Q: How insurance customers’ needs are changing as we are increasingly moving from physical to digital interactions?
VIRGIL SONCUTEAN: Insurance customers’ needs didn’t change fundamentally. Customers want the same clear, transparent information and seamless interactions with the insurers.
When they are filling a claim for an urgent medical intervention or because their apartment was flooded by the next floor neighbours - which is clearly a time of great distress - customers expect their insurer to relieve their anxiety, not to intensify it.
What indeed changed is the customers’ behaviour, because the new technology came with new consumer habits. Above all, today’s customers are valuing companies that are able to provide them quick and convenient services covering perfectly their needs. That is why we are increasingly focusing on customer experience.
Q: What is Allianz-Tiriac doing in order to improve customer experience?
VIRGIL SONCUTEAN: Simplifying products, contractual agreements and the way customers reach and interact with Allianz-Tiriac products and services - these are the main areas addressed by the simplification philosophy.
Nowadays, one thing is certain in the insurance industry not only in Romania, but globally: the more you can simplify the processes and your customer’s life, the better.
I will give you some examples of what concrete actions we took at Allianz-Tiriac in this direction. We started to revise our products with the goal to make them simpler, more intuitive, and the first product we looked at were motor and property insurance for retail segment.
Based on detailed analysis on customer needs and preferences, the covered risks were grouped in predefined packages (4 for motor and 3 for property) from a very basic one to an extensive one. For the customers is easy to understand the simple structure and to chose the most suitable product according to their needs.
The simplifying philosophy applies not only to the product structure, but also to the contractual agreements. For the revised products we drafted benefits guides which explain the contractual agreements in simple terms, easy to understand by customers, which can be accessed on the company website.
Q: How does Allianz-Tiriac prepare for the next generation of customers?
VIRGIL SONCUTEAN: Millennials became the key generation when it comes to targeting consumer, but what they want are personalized experiences and services delivered wherever and whenever they want. In this context, apps become essential for businesses’ success or even survival as they help companies to better serve customers and personalize each client experience.
Allianz-Tiriac is in forefront of the digital transformation in the Romanian insurance market, launching a mobile app in 2015 and from then new features were constantly added.
For example, if you forgot to buy an insurance travel and you remember this when you are in the airport you can buy it directly in the app. You will be insured from the first moment when you landed to your destination.
Moreover, Allianz-Tiriac Mobile allows customers to pay their premiums, to register claims for life and health policies, to track the claim file status in real time or see the performance of the investment accounts attached to life policies, to give only a few examples.
As every industry nowadays, insurance market has to learn to work in a disruptive environment - transformed by digital, intuitive consumer experiences and the explosion of connected devices.
This disruptive environment triggered changes in the consumption habits which in their turn led to new insurance needs. For example, millennials – nowadays largest living generation - are not interested in the traditional insurance as much as their parents are, because they lack insurable assets. They prefer car sharing services or bikes to personal cars, renting a house than owning one. These new habits force the insurance industry to reinvent itself and come with news products addressing these new needs.
Moreover, millennials’ more alert lifestyle exposes them to more risks which can be covered by tailored life policies. For example, the frequency of serious diseases, like cancer, cardiovascular diseases are growing and is affecting more and more younger people too.
In this context, Allianz-Tiriac conducted recently an awareness life campaign through which we raise the flag on the importance of life insurance and the concrete support that life policies provide for the most important things for our customers.
Q: In this rapidly changing world, how does it help Allianz-Tiriac being part of a big global financial group?
VIRGIL SONCUTEAN: The obvious advantage of being part of a big financial group such as Allianz is to count on its financial soundness, which is a guarantee for our clients that we are here to help them whatever it happens.
With over 142,000 employees worldwide, Allianz Group serves 92 million customers in more than 70 countries. Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence. In 2018 Allianz Group achieved total revenues of 130.6 billion euros, which means almost two thirds of the Romania annual GDP.
Another clear advantage is the brand power. In the 2019 Interbrand Global Brand Rankings, Allianz has become the no.1 insurer globally with the brand value increasing from $10.8 billion in 2018 to $12.1 billion. Allianz increased brand value reflects a more relevant, consistent, global brand, transforming to fewer, intuitive products and services and rebalancing the business to high demand and profitability areas.
On the other hand, Allianz-Tiriac also contributed to the Allianz brand recognition, due to its excellent team of professionals who are always focused on clients’ satisfaction by advising them on best fitted products and supporting them when covered risks happen.
Q: Coming back to the Romanian market, how do you see the current landscape? How is Allianz-Tiriac positioning in this environment?
VIRGIL SONCUTEAN: The 2019 was another challenging year for the insurance industry. Motor, and particularly MTPL, continued to represent the most important business line for local insurers despite numerous challenges and restrictions. The local insurance industry is confronting with a significantly motor claims inflation which send again the overall non-life market on losses in the first half of the year.
In this context, an important challenge for insurers will be to drive forward with the promoting voluntary polices – property, life and health insurances.
Allianz-Tiriac has already embarked in this direction and is growing the market rhythm on the non-motor lines, which are strategic for us. To give you only an example, we increased sales by more than 14% on non-motor lines and more than 8% on the life segment in the first nine months.
In this context, Allianz-Tiriac finds itself in a unique position on the market: with a balanced portfolio consisting on around 50% non-motor gross premiums written and a solid profitability – which at the market level is still hard to achieve. This allows us not only to financially support our clients when they need and protect them even in volatile and turbulent economic times, but also to invest in innovation and make their interaction with Allianz-Tiriac products and services frictionless.
The clients should have in mind that profitability is the insurance policy for an insurer, because only with a strong financial soundness the promises can be kept for the both individual and society welfare.