In particular, our sales networks play a valuable and key role, as the satisfaction of our existing clients and our ability to attract new ones depends on them. However, we are demanding: as established in the Code of Conduct, we require them to conduct all operations in a fair and transparent manner, rejecting all forms of conduct that may constitute corruption or conflict of interest. Based on this, we are committed to developing products and services to prevent and manage the risks to which our clients may be exposed, to distribute them through reliable sources and to provide the access methods preferred by our clients, thus contributing to the transparency and efficiency of the market.
Generali has long been a multi-channel group and it has gradually expanded its range of distribution methods, from the traditional to the most innovative.
The traditional channels, based on personal contact with clients, include different professional figures with whom we have established long-term relationships to support the sustainable growth of the business by investing in skills development and innovative management tools.
- Agents directly represent the Group and mainly focus on meeting the needs of retail clients and small and medium enterprises.
- Brokers are the main independent channel and they directly represent the client, whether companies or individuals, with particular focus on the P&C segment.
- Financial advisers are mostly independent consultants and they form a specialised channel to provide a comprehensive offering that mainly consists of life insurance and supplementary pensions.
- Collaboration with the banks through partnership agreements with some Institutions allows us to offer complete, integrated insurance advice.
* Data refers to: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Spain, Switzerland
Direct channels are characterised by the absence of intermediaries and they enable us to reach our clients in a fast, dynamic manner through digital services delivered via call centres and the internet. This distribution method is particularly strong in Germany and Italy.
Towards a new distribution system
As is currently the case in many sectors, the insurance sector is required to manage rapid changes in the decision-making and behavioural profiles of consumers, who are increasingly sensitive to factors such as the speed of contact and response, ease of access and reduced transaction costs. In this context, digital connectivity is an essential starting point, but it cannot be the only one. We believe in the creation of a “phygital” environment that can integrate physical and digital contacts, and the Group is investing in this project with a long-term commitment.
In 2014, the direct channel was launched in Turkey – a young and rapidly expanding market with a strong predisposition to digital channels – to complement the traditional retail offerings provided through web, mobile media and call centres. This initiative is part of a larger project called Enable true multi-channel distribution, which aims to develop an innovative approach to multi-channel offerings.
This project will draw on the Group’s wealth of knowledge in direct sales. The project is being developed for some streams – the main ones being Lead Management & CRM, Distribution Platforms and Customer Portals – and its aim is to identify the relevant business activities, technological requirements and the set of indicators for the key countries.
This approach also encompasses the We, Demain initiative launched in 2013 in France, which is centred around three pillars:
- an organisation focused on specific client segments (individuals, affluent, professional & small enterprises, commercial) to provide each of them with a unique and valuable experience by offering customised products;
- a multi-channel approach provided by remote platforms;
- the support of intermediaries and the enhancement of direct channels through digitization.
Another important initiative is provided by CosmosDirekt, which aims to offer clients a superior quality experience using innovative technological solutions. Through an online platform that can be accessed from any device, clients can avail of a personalised consulting service and one-to-one support (including co-browsing) in real time via the call centres, ensuring a transparent and “tangible” relationship with the company.
While, therefore, for us the paradigm of a hybrid solution of physical and virtual connectivity holds true, one of the most important distribution channels is represented by captive networks which require dedicated tools, such as technology platforms, favouring the reasoned and documented interpretation of customer demands.
In this regard, during the first Global Sales - Distribution Networks event held in Vienna in December 2014, a workshop was organised that focused on the “live” review of Distribution Platforms, one of the most important streams within the Enable true multi-channel distribution project. During the event, the stage of digital development was identified for each country with regard to front-end sales and other innovations for the distribution network. The aim of the workshop was to accelerate our multi-channel journey towards client centricity.
Colleagues from various countries, as members of the new “community of experts”, had the opportunity to present and share best practices, creating the basis of common knowledge for future initiatives. The community of experts will be expanded further in 2015.
Costant attention to the regulation
Regulatory changes are a key element for our industry. For years, the distribution of insurance products has come under scrutiny from national and international legislators. In particular, the European Institutions are developing stricter rules and standards for the market: the protection of customers, greater transparency and the prevention of conflicts of interest are key elements of customer relationship management, whatever the method of contact. The impact of these standards will vary according to the different local conditions.
To turn these rules into opportunities for our clients and our partners, we constantly monitor legislative developments and we have launched an international initiative involving various company departments.
In this regard, specific activities have been developed to raise awareness within the Group and to define the possible actions and implications in order to support companies in the adoption of the new rules. To this end, and as the result of an intense preliminary phase, during the Global Sales – Distribution Networks event, the Group project BORA Wind of change in the EU Insurance Distribution Legislation was launched to follow the evolution of current legislative developments.
This time for sharing and exchange allowed us to form a community of experts who remain in constant contact with one another. The event was attended by colleagues of 17 business units and Head Office who were updated on the new regulations, especially in relation to the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD).
It also provided a forum for discussion where the next steps were defined in terms of concrete actions, opportunities, needs and expectations. As always, we believe that the sharing of information and opinions is essential in order to drive change.