Allianz has teamed up with global media brand Monocle (monocle.com/about) to go beyond the usual headlines and launch The Newsroom: a resource packed with insights and hope­ful partnerships. The aim? To share the ideas and expertise that come with being the world’s largest insurer and asset manager but also to draw attention to lesser known human stories and understand partnerships and initiatives that improve people’s lives.
 
Intrigued? Well, you can find more stories like this in The Monocle Minute email newslet­ter every morning (monocle.com/minute) and on Monocle 24’s weekday news show The Briefing
(monocle.com/radio/shows/the-briefing).

Jun 24, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Listen here to the full interview with Monocle Magazine and Allianz Chief Economist, Ludovic Subran.

Jun 22, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Allianz is the world’s largest insurer and asset manager and we asked its chief economist, Ludovic Subran, for some global insights on understanding the pitfalls and benefits of the home office.

How has the world of work changed?
It certainly awoke the conservative CEOs and leaders out there who are completely against any type of home office; those who thought that people were worth the square metres they occupied in their open spaces in the middle of an urban, densely populated area. It’s shown even the least convinced people that people actually can work from home and be quite productive. It’s a type of freedom that I think the bigger companies were reluctant to give to some of their employees.  

So we’ll all work from home in future?
The all-home office strategy is dangerous. The question that workers should ask is whether there is a higher risk of automation, robotisation, outsourcing of those tasks, especially the lower value-added ones that happen to be done from home? That’s the caveat that I see to the home office “kumbaya moment” we are living in.  

How are you thinking about it?
I would like to make sure that people see the benefit of working together and that there are some productivity costs, misunderstandings, misalignments; planning creatively is very hard. At Allianz, for example, we are talking about new work models; workers should demand that their company thinks holistically about what it really means. The other risk is mobility; are you considered for promotion as much when you don’t see the ethos of your working environment?

So there are benefits to being together in an office too?
This is about trying to make sure that learning opportunities, career opportunities and group creativity can still happen. It’s easy to move a soloist but much harder to move the orchestra. Now that everybody’s playing the instruments from wherever they are, I don’t think it is that easy to get everybody in tune and to play a symphony. 

For more insights, listen to the full half-hour interview here.

Jun 19, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Allianz is the world’s largest insurer and asset manager – we asked its chief economist, Ludovic Subran, for some insights to help understand the current numbers around international debt. What will this crisis cost us? For the public sector, the relief measures have been very costly: to the tune of trillions or between five and 10 per cent of  gdp. Some will double. This will increase debt-to-gdp  levels across the world by 10 percentage points, maybe 15 to 20 depending on the country. How different is this from before? In Europe we have the Maastricht Criteria, which was [that debt could be no higher than] 60 per  cent  of  gdp.  I  think  most  of  the  countries  now  will  accept  that  100  or  even  115  is  going  to be the new 60. What can be done to mitigate the risks? The good news in all of this is that governments are actually borrowing at very low real interest rates.  So,  in  a  sense,  you  don’t  need  to  massively  reduce  expenditures  or  to  massively  increase corporate taxes just after this crisis. What do we need to watch out for? We need to be careful not to zombify the economies. For example, we need to be careful that some governments might actually use the very low cost of debt to finance some sectors and therefore to create even more debt by keeping some of these companies alive for the wrong reasons. For more insights, listen to the full half-hour interview here.

Jun 17, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

With a global recession underway, Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran thinks agility needs to be a watchword – rather than a mere buzzword – for businesses that want to survive. “It’s a real game-changer; companies are trying not to waste this crisis and to adapt. We know that facing uncertain hazards will be the new normal for so many businesses,” says Subran, who tempers the advice to be agile with the suggestion for entrepreneurs and firms that caution is key to weathering the storm. “Risk awareness and maybe risk aversion are going to be part of business life 2.0. It’s going to be very Darwinian when it comes to businesses – the most agile will survive. Those that were already fragile before the crisis may not actually make it after.” Not quite business as usual then.

Jun 15, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Any business going bust is bad news but the current crisis has tipped entire industries into the red. The service sector is in trouble according to Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran but he’s optimistic that it could bounce back as confidence returns. “There have been massive changes in expenditures; sheltering at home has meant fewer people needing to take ride shares, rent vacation properties, ride electric scooters or hire dog walkers,” he says. “The platform economy is related to the willingness of people to spend on leisure, culture and services. I believe that this is temporary, but it has reminded everybody of the possibility for these sectors to be put into a very difficult situation should the consumer lose trust.”

Jun 12, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Global transport has slowed but will pick up again, says Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, who foresees the biggest disruption as being a subtle change in mindset among certain travellers. “We see the troubles for airline carriers. We also see that the shipping industry is certainly going to be affected for quite some time,” he says of the current situation, before suggesting that lockdown and advances in technology might significantly affect the demand for flights when boarding recommences. “Do you want to fly to New York for 48 hours for a board meeting? Can you actually do it via one of the virtual meeting apps? I think there’s going to be a realisation by consumers that, on the transport side, we can be a bit more frugal than we have been in the past,” predicts Subran. “If you add to this the greening of the world that some people want [it could] help shape a green recovery”.

