Digitalisation will lead to some radical changes.
Also in the insurance industry. In order to capitalise on the resulting opportunities, Vienna Insurance Group is already concentrating on the insurance of the future.
Fit for the future
Digitalisation is changing the world – and we’re moving in step with it
The job of an insurance company is to mitigate future risks. To do this you need to keep your eyes firmly focused on the future. This ability, which sets Vienna Insurance Group apart, is particularly sought after at the moment because the world is changing rapidly due to digitalisation. It’s changing what customers expect from companies. It’s changing the way companies work. And it’s changing our Group, too.
Partner for Generation Y
In just a few years’ time, Generation Y will account for half of the Group’s potential customers. These young people have grown up with the internet. They expect an insurance partner to fit in with their digital, flexible world.
We want to be a partner for generations to come, and we are already working hard to achieve this. We are convinced that shaping the future is the best way to be able to predict it.
Risk coverage in tandem with services
We are capitalising on the new possibilities and opportunities that are opening up. These include offering added value on top of the primary function of covering risks, and sharpening the Group’s position as a service provider.
Closer interconnectedness between people and devices can help to prevent certain risks. For instance, computer-based systems in the home can provide early warnings of potential harm, or take preventive steps automatically.
In the mobility sector, the sharing economy is growing in significance. Driverless vehicles will lead to completely new risk parameters and insurance models. And the trend towards greater personalisation will pave the way for made-to-measure premiums and services.
The Group’s insurance companies are already making strides in all of these areas.
The digital revolution has energised the youthful and creative start-up scene. A host of fintechs and insurtechs have come up with innovative digital solutions for the financial services sector. We are forging new partnerships which allow us to capitalise on access to the start-up scene and the cutting-edge solutions it can provide.
Stroke of luck – the digital East
Our focus on CEE is fortunate: people in the region are particularly willing to embrace digital solutions. Indeed, we could hardly wish for a better environment for our forward-looking initiatives.
But regardless of whether people take out insurance using an app or after talking to their personal adviser, VIG’s promise will remain the same in the future: protecting what matters.
Any time, any place, any way
We’re investing about EUR 50 million a year in digitalisation. And over 180 projects are currently under way across the Group. We have launched an internal Group-wide digitalisation competition and entered into several collaborations with creative spaces and start-ups. The Group also has an internal corporate start-up which is dedicated to digital customer service.
The big picture
We are at the heart of the action when it comes to offering customer service any time, any place and any way. VIG Holding has also developed a digital vision that is driving the digital transformation and guiding the exchange of expertise between the Group’s insurance companies. If several Group companies or countries require a particular solution, it is developed in the place where the requisite expertise is already available. Once the solution has been implemented, other Group companies can adopt it with the minimum of cost and effort.
We are working hard to address the full range of innovative topics related to digitalisation. These include process automation using artificial intelligence, claims processing and direct conclusion of contracts via apps, and generating personalised motor insurance premiums in real-time. In Poland, an innovative IT platform which offers a fully digitalised motor insurance service is being launched to target the country’s growing number of online-savvy customers.
Hand in hand with the innovation scene
Maintaining close links with the innovation scene is also important, and our partnership with Digital Impact Lab Leipzig is one of the ways in which we are achieving this. Taking advantage of access to the lab’s insurtech network is enabling us to expand our practical knowledge of technological innovations like blockchain technology, and to implement innovation projects focused on topics such as product development and the use of big data.
In-house digitalisation pitch
Group companies are encouraged to enter their digitalisation projects for the VIG Xelerate competition. The best projects receive awards and financial backing if there is a clear benefit for the Group and the market in question, and if implementation will lead to a significant improvement in performance indicators. A new Group-wide web platform called Digital Base has also been launched to promote cooperation and the exchange of digitalisation-related best practice.
