact the Diligent technical support team to help her with a last-minute document update: “I didn’t have the time, and didn’t want to fix a document myself, and I was not allowed to make any mistakes. So I contacted the support team to do the modification quickly with their help.”
The fact that Diligent Boards is simple and intuitive has proved most important for board members. After two board meetings, two-thirds of members were already trained in how to use the solution efficiently. Cyrille de Montgolfier, CEO of La Parisienne, took an active role in promoting Diligent Boards, assuring that the training would only take “10 minutes of one’s time.” His positive attitude encouraged and convinced others to get up-to-speed. Mr. de Montgolfier is not the only one to welcome the use of Diligent Boards; numerous employees of all ages have also recognised the advantages that the solution offers.
In addition, La Parisienne has modified its company policies and now permits board members to engage in board meetings remotely. This is not only expected to improve adoption across the board, but also reinforce the company ethos and commitment to digitalisation. According to Foerster, “Diligent is a trigger, a driving force for a paperless environment. It has helped us accelerate La Parisienne’s objective of zero paper. By using Diligent Boards, we are showing our intention to build a modern world that goes beyond paperless.”