I wish each customer who chose Generali once would continue to choose our Company
24 September 2020
We are proud to share with you interview with Maciej Fedyna, President of the Management Board and CEO of Generali Poland, published in Gazeta Ubezpieczeniowa, Polish nationwide weekly magazine devoted to the insurance and financial market. In the interview, Mr. Fedyna talks about his visions of business priorities, investing in innovations as well as the lesson learned from the pandemic.
Congratulations on your nomination! You have been chosen as a leader in challenging times - when nothing is certain and it is not known whether the old mechanisms and methods of operation will continue to function.
Maciej Fedyna: Primarily I would like to take this opportunity to thank the shareholders and members of the Supervisory Board for their trust. Special thanks go to Mr. Luciano Cirinà, CEO of our Region and to our current Chairman, Mr. Andrea Simoncelli. I really appreciate the support received from Mr. Simoncelli and his determination that a person from Generali Polska should take the position of CEO. He is the best ambassador of our country, our team and of myself too. I treat my nomination as an expression of faith in the Polish market and in Generali Poland’s people.
I think I’m lucky because I took the reins of a company in such excellent condition. In recent years, Generali under the leadership of Mr. Andrea Simoncelli made a huge technological, substantive and cultural leap. It is a company of people who are full of commitment, heart and energy, who truly believe in the insurance mission. You can do a lot with such people. Generali is a medium-sized player, but when it comes to work ethics and commitment, we are at the forefront. I believe that committed employees are the engine of business growth, which is why he allows them to have a real impact on the company and draws from their creativity. What we have been doing for a long time, and that will not change in the future, is to focus on building a long-term relationship with our customers. Personally, I also focus on building the company's value. It may sound corporate, but there is a deeper thought behind it. Times are very demanding, as you noted at the beginning. You need to have really loyal customers to win.
You mentioned Generali Poland’s strengths. What are your weaknesses?
Like all insurance companies, we have to face the growing expectations of our customers. These expectations are not just about insurance business. They are the aftermath of a rapidly changing world. People spend an increasing part of their lives in a digital world with specific rules. Quick access to information, instant feedback, easy service processes, clear rules. Customers also expect these e-commerce practices from insurers, and we have some work to do here as an industry. My dream is to become a maintenance-free company in the good sense of the word. This means that people should contact Generali only with important matters, rather than with technical or administrative issues.
Our employees and intermediaries contacted by the customer should be able to focus on vital matters, i.e. on the selection of proper protection, rather than on filling out papers and implementing procedures. These tasks, exactly as FinTechs do, should be reduced to practically zero. This requires investment in technology and rethinking of processes.
Generali Poland keeps investing in innovations, particularly in innovations that shorten the time of claim settlement.
We accept approximately 11 thousand claims reports monthly in the life segment, of which the vast majority are received via digital channels. Thanks to technology, many of them are even completed with a decision and payment on weekends and at night. Another example of successful digitisation is agricultural insurance, where we have reduced the average time for claims settlement after the inspection from 2 weeks to 5 days. This is the transformation in a large corporation. Ultimately, I would like most of this type of service process to be carried out in real time and this is my personal ambition. That way our employees and intermediaries can focus on listening to the customer's needs and activities, providing customers with real value.
For the last few months the most impactful event on business is Covid-19. What did pandemic teach you?
We already know well that you have to be ready for hard times long before they happen. Thanks to many years of investments, we have switched to a new mode of operation from day to day. Customer expectations have not been reduced, quite the contrary. We did not disappoint them. It would not be possible if we had not done our digitisation homework earlier. You always have to look to the future and go beyond what we experience here and now. That is why we are switching to a higher gear and we will further develop digitisation, remote claims handling and a number of processes. We must be ready for what cannot be predicted at the moment.
Will you keep some elements of remote work even after the pandemic has ended?
It's very, very likely. Earlier, remote work was seen as a kind of benefit for the employees. I think it will be standard now. Generali employees have proven that working from home can be as effective as from the office. Which is a signal to us - the management, that such a solution can be made available. I believe that we will return to the offices to some extent soon. Interpersonal relationships are also very important and determine the company’s culture. The return to the state before the pandemic, however, will not be soon. Our new headquarters at ul. Senatorska will be ready to take into account the new way of organizing work. I believe that management’s role is to free people’s potential, and the organization of office space can contribute to this.
What are your business priorities for the coming months?
We are still focused on the sustainable development of all business lines. Agricultural insurance, which came along with the purchase of Concordia, is new in our business. We are constantly learning these products and we see great potential in them. We will improve processes, making them more and more invisible. I believe that insurance in Poland has the potential to grow. To make this possible, full concentration on delivering value to customers is necessary. The contact between the agent and the customer, and the broker with the customer, is a key moment when they get to know each other and build relationships. Generali focuses on the quality of our protection and quality comes at a proper price. This summer, we saw in the media several times roofs torn off by a whirlwind. Generali customers also suffered, but then received compensation to their accounts within a few days of the incident. This is how it should be. Insurance is a beautiful business because it is about helping people in need. Such commercialised solidarity has a chance to survive for many centuries.
You have achieved great results in direct sales recently. Should agents be worried?
Indeed, the direct channel has developed a lot. This is understandable given the situation in recent months. However, increases in the direct channel were not at the expense of the agency channel. Agents’ sales have also grown significantly in recent months. From my perspective, intermediaries are essential in insurance. Customers expect advice and help in choosing the right product. For us, agents and brokers are essential to convey the purpose and trust in insurance. They contact customers on behalf of Generali. The agency channel is and will be very important for Generali.
What market share would you like to achieve?
My goal for us is to be one of the top insurance companies in Poland in terms of company value. To achieve this, we need a very large number of satisfied customers. Market share is not a goal itself, but a means to reach that target. I wish each customer who chose Generali once would continue to choose our Company.
Thank you for the interview.