Dhe is an old warhorse with 130 years of company history, the other a young digital climber with great ambitions. In the Corona crisis, however, the challenges facing Allianz and One were very similar. At a time when customer contacts were forbidden, both had to maintain their sales model and customers who were busy working their lives between short-time work or home office, childcare and contact closure under tense social conditions. Both have lost feathers in sales, but both emphasize that this time has made them stronger for the future.
“Corona was more useful than harming us,” says Oliver Lang, CEO of One, registered in Liechtenstein. “There was a small drop in the changeover, but the damage in motor vehicles, household items and third-party liability went down, so we have a hard time making the planned loss at all.” One is connected to the subsidiary Wefox and two years ago as an independent digital Insurers started.
He is still under construction and wants to launch an all-encompassing policy in the coming year, which should combine a not yet offered residential property, legal protection, animal owner and accident insurance with the liability and household goods already in the portfolio. After that, the first life insurance policies should follow. “Our schedule has shifted a bit,” says Lang. The expansion into Switzerland and Poland could take place a quarter later.
Consumers want advisors
The big competitor Allianz first had to switch all representatives to online advice. The 8200 self-employed agents mostly agreed to talk to their customers in go-to meetings. “We had to change and encountered a change in customer behavior during the lockdown,” reports Andreas Kanning, Sales Director at Allianz Germany. One could have imagined that in such a situation, interest in insurance would cease. But it wasn’t like this: “We were surprised at the level of interest in getting in touch with other people,” he says.
The representatives who run their agencies independently should not have been instructed on which customer approach was appropriate. “We live from sales, but our approach was more about taking care of, supporting, supporting the customer,” said Kanning. While One, as a still small provider, sells through brokers and comparison portals, the alliance pursues a multi-channel strategy with sales through agents, brokers, in direct business, through portals, banks and financial sales. Both are currently developing very dynamically. “We saw a leap in 2020 with the introduction of our car insurance,” says One boss Lang.
280,000 customers had completed 500,000 policies. The premium volume is annualized at 30 million euros. This is far from the top of the market, and yet the company sees itself on the right track thanks to a high rate of automatic processing – although challenges remain. Even before new customers were won in the changeover season, this rate was 94 percent, after that only 78 percent. “These were dramatic effects of the not yet digitized processes in car insurance,” says Lang.
Automation depends on simplicity
Allianz in the claims business will not get such high quotas, predicts Sales Director Kanning, because old tariffs are not as easy as the ones introduced today. “The products of the past were not built in such a way that this could work.” For individual types of contract, the customer had to answer more than 30 questions before he received an offer.
The complexity of the product world prevents an insurer from getting higher rates of automated processing. “We want an even higher quota so that we can process individual cases even better,” says Kanning. The program, which is supposed to accelerate claims processes, runs independently of the corona crisis.
In contrast, other projects would have solidified. They want to continue to vie for customers with more than 8000 representatives. 351 new colleagues would have replaced mediators who had left on April 1. Corona has also taken a closer look at some products. “Many had time to talk about protection and other things that are neglected,” says Kanning. The telemedicine program Doc on Call was used nine times as often in March. But the direct sale of policies has not progressed.
“Hybrid customer behavior will increase in Germany,” he expects. Customers would therefore inform themselves online, but then consult with flesh and blood brokers. Incidentally, he shares this vision with One-Chef Lang, who relied on brokers from the start. “The market cannot replace the consultant yet, but with a view to Generation Z, I believe that some of the customers will also rely on Alexa in the long term,” he says.