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Generali CMO: empowering our agents through technology

insurance transformation insurance transformation
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Isabelle Conner, one of Hot Topics' top 50 financial services marketers, introduces her global web, mobile and social strategy to help 70,000 agents engage with their customers.

Revolutionizing a 184 year old European insurer is no small task, but that is exactly what Isabelle Conner aims to achieve at Generali.

The Italian company initiated its internal insurance transformation in an effort to further engage its customers, via the experience of its agents that operate in over 60 countries.

Today, even the insurance and claims industry needs to match the pace of both technological and social change.

Customers expect fast and easy access to services, information on demand, with personalized experiences. Today’s technologies make these trends a possibility but present challenges for established brands who need to evolve to maximize the opportunities that digital creates.

Generali’s global presence is definitely established.

In 2015, its net profits totaled $2.27 billion (€2 billion), and not only is it a market leader in its country of origin, Italy, but its position within many other European countries is top 10, as is its mark on economies like China and Argentina.

For it to remain as a competitive force, however, Conner has recognized that the insurance transformation needs to improve its relationship with its agents worldwide, and provide them with the necessary tools to engage more effectively with their customers.

“There are many things we are working on, but an important part of our strategy is our mobile hub, which should revolutionize the customer’s experience.

“We have partnered with several parts within Generali to create an integrated, complete, experience of every product and service we provide on a mobile platform, which a design agency is helping us to create.”

Conner hasn’t created another app though, nor has Generali launched this new channel into every country at once.

“This is something that we are starting slowly, with additions being put together monthly, but we’re very happy with the prototype so far.”

This new platform is tailored to a customer’s life: what they do for a living, where they travel, how often they use their car, and can be accessed by agents to help create a better service.

The insurance transformation hub also includes many different functions so clients are more informed, and Generali can communicate more targeted products or advice.

“If a customer drives a lot, our functionality with geolocation would inform us of this. If certain weather events occur that may effect driving conditions, we can combine those two pieces of information and send out an SMS saying ‘There’s ice on the roads, please drive carefully.’”.

“If there was an accident, there is an emergency button on the phone which you can press to jump the call queue at Generali. We know exactly where they are, and we can despatch an ambulance or a tow truck, and they would then send you an SMS which would allow you to track the whereabouts of either, and even call the truck directly.”

Behind the scenes, Generali can conduct the claims process knowing that every touch point was facilitated by them or through them – who the claimant is, the payment method, and the type of insurance they have.

This particular type of digitally enabled tool has been created to help each of Generali’s 70,000 agents.

Creating an app, however, is quite a popular enterprise for a marketing team because of their perceived appeal by customers, but Conner disagrees.

“Companies often build an app, but then are disappointed when no-one is using it, which happens when you haven’t really understood what the customers are looking for from your brand or your services.”

So when planning the insurance transformation, Conner and her team began by listening to their clients and distributors in order to understand what the main topics of contention were, and then leveraging technology to enhance the experience.

“Our brand re-positioning has made us smarter, and it’s our ambition to work on ease, simplicity and convenience, for both our clients and our agents.”

Despite the company’s global presence, Conner’s strategy exhibits a hyper localized streak, where content distributed on its platforms can be developed by each country to target its own customers.

Push notifications and automated content feature heavily.

“We’re working with two companies at the moment to help us automate the content we send out. For example, if an agent walks into the office in the morning, their dashboard can remind him, ‘I have 10 customers who’s birthday it is today’ and one click can push out a birthday wish.”

The potential for this type of engagement is huge, Conner believes, and can be limited to purely car insurance customers, for example, so they receive only the information necessary for their product.

This form of insurance transformation and grouping means that not only is an experience tailored, but that Generali can leverage the preferred way a customer wishes to communicate, whether that be through social media, mobile or web channels.

This will lead to a growth of customer retention, Conner explains.

“Our 70,000 agents, all online at the same time, has given our online facility a sudden boost, which allows our agents to grow their networks in the digital world, and within social media channels…they’re all connected.

“It allows them to stay in the know and participate in a wider conversation with existing and potential clients, and react accordingly with the relevant content.”

Generali’s overarching aim is to ensure that its worldwide agents have the necessary technology and information to provide the best possible care and attention to their clients, which Conner’s insurance transformation has overseen as a global campaign with localized functionalities.