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Allianz.com: It’s been more than half a year since you were appointed CEO of Allianz Worldwide Care. What was the first thing you changed?
Ida Luka-Lognoné: Rather than looking to make drastic changes, it was more important to me to take the time to look around, absorb the environment at Allianz Worldwide Care and really listen. Having collected my first impressions, we decided to define a new role for our sales and marketing department, and chief underwriting officer. But most importantly, we introduced the digital customer journey. It’s key to everything we do now.
Where do you see the best growth possibilities?
I see growth along four axes. First, we want to extend our market share in our core areas of international health, life and disability cover. In addition, we will focus on increasing our share of business with nongovernmental and intergovernmental organizations. These large groups are really important to our business and their requirements extend beyond health, life and disability into the new area of health services. So there’s a lot we can offer them.
Secondly, we will be expanding geographically. As part of our expansion plans, we are going to address a growing segment: high-net-worth individuals. We are talking about business owners in China or Africa, for example, who want to have access to international medical specialists or simply extend their local coverage.
We want to improve our healthcare services by establishing eHealth preventive programs and providing access to medical advice to customers in remote areas. Finally, the fourth axis is to anchor it all in the digital customer journey. We would like to expand our 24/7 access to our services, using all types of digital tools, and improving customer contact and experiences.
Where do you see the main growth markets for AWC in the future, geographically speaking?
Primarily Asia, Africa and Latin America.
You mentioned the DNA of AWC. In one or two sentences, could you give a simple explanation of what AWC does?
I can do even better. Inn just one sentence, we offer peace of mind for expats. You want a longer version? Okay. We provide health, life and disability insurance along with corporate assistance services to clients and insurance partners all over the world.
And how do you guarantee “peace of mind”?
We have access to the best healthcare providers in every country. If there is a medical emergency, we get people to the nearest center of medical excellence. In the case of disability, we are there to lend support. We offer financial protection in all of these cases.
Insurance primarily is a local business. At AWC, it’s the other way round. Your business is very specialized and you deal with many different countries. How do you cope?
As a global unit, we have to be connected to local healthcare providers and keep up with regulations and currency exchanges in more than 170 different countries. We then take this very diverse local knowledge and use it on a global platform.
What does this mean for the people who work for you?
We employ people of 60 different nationalities and work in very diverse teams in Paris, Dublin, Shanghai, Dubai and Brussels. Since 75 percent of our employees have direct contact with our clients, empathy is part of the job description for all our hires. Second is the ability to listen, take ownership and solve problems immediately and on-site.
The whole insurance industry is undergoing tremendous change right now. What are three developments you are watching in particular?
First, we are transitioning from being an indemnity payment industry to being a service provider. It’s not good enough to simply write a check a few weeks after something’s gone wrong. We have to be more nimble and offer more services.
Second, we have to embrace the digital customer. We have to respond in the way that is most suitable.
Third, we have to adapt to customer needs. Many want to pay for insurance as they need it. Car sharing is the best example here. Customers don’t want to pay for yearly insurance if they only drive a few days a month.
Apps are becoming a part of doing business. MyHealth was a first step. What are the next steps you are going to take to get even closer to your customers?
As I mentioned before, we need to increase digital interfaces to make the whole experience more customer-friendly. We’ve also built an innovation department for connected health.
Tech wearables are a real help and are very much the future. They monitor basic health indicators and alert patients if they need to see a doctor. The doctor becomes a lifestyle coach, interpreting the data and telling patients how they can improve their lifestyles – and where they run the risk of developing a serious illness. These types of gadgets can also send for help, for instance, if someone is stuck in a mine. They relay information about your general health condition to the doctor so that he or she can bring along the right equipment in preparation for an airlift.
Text and Interview: Andreas Klein
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