Eurapco: eight is great! Since the Italian Reale Mutua Group joined in early 2016, the Eurapco Alliance has been made up of eight partners. Together, we serve more than 40 million customers in eighteen European countries. Our customers: that is what we are all about. Today, in 2016, customers expect fast, clear, high-quality services. Increasingly, those services need to be mobile. So how do we innovate, and are we innovating at a sufficiently fast pace?
Eurapco and its Partners are adapting to our customers’ demands for innovation. For this reason, we have recently redefined our strategy. I am convinced this works. Until 2015 Eurapco’s primary role was exchanging knowledge. The new mission of Eurapco is to empower the Partners to help each other to execute their strategies better, faster or in a more cost effective manner. With more emphasis on finding joint business opportunities. We do this primarily through impactful cooperation and by inspiring one another – by sharing ideas and concepts. The actual implementation is performed by the partners themselves. In this way, we learn and innovate together while the individual Partners still add their own personal touch. This is important in maintaining the local flavour and ensures that we remain compliant with European competition legislation.
Innovation: what does it mean for our industry?
Innovation impacts the insurance industry as a whole, whether we like it or not. A trend like digitalisation for example creates a whole new playing field. A worldwide survey of insurers by KPMG has shown that our industry is struggling with the impact of innovation. KPMG’s most important conclusion from the survey: insurers are aware of the need for innovation, but they struggle to set it in motion. If the current insurance companies fail to do so, other parties will take over. These can be start-ups, but also companies that are now in a different business, like Google.
Luckily for our customers, the struggle is not entirely true for Eurapco. I can assure you that Eurapco and its Partners recognise the need for innovation and are actively working to achieve their innovative goals. We not only plan, we do. For example: in September 2015 we published a very detailed report on self-driving cars. In this report, leading experts from our Partners identify the trends and developments in the domain of self-driving cars. They were able to make the impact on the insurance industry visible. The conclusions proved highly valuable and were well received by our insurers’ respective boards of directors. Another example is a knowledge exchange workshop held in our offices in Zurich on 4th of February 2016 focusing on the impact of wearables technology in the life and healthcare business. Our customers are increasingly using wearables to assess their personal health, which is a development we want to respond to through our services.
Share and innovate
Innovation can be extensive and disruptive, but it can also be small. I believe that many major changes initially started small. The process of change starts with having an open mind to new ideas and listen to your customers and employees. They know what factors are involved, what they need, and how we can respond to those needs in the best way. Innovation is not out of reach; quite the opposite! We, as large insurance organisations, need to listen to our customers and collaborate with small, innovative players, such as start-ups. In that way we can act fast and move forward. This also means having confidence in our employees and giving them the opportunity to innovate and develop new products and services.
Sharing & innovating
In order for this to happen, European insurance groups and their leaders need to be prepared to reveal their vulnerabilities. This creates space to respond to new developments and acquire new know-how quickly. To achieve this, we need to share knowledge, jointly assist European customers, and look beyond our own business.
I have great trust in our customers and employees and I am convinced that real innovation comes from them. So what opportunities do you see for the insurance business? I think 2016 was a great year, but let’s make 2017 even better! Share your thoughts and ideas, with your colleagues or with me. You can post these in a reaction under this blog.
But first, enjoy your holidays. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. What do you promise yourself in 2017? Let’s make that change happen together!
Wilma de Bruijn, General Manager of Eurapco.