In 2019, Generali Česká pojišťovna, the largest insurance company in the country with three million clients, was born out of the merger of Generali and Česká pojišťovna with the goal to preserve the best of both worlds: Czech quality and reliability on one hand, and Italian dynamics in the world of technology on the other. Currently, the company is committed to better understanding their clients to include their input into the development of new products and digital tools.
Tradition, stability, competent consultants and great products – that’s what the clients of Česká pojišťovna valued most. Generali, on the other hand, was always a more dynamic company, offering better prices and unafraid of change and new technology. And despite many clients feeling concerned about the merger, the newly formed company is optimistic, gradually modernizing a strong, stable insurance company and preparing it for the challenges represented by the new generation of customers.
The company’s new strategy is now focused on life and property insurance, and insurance products for small and medium businesses. “We are an all-purpose insurance company, and that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. We offer all types of insurance, and that’s a benefit, but it comes with a plethora of backoffice processes and a certain unavoidable level of complexity, and that’s a drawback,” says Marian Zelko, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer of Generali Česká pojišťovna.
„We don’t want to be seen as mere insurance salespeople. We want people to see us as life-long partners who understand them and their needs. We believe in our consultants and their ‘phygital advice’ built on personal relationships, backed by great tools and systems that allow us to make our clients truly engaged in the process of setting up their insurance.“Marian Zelko, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, Generali Česká pojišťovna.
The company’s clients are getting older – on average, they are 54 years old now. And while they are still important to the company – their children are now grown, and they still maintain active lifestyles – Zelko admits that the company knows it needs to attract young people too: “Our new strategy is aimed at people between the ages of 25 and 40. And these people want flexibility. They want the ability to turn their products on and off whenever they like. To adjust coverage as they see fit. And they don’t want to be limited by a single communication channel – they want to choose the one that suits them, they want to receive their notifications on Whatsapp, for instance. Now, we know that we have some catching up to do in terms of omnichannel, so we are currently analysing the wants and needs of this generation to see what areas need improvement.”
In the past few years, the company has been hard at work to improve its integration and digitalization level. Now, there is just one client database, and much effort and resources are aimed at integration of various systems with the goal to make them user friendly for employees and insurance consultants alike. Plans to build a new CRM system are in place, and the company is now mapping their customers’ journey to do just that.
The company believes in so-called “phygital advice” where in-person consultations are still at the centre of attention, but now supported with handy digital tools – like their internal consulting system called REDy. Another example of the new systemic measures is the colour code: “We are currently testing the colour-code-based system in three regions. This system allows our insurance agents to see how long it has been since their last contact with a client. Grey means five years, while green means they are in contact right now. Our goal is to motivate our people to make the entire portfolio bright green,” Zelko explains.
The company wants their agents to become true partners to their clients, thus increasing their satisfaction. Every employee should be able to listen to the clients, understand their problems, and tune into their needs. “I myself call my clients regularly, and I try to motivate my colleagues to do the same,” says the marketing chief. According to Zelko, the company also aims to get rid of complex terminology and move towards plain language: “Every normal person, like my mom, must be able to understand everything. Every email, every text message must be clear. At the same time, we are moving towards more personalized communication, getting rid of impersonal mass emails.”
Generali Česká pojišťovna has also started experimenting with personalized videos. Their suppliers make them using information like the client’s name or the products they use, creating truly personal videos about their life, their story. And when it’s someone’s birthday, the company will send them a Spotify playlist with tracks from the year they turned 18. “We get a lot of positive feedback on that. Great customer experience is all about details, and this is the type of thing that turns a good experience into something exceptional.”
The company uses questionnaires to monitor customer experience at seven touch points like sales, service, handling of insurance events or contract cancellations. Their client NPS (net promoter score) is currently at 60 points – the best result the company has ever seen so far. Aside from the client NPS, the company also monitors the distribution NPS to understand how satisfied the salespeople and insurance agents are with the company’s processes and communication.
However, not every consultant has a shiny “Generali Česká pojišťovna” plaque at their office door. In the Czech Republic, many people use independent financial consultants, and the company tracks their NPS too. “How clients perceive their individual brand is key for independent financial consultants, but they care about the quality of the insurance company’s services as well. For us, it’s important to take good care of both sides,” Zelko explains.
A so-called relationship NPS that explores the general population’s experience with the company is also on their radar. The data is collected using phone calls or emails directed at a randomly selected sample of the Czech population. “This is the key indicator for the group and currently, 20% of all my goals are related to this one indicator,” the marketing chief adds to explain the importance of this metric.
According to the latest survey, the employees saw the company mostly as a sales-driven business, and the leadership realized that to shift that perception to customer-driven, they would need to change the internal structure. So, the company was reorganized around the customer journey, and a new Customer Insights and Research department was created and filled with UX designers, testers, and developers: “Before we start programming something, we first need to discuss and test it with our customers. For instance, we are now on a fifth prototype of our new Client section app, with plans to launch it in the spring. We went through many prototypes and focus groups to arrive at this version, so I am sure it will be a success right from the get-go.”
The first version of the app will cover six main topics: contracts, requests, portfolio, payments, insured events, online product sales, prevention, and status, with Zelko seeing a lot of space for improvement in the last few items on the list: “A client is often fine with waiting a week, but they need to know what they are waiting for and why,” he concludes.