Jun 10, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

China and the US were launching into a trade war well before the current crisis but Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran says that reshoring manufacturing and cutting supply chains is accelerating – and it’s risky. “We talk a lot about stress tests for banks in the financial sector but we don’t talk about stress tests for logistics supply chains. There are issues if you talk to risk managers across the world,” says Subran, drawing on Allianz’s global expertise as the world’s largest insurer and asset manager. “If I have a unique supplier for goods and something happens, then I cannot provide them,” he says. “We’ve seen that in Thailand with the floods and we saw that after Fukushima.” Options, it seems, are no bad thing when it comes to trade.

Jun 08, 2020

In a series of key insights from Allianz’s chief economist Ludovic Subran, Monocle presents stories that shed light on everything from the future of the workplace to global debt and why even digital businesses should remember the human touch.

Although many businesses have gone online to reach customers during the pandemic, Ludovic Subran, Allianz’s chief economist, says it would be a mistake to abandon the human touch and ditch face-to-face in favour of digital altogether. “I’ve always thought that technology is an enabler. For us in insurance for example, the human platform of our brokers and agents is completely complementary with any digital platforms – we are trying to develop the hybrid,” he says, acknowledging that social distancing has some people spooked for now but that won’t last forever. “The good news is that it’s not only about saving costs or selling more – it’s really the digital dividend of tapping into people, but I don’t have any impression that this means you should shut up shop. Some of the traditional channels have proven very resilient to this crisis.” Physical retail, it seems, is still an easy sell.

May 28, 2020

On the button
As coronavirus stretches global healthcare systems, online platforms that offer medical advice remotely are helping to ease the strain on hospitals. Allianz, the world’s largest insurer and asset manager, collaborates with firms across the globe to offer a tailored and truly worldwide service. “We saw a lack of healthcare accessibility in Thailand,” says Dr Piraya Tamrongterakul,
co-founder of Thai telemedicine firm Chiiwii. Remote diagnosis and treatment keeps hospital beds free for emergencies, she says. But it also offers swift access to doctors from mobile phones, mitigating the risk of infection and helping people in more remote communities. “We’re [also] expanding to online prescriptions and medicine delivery, and joining insurance companies, including Allianz, so that patients can use our service under their cover, which is wonderful,” she says. Allianz is currently working with telemedicine partners in 26 countries, proving that global health solutions can start with the touch of a button.

May 21, 2020

Small but mighty
An incredible one in 10 small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) could fold due to coronavirus-related disruption, says Allianz, the world’s largest insurer and asset manager. Starting a business is always risky but SMEs do more than pay wages: they build communities and fire up the economy. Allianz France contributed €150m to a €1.5bn fund that helps ventures that need it most and will roll out similar schemes in other countries. Meanwhile, €30bn is being held in trade-credit insurance in Germany to help the nation’s Mittelstand powerhouses hold their mettle. Allianz is also using its worldwide experience to try different solutions in different markets: from helping car firms make ventilators in Spain to teaming up with businesses in Italy that are connecting hospitals with oxygen suppliers. “Small businesses are certainly the first impacted by these crises,” says Serge Raffard, group strategy, marketing and distribution officer for Allianz. “They are [also] the fuel of many economies and really important for society as a whole.” Success is never assured in business but having a backer with global expertise – like Allianz – will increase your odds.

May 18, 2020

There when you need them
Health is top of mind in a pandemic and Allianz, the world’s largest insurer and asset manager, has the Doc on Call service to help. It’s available in 26 countries and has already handled more than 200,000 interactions since the start of the crisis. Allianz works with expert partners such as Swiss firm Medi24, which alone offers 4.6 million people access to online healthcare in four languages. As well as being convenient for customers, Doc on Call has also helped an estimated 40,000 people needing to visit already stretched surgeries or hospitals. But Allianz isn’t just offering telemedicine technology; some things need to be done in person. So there are also 200 staff doctors on hand in case of emergencies abroad, when swift medical attention or repatriation is needed. Dr François-Xavier Duchateau, Allianz’s deputy chief medical officer, has spent 20 years bringing the sick home. He has learned that whatever the medium, over the phone or in person, bedside manner is second only to timely medical intervention. “If you don’t add the care – the relationship, the explanations – then you’re missing the important part,” he says. A healthy attitude indeed.

May 18, 2020

Stress relief
Coronavirus isn’t the only illness that we need to watch. Studies show that one worrying effect of the pandemic is that stress levels have soared: half of survey participants reported symptoms of depression, a quarter had issues with anxiety. Like the virus, this problem could soon have an impact worldwide. That’s why Allianz, the world’s largest insurer and asset manager, has teamed up with Berlin-based mental-health training platform HelloBetter to offer meaningful support to anyone who requires it. So far 30,000 users have seen the benefits of the 11 courses for depression to anxiety and sleeping better. And now an English-language edition, dedicated coronavirus-related courses and legislative change in Germany could see the partnership increase its clout – just when the world needs it most. “It’s a pivotal moment because of a new law that enables us to reach all 73 million patients with public-health insurance in Germany,” says Klopper, who sees the software’s potential to help around the globe. As the world grapples with the toll of coronavirus, it’s comforting to see that solutions are being offered on such a scale.