Digital diversity in our group
Four examples of digitalisation at work
Klara – the digital advisory tool from Donau Versicherung, Austria
Klara offers customers advice tailored to their personal situations via mobile devices. The digital advisory software conforms to the new Europe-wide Insurance Distribution Directive or IDD. The tool is also being used by Group companies in the Baltics and Romania, making it a prime example of the successful transfer of ideas within the Group.
Fitpuli – a health and lifestyle app from Union Biztosító, Hungary
The app is currently available for corporate customers and is integrated into group health insurance policies. It is compatible with most of the fitness wristbands and trackers available on the market, as well as smartwatches, but can also be used without them. Fitpuli helps to raise users’ awareness of their personal health and provides feedback on daily physical activity. The gamification elements are aimed at motivating people to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Health app from Wiener Städtische Versicherung, Austria
The app enables health insurance policyholders to quickly and easily submit claims for reimbursement of doctors’ bills and medication expenses by photographing the receipts. The data contained in the documentation is recognised automatically thanks to artificial intelligence programs running in the background. This saves valuable time and means that customers can receive payments more quickly.
The B-Assist app from Bulstrad Life, Bulgaria
At the press of a button, the app shows the customer all of the details of their insurance and nearby medical facilities. It is also possible to arrange a doctor’s appointment quickly and easily, and the app sends a reminder for the appointment, as well as supporting secure data transfer.
Helping where help is needed
A car gives up the ghost in the middle of nowhere. The customer picks up their mobile and calls the Global Assistance service hotline. With the help of an app, the customer can track when the breakdown service will arrive and in what vehicle. The breakdown service knows exactly where to find the stranded vehicle and then tows it to the nearest repair shop. This is just one of the many forms of added value that VIG offers customers with its assistance services.
Cutting-edge in-house development
We developed our breakdown and accident assistance software in-house, and it is one of the most up-to-date systems in use anywhere in Europe. The Group’s assistance companies can also use the software to organise and process digital services that include the option of travel and home assistance.
Over 400,000 assistance cases a year
The Group currently has five assistance companies – in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – that handle over 400,000 assistance cases annually. In spring 2020, our insurance company BTA launched assistance services in Latvia. Expansion to Lithuania and Estonia is also planned, as is a new Global Assistance company in Serbia. Our goal is to improve service for customers, giving them rapid support under one roof using the latest technology. The Group’s control over the claims management process cycle – from initial contact to payment of compensation – gives it significant influence over its own service quality, allowing it to achieve continuous improvements.
The structure of our Global Assistance companies enables them to provide services to business outside the Group. The Czech Global Assistance company currently does 30% of its business with third parties. And our state-of-the-art GPS tracking system, which was developed in-house, is used by a major Austrian automobile association.
In order to provide our customers with even better support, we are working as a team with our insurance companies and our assistance companies on new services and, above all, new digital communication options. We are focusing on the expansion of assistance services in order to increase our relevance for our customers through customer benefits and customer proximity and to be able to provide them with the best possible long-term support.Managing Board member Harald Riener
Viesure – our corporate start-up
Digital customer service is the focus for viesure, the Group’s first start-up. Managed by VIG’s largest insurance company, Wiener Städtische Versicherung, the new business’s activities are based on purely digital interaction with insurance customers. Simplicity, speed and transparency are vital when creating a digital ecosystem. viesure has set up an expert team dedicated to the key topic of artificial intelligence, which is working on redeveloping internal processes and automating them to the greatest possible extent. Wiener Städtische Versicherung’s health app was the first project launched by viesure.
Plug and Play – building partnerships in Silicon Valley
Vienna Insurance Group and Wiener Städtische Versicherung have recently joined Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Center, the leading global innovation platform, as Founding Partners. Our cooperation with the platform will enable us to work with start-ups in Vienna, Munich and Silicon Valley on selected topics, and give us access to over 15,000 approved start-ups. In comparison with other similar innovation platforms, the major benefit for us is that, after we have specifically defined our requirements, Plug and Play can introduce us to specially selected start-ups which can offer or are developing suitable solutions. Plug and Play’s Munich hub is particularly promising due to its strong focus on insurtech. We are focusing on innovations in our core business.
