Interview with Luciano Cirinà: We are well prepared for our future journey!
26 April 2018
Interview with Luciano Cirinà, Austria, CEE & Russia Regional Officer and CEO of Generali CEE Holding
From 1 January 2018 Generali Regional Office in Prague is also in charge of the Austrian market. The Regional Office was renamed as Austria, CEE & Russia Regional Office showing also the responsibilities of the Regional Office extended to the Russian market. In the interview Luciano Cirinà, Austria, CEE & Russia Regional Officer and CEO of Generali CEE Holding, talks about new cooperation, shared goals and what empowers this particular Region.
For those who are not so familiar with the Region: Can you give us a quick update on the development of the last few years?
Luciano Cirinà: As most people know, the CEE business, which was built from Austria, was assigned to the, then newly founded, joint-venture Generali PPF, which had its operative headquarters in Prague, in 2007. Generali was 51 percent shareholder in this joint-venture. In accordance with our strategy, we initiated the reacquisition of minority stakes in 2013 and were able to complete it successfully in 2015. We also managed to put Generali in Romania, Bulgaria and Poland back on track. Today, we can be proud to say that the Region is the number one in the Group concerning profitability. At the same time, we were able to increase the volume of premiums in CEE from 1 billion in 2007 to 3.6 billion in 2017, and more than doubled the number of customers from 4 to 11 million. Last but not least, CEE has the best Combined Ratio in the entire Generali Group with 87.8 percent.
What do you think are the most important goals now, considering the new Region including Austria and Russia?
One key objective is to continue the path of profitable growth. This can only be achieved by strengthening customer loyalty and constantly improving customer satisfaction. Digitalization will play a crucial part in this. Due to different circumstances and contexts existing in particular countries, responses to these challenges will differ. Austria is a pioneer in many fields and will therefore be able to contribute valuable know-how.
What can Austria learn from the Region and what can the Region learn from Austria?
Generali Austria is not only profitable but also well-positioned concerning structures and processes. Especially the IT landscape and the actuarial practice are great examples of best practice from which other units may take advantage, and Generali Austria’s customer portal is one of the best platforms in the entire Group. Austria, on the other hand, can benefit from solutions of CEE. In that matter we had the advantage that we didn’t have to consider existing structures, systems or processes. Therefore, we were able to skip certain stages of development. In some countries, for instance, drones are already used for damage survey. In Hungary, a very comprehensive CRM programme has been developed which undoubtedly is of great interest for Austria as well.
What other synergies in the Region, besides the exchange of know-how, do you see that need to be utilized?
We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and now we must evaluate in which sectors synergies have a useful potential. There already are clear guidelines concerning the reporting, for instance. But it is not about examining every screw but rather that everyone does their bit and keeps an open mind to bring forward the Region in a shared approach. Being a very advanced organization, Generali Austria is able to contribute a great deal to the cause and I am sure that we can work together on a trustworthy basis like we did in the past.
In what direction will digitalization develop – for example concerning telematics and domotics?
The original concept of offering telematics in the form of black-box solutions is no longer an issue. Customers were not willing to bear the costs. Telematics solutions, which make data storage via smartphone or a vehicle, are far more interesting. Domotics is a very challenging topic for the future as well. We are not as far along as we would like. Both fields are future issues for which the right partner has yet to be found.
What role do you see for online sales?
There are significant differences between online sales in different countries. Hungary and Slovakia are much more developed in this aspect than, for example, the Czech Republic. The key question in this case is how younger generations will proceed in that matter. It shows that young customers prefer personal customer care as well. In my opinion, primarily own sales channels will be supported by digital tools. Generali has own sales channels which are highly developed. This is something we share and that unites us.
What role do you see for the Region in the global Generali Group?
Our Region contributes about 10 percent of the volume of premiums and about fifteen percent of the overall result. The Region is extremely profitable, professional and, being a growth Region, a top seller of the Group. In addition to that we have consolidated a strong presence due to our participation in international projects. Being a significant Region, it is our responsibility to become even more efficient in order to furthermore improve customer satisfaction. We need to strengthen what we have already achieved.
How are you doing personally being a CEO of a holding of twelve countries?
It is a challenging position but also a very interesting and exciting one. I’ve got a great team and I think we have the best working atmosphere in the entire Generali Group. Generali Austria has established this Region with full commitment und I am glad that Austria is part of it again. I am confident that we can be optimistic about the future – we are well-positioned for a journey to the shared future.