Allianz: Get ready for a better, borderless world
“There are a few moments in history where everyone remembers where they were: for the older generation the moon landing, for most of us 9.11 and for every one of us when COVID as a pandemic was changing our lives drastically. What these moments have in common is that they bring us as people together: there were less boundaries, we all had the same fears or joy, the same questions or hopes. With the pandemic specifically, we also started to take better care of our bodies and minds.”, says Sirma Boshnakova, member of the Board of Management of Allianz SE and CEO of Allianz Partners. We spoke with Sirma about the human consequences of the pandemic and the omnipresent wish of being connected.
Now that most of the world has turned back to normality, Sirma encourages everyone to get ready to take back control, live a healthier life with seamless access, return to people and places and get ready for the future of mobility with greater freedom and a smaller footprint. A world with fewer borders and more ecosystems where humans are at the heart. And she calls out to insurers to realise the future is not ‘just’ digital, it is personal and therefore insurers should act and help people get ready for the best of what tomorrow will bring.
In the past few years, during and because of the pandemic, insurers have achieved a lot when it comes to digitization.
Sirma: “We need to applaud the entire industry for this, as this has accelerated the entire insurance industry. Think about integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of things, and digitalizing the customer interfaces. Of course, in the end, humans made the biggest change, enabled by these technologies. At Allianz, it is all about connecting with people on a human level, and making sure technologies used provide people safety and protection and therefore peace of mind. In truth, technologies mark a turning point: they are enabling us to predict and prevent acute issues instead of just fixing them when they happen. So broadly speaking, we want to secure your future. And believe me, our purpose helped us a lot to get out of this pandemic crisis as a much stronger community. Technology united us and actually brought us much closer than we have ever thought of.”
Totally agree that a lot has been achieved in the past years, but in your view, what are the specific areas where significant steps still need to be made?
Sirma: “Yes, we can definitely argue whether really all opportunities are taken. For instance, what is needed to make people fall in love with us? This is not that difficult, it is about making sure people feel safe, connected, and free, with insurers delighting them with smooth experiences and removing pain points in their lives. It is about bringing value in their lives. To leapfrog, insurers and the industry should move away from a fragmented approach and deliver a seamless end to end journey to customers. This can be achieved by building a one- stop-digital-shop that is combining insurance with relevant services – according to customer logic – and covering all aspects of their lives. All this just a click away.”
Can you make this more concrete, with an example, for instance from Allianz?
Sirma: “Technology helps people see the world. One of our initiatives is Allyz. Allyz was launched in November 2021 and offers travelers one place to get the insurance and services they need. With Allyz, you have an all-in-one travel companion. Allyz is there for travelers when it matters, connecting them to reliable medical care if they need it during their trip. And Allyz is there for travelers in small ways, too, keeping them comfortable during flight delays with free access to airport lounges wherever travelers go.
Digital makes travel personal, giving travelers smart tools at their fingertips, tools that make it simpler to visit the real people and places they love. Keeping travelers organized with details for all their trips and important updates all in one place, inspiring them to explore new things, giving them travel advice to help them go confidently, and keeping them safe when things change. With real time destination alerts.”
So how does that work from a customer point of view?
Sirma: “Allyz includes support and protection before, during and after their travel. For example, if your flight is delayed for one hour and more, you have access to the lounge where you can relax and also invite your family and friends. During your trip, you get quickly and timely suggestions. If you have issues with your health or you have some health topics there is also a complimentary hotline that is allowing you to sort out your problems. And after your journey, Allyz is checking automatically if you are eligible for compensation if your flight was delayed or cancelled. For us, Allyz is about giving people the feeling of freedom and flexibility they seek in the new era.”
That sounds like a mantra that goes beyond travel and is applicable to many customer contexts …
Sirma: “Yes, definitely. Allianz has similar apps for home insurance, the Easy Living Platform, where it provides services that make people’s lives easier or an app in health that gives access to digital care when you do not feel well or need to make an appointment in hospital.
In all these developments, we see two success factors: developing the platforms in a way they quickly become self-financing and secondly building features based on customer logic with the opportunity to grow in a sustainable way.”
Both Allyz and the Easy Living Platform provide services beyond the traditional insurance covers; new added value for customers beyond the insurance need. Can you share some of the success factors?
Sirma: “We need to be aware that such a role is not a play for a single company. We understand that customer success with concepts as Allyz and the Easy Living Platform can only be reached by creating partnerships. Let me share five important conditions. Firstly, remove all barriers and frictions. Secondly, share data in a compliant manner, which is crucial to realise peace of mind. Thirdly, there must be a generous will to partner with others and seek for partners that are adding to the value chain. Fourthly, embrace scalability instead of fragmented solutions. And finally, make a generous move from problem solving to actively mitigating risks and predicting and preventing acute issues for clients. Ideally, all insurers and insurtechs should jointly build one place and gateway for peoples’ lives to give them peace of mind so that they can live life to the fullest.”