Mobility for the future
As the largest motor insurer in CEE with around eleven million insured vehicles, we’re examining future trends related to mobility. This is why we launched our Motor Strategy Lab, an initiative involving VIG insurance companies with the highest relevance in the motor insurance sector.
A group of mobility experts from VIG’s largest insurance companies is working on strategies which will enable the Group to most effectively satisfy customers’ changing requirements in the future. The lab will concentrate on two core topics: the technical progress and the effects of digitalisation on changes in consumer behaviour.
User-friendly mobility solutions
We’re responding to the trend towards straight-forward mobility solutions based on sharing economy models. An increasing number of customers don’t want to own a car, but still want to be mobile. And we’re catering to this group through our partnership with the German mobility start-up ViveLaCar. The platform enables customers to book vehicles online by completing a fully digitalised process without having to make a risky financial commitment or go through any bureaucratic procedures.
Driverless vehicles still a long way off
Driverless vehicles are a hot topic which is being addressed by the motor strategy lab, although they are not the number one priority. It will take decades until we see fully autonomous, driverless vehicles. According to some predictions, until at least 2050 and beyond we’ll have a hybrid system that combines conventional vehicles with drivers and driverless ones. So before that happens, we need to address some very significant points related to liability and the resulting insurance benefits. On top of that, we’ll face new risks such as hacker attacks on systems or faults in autonomous vehicles’ sensors. Third-party vehicle liability insurance will remain a guide for the quick and straightforward payment of compensation.
As we see it, we’re making a transition from being a vehicle insurance provider to a mobility provider. In future, vehicles will take on a whole new significance. Besides taking people from A to B, these vehicles will also serve as a place to generate added value. We want to play a part in the shift towards mobility as a service, and make sure the focus is on the customer.Deputy General Manager and Managing Board member Franz Fuchs
Innovative mobility solutions
ViveLaCar – groundbreaking subscription platform
Our investment in Stuttgart-based start-up ViveLaCar GmbH demonstrates our proactive approach when it comes to flexible mobility. The mobility start-up is aimed at people who are looking for a quick and simple way to gain access to a car for a specific period of time. Customers sign up online for a vehicle from an authorised dealer, selecting a fixed monthly price based on a subscription model. They pick up their car from the dealer and return it at the end of the agreed subscription period. All of the associated costs except fuel are included in the subscription charge.
Young target groups
ViveLaCar’s model is aimed at customer groups such as expatriates who need a car while completing a project abroad, or businesses that want the flexibility to expand their vehicle fleets with subscriptions in response to changing demand. The target group also includes young people who are planning to start a family and starting out on their career, as they are reluctant to enter into long-term commitments or take on financial obligations to gain access to a car at this stage of their lives. The innovative subscription model is also suitable for drivers who would like to try out an electric car before deciding whether to buy one.
Innovative digital insurance model
The number of digital-savvy customers who mainly take out insurance online is growing. These people no longer contact insurers in conventional ways and can end up falling through the net. We are responding to this trend with a range of digital vehicle insurance products that can be taken out online and are designed to meet customers’ current needs. The Group is creating an innovative digital insurance model. At its heart is a state-of-the-art IT platform that will enable us to react rapidly and flexibly to changes in customer requirements and the market. To achieve this we are harnessing the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, and turning our attention to customer-centred innovations.
Pilot project launched in Poland
Poland has the largest non-life insurance market in the CEE region, but that’s not the only reason we chose to implement a pilot project there. It is already served by six digital insurers, which provides an excellent opportunity to effectively monitor how our services resonate with customers. VIG is very well positioned in Poland’s non-life sector and we are represented in the country by our direct insurance brand Benefia24 – through Group insurance company Compensa – which provides us with insights into the direct insurance business.