Once they forge a partnership with Generali Osiguranje, we want our clients to say that they would use this type of insurance as long as they live. This is the loftiest goal in insurance, namely that Generali is the first thing that comes to client’s mind when they decide to buy insurance.
Generali Osiguranje is an international company based in Italy, which is also our dominant market. This means that the Italian spirit prevails in all 50 countries that we do business in. Italians are direct communicators, both in life and business and in that, they are similar to people in Serbia. This year, our company celebrates its 190th anniversary, and we want to show and remind everyone of the strength of our brand,” Dragan Filipović, the Chairman of the Executive Board, says in his interview for InFocus Italy.
How would you rate the first half of this year in terms of the insurance sector? How much has Covid-19 changed the insurance business?
Regarding the first quarter of 2021, I like to compare last year and this year in the following way – in the first quarter of last year, the market was devoid of the coronavirus’ influence, and only nine months later, it was directly impacted by the virus. This year, we are moving in the opposite direction, as things are at the moment. There is a strong probability that the last three months of this year will be unscathed by the coronavirus, and we cannot wait to see something like that happening. The results accomplished by the insurance sector in the first quarter of this year and those achieved in the same period last year are uncomparable.
What is certain is that all the processes related to digitalization and automation have been greatly expedited, that people have worked more from home than they ever planned to and that they can quickly adapt. The whole insurance industry has been pushed forward and it has responded to clients’ demands to be fast, efficient and helpful in selling our products at a distance, meaning digitally. But most of the insurance companies have enabled clients to report damages themselves and have their claims liquidated and paid remotely, which was something we could have only dreamed of up until last year.
I keep saying that a satisfied employee and a satisfied customer are the two pillars for the success of any company
What results did Generali Osiguranje achieve?
We are very pleased with the results. Last year, we were the most profitable insurance company on the Serbian market for the tenth consecutive year. We are leaders in life insurance with a market share of about 30%, and for 15 years in a row, we have been leaders in health insurance with a 40% share. I am underlining the timeframe of 10 and 15 years on purpose because it shows the constancy and sustainability of a certain result, which is the line in our strategy that promotes sustainable growth and sustainable profitability.
We have recorded the consistency of results and success thanks to all of our 2,000 employees who have been undergoing training and education, are completely dedicated to their work, are productive and make a great contribution to the overall results of the company.
The global economic crisis has expedited the need for digitalization. How did you adjust your business to the current trends?
Our industry will always depend on human contact. Insurance requires the trust and contact between two people – a sales agent and a client. No matter how far digitalization goes, that ultimate judgment gained from physical contact will always be important. But the background processes can and should be digitized. Process digitization enables our agent to be closer to the client, to be able to tailor the product to the client’s needs on the spot, to issue an insurance policy quickly and to respond to the client’s request quickly. That is the essence we are working on.
We were able to switch to remote work very quickly only because, three years, ago we allowed our employees to work from home twice a week, as we were keen to create a work/life balance for our staff. Back then, we developed a good infrastructure so when the coronavirus hit, we did not find ourselves in a big problem. In practice, instead of 100 employees, we quickly switched 1,000 employees who worked remotely. We also automated many other processes before the onset of the pandemic. However, the coronavirus accelerated their application and forced us to further improve these processes. For example, four robots processed over 14,000 damage claims last year. These robots did not replace humans – they just took over those repetitive jobs that people do day in and day out. And we transferred those workers to do other, more creative jobs.
We were also the first insurance company on the market to enable our clients to report the damages by themselves. For instance, when a client is involved in a car accident, all they had to do was to follow our 5-6-step-instructions via mobile phone to record the damage which was then sent via the application to our centre. Once that is done, we enter the record of the damage into our system, assess it and pay the client out. These are the things that exist in modern countries of the world, and Generali Osiguranje Srbija is proud to have made it available to its clients in the same way.
We will launch a big global group campaign, followed by a local one that will usher us into the jubilee celebration
In late 2020, Generali Osiguranje Srbija received prestigious awards for its outstanding relationship with clients and associates. What does this mean for you, and what for the company?
It means a lot to me personally, since I am the head of the company, but I see the company as a family so I like to say that I am the first among equals. All those awards we receive only encourage us to persevere on our path and to continue improving. I keep saying that a satisfied employee and a satisfied customer are the two pillars for the success of any company.
Our employees, who have daily contact with our clients, are our company’s ambassadors. They are the true image and mirror of our company, and my task and role are to provide them with the ambience and atmosphere which encourage them to develop, to feel passionately for their work, to love the company in which they work and to be focused on customer satisfaction.
Our ambition is to first have satisfied employees who will transfer their energy and satisfaction to the client. A lot needs to be done to achieve that. We conduct surveys every two years with over 200 questions among our employees about the degree of satisfaction they have with the company they work for. The answers we get are a roadmap for steps to take in the next two years to improve everything our employees have given us.
How does Generali Osiguranje manage to take care of all this? You also have successful cooperation with Novak Djoković. Tell us more about that cooperation.
We are very proud of and we enjoy this partnership which is in its fourth year. The idea is to help families who cannot fund the development, upbringing and education of their children in the right way, through educational conversations. Together, we organize forums with psychologists throughout our country where families with different personal experiences are exchanging experiences and have conversations. We give personal contributions and exchange ideas too. That shine in the eyes of the participating families and their gratitude for helping them to raise their children properly regardless of their financial situation are invaluable. We feel great satisfaction when we see that.
This exceptional partnership has also been recognized at the Group level. We have been awarded for everything we have done in the previous three years and we will keep on doing what we have been doing. Worldwide, Generali wants to help the communities in which it operates. We have long been recognized as a company that competes not only how much profit it will make but also how many good socially responsible projects it will launch and implement.
In 2021 Generali celebrates its 190th anniversary. How do you plan to mark it? How does it feel to work for a company that has been in business for 190 years?
2021 is a jubilee year for us. Working in a company that has existed for 190 years is not a small thing. The world went through a lot in those 190 years and our company has managed to overcome all that together with the rest of the world. We not only survived but became stronger and stronger. This April, I celebrated ten years of me working for Generali, so I have contributed 10 to those 190 years.
We have a lot of plans on how to celebrate the jubilee. We will launch a big global group campaign, followed by a local one that will usher us into the jubilee celebration. This will be a brand campaign that will demonstrate the strength of our brand and remind people of the strength of our company because partnering with Generali, a financial institution that has existed for 190 years, is no small thing. It shows stability and promotes trust with our clients.