Digitalisation leads 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, as the year 2020 has shown. 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
Countless digitalisation 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, the innovative IT platform "beesafe" has been launched, which offers a fully digitalised motor insurance service 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.
We also promote innovation through our investments, such as the Austrian venture capital fund IST Cube, which finances start-up projects in the technical and scientific areas. Together with three other investors, Vienna Insurance Group has also formed the insurtech fund VENPACE. Its goal is to search for, financially support and make use of young international technology companies.
In-house digitalisation pitch
Since 2018, 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.
Digital diversity in our group
Four examples of digitalisation at work
losleben app of Wiener Städtische Versicherung, Austria
The "losleben" app puts an end to paperwork. Customers with health insurance can submit bills from doctors or for medicines quickly and easily by photographing them and sending them to the insurance company via the app. Damages in household and homeowner insurance can also be reported in this way by uploading bills and pictures. The artificial intelligence in the background recognises the data on the invoice. This saves valuable time and customers receive their money more quickly. Car insurance and the digital symptom check "XUND" have also been integrated into the app. "losleben" is already by far the best-rated insurance app in Austria.
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.
WohnenNext digital household insurance of Donau Versicherung, Austria
Donau Versicherung’s "WohnenNext" allows customers to take out their household insurance easily and individually in just a few minutes. The focus of WohnenNext is clearly on the user. This applies to both design and functionality: the user can conclude the insurance easily and around the clock - including the immediate electronic delivery of the policy. This further strengthens customer satisfaction. WohnenNext was awarded first place in VIG’s innovation competition VIG Xelerate.
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 conks out 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.
Our Group’s own assistance in 12 countries
Currently, customers are already being serviced by VIG’s own assistance companies in 12 countries. The VIG assistance companies now handle more than 600,000 assistance cases per year with more than 400 employees. 2013 saw the launch of Global Assistance in the Czech Republic, the first assistance company in the VIG. This was followed by companies in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Latvia and Georgia. With the assistance companies founded in Serbia in 2022 and in Croatia in 2023, we serve the customers of the VIG Group in 12 countries (North Macedonia will be served from Bulgaria, and the company in Latvia will serve all three Baltic states by the end of 2022 at the latest). 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.
Since the beginning of 2022, assistance cases within the participating VIG countries can also be processed digitally networked and provide policyholders with fast and precise assistance even when abroad.
With Global Assistance Services, an assistance IT company was also founded in Prague, which acts as a development, sales and billing hub for the company’s own software solution.
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 successful "losleben" app was the first project launched by viesure.
Plug and Play – building partnerships in Silicon Valley
Vienna Insurance Group and Wiener Städtische Versicherung are Founding Partners of the leading global innovation platform Plug and Play Tech Center. Our cooperation with the Silicon Valley-based platform enables 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.
Focus on e-mobility
We also want to offer highly trained underwriters and corresponding sustainably oriented insurance solutions and take advantage of opportunities that arise in the important topic of sustainability. This applies, for example, to e-mobility, which still plays a very minor role in our markets but will gain in importance. Currently, the share of e-cars is estimated at 1%. We need to sharpen our group-wide underwriting know-how here as well, since the claims behaviour of e-cars is different from that of combustion cars.
Driverless vehicles still a long way off
Driverless vehicles are a hot topic. 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 cyberattacks 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.
We deal intensively with current developments in mobility and set our own focus areas here. 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.Managing board member Gábor Lehel, CIO
Innovative mobility solutions
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 responded to this trend with the digital vehicle insurance product "beesafe", which was launched in 2020 as a pilot project on the Polish market with the VIG company Compensa. With "beesafe", motor insurance can be taken out purely online. It focuses on the creation of completely digital insurance processes and the inclusion of all digital customer touch points. Motor insurance policies that can be easily selected and concluded online form the basis. 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. In the meantime, beesafe already has more than 200,000 customers.
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 a wide range of 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. If the pilot project proves to be successful, it is planned to extend it to other VIG countries.