//next Best Things

Welcome to //next!  

Hello and welcome to //next, our new online magazine. No doubt many of you are wondering what we as a traditional insurer have to say about digitalisation. Why on earth do we need an online magazine from you on this topic, you may ask. Let me, as Chief Digital Officer at ERGO, explain our reasons.


To be really honest, four years ago – before I joined ERGO – I would have asked myself the same thing. These days, however, I see it very differently. Precisely the fact that the industry is considered “stuck in its ways” or “traditional” is what makes it so exciting to be involved in its digitalisation.

Traditional insurance products (such as third-party liability, health insurance, and retirement income products) will be around for a long time yet. We could simply sit back and relax, you might think. But the world we live in is evolving at breakneck speed. And precisely because we are not a manufacturing company and are able to react to all of these changes by offering new services and products, we at ERGO have the opportunity to play a leading role in the transformation of our traditional business model into a smart digital player. After all, the demand for new and innovative insurance solutions is great. That is exactly what motivated me to come to ERGO. 

 

I am now more convinced than ever that our supposed weakness – being a “traditional” insurer – is actually our greatest strength and, at the same time, our greatest challenge.

That is why we have set ourselves ambitious targets: 

  • We want to take a fresh look at our entire business model and revamp it against the backdrop of digitalisation.
  • We intend to constantly take a critical look at ourselves and at the market.
  • We intend to challenge ourselves over and over again: not behind closed doors, but in a transparent manner in which everyone can give their opinion – even if it involves negative feedback.    

You are probably wondering what all this means specifically for an insurance group. 

We at ERGO have defined three basic areas that describe the buzzword “digitalisation”:

 I.     For true digital transformation, you first need to undergo cultural transformation. But you cannot simply adopt cultural transformation at Board level, and simply increasing the IT budget is not enough. You have to take staff on the journey with you and create a new, agile mindset which paves the way for digitalisation. 

II.     The business models need to be transformed in a second step. This includes adapting old business models to the needs of customers and revamping them; creating new, purely digital offers; and paying greater attention to and being actively involved in the ecosystems that are developing around customers.

III.     Last but not least, we of course have to have a good command of new technologies and use these effectively. Keywords here include artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, applications for smart speakers, phone bots, smart devices and virtual reality.

This is why we at //next will be sharing with you our insights into a number of digital topics – as well as inviting external experts to discuss these with us. And I would also like to invite you to accompany us on our journey, to give us feedback, and to critically examine what we do. I am just as excited as you are to find out where this path will take us. 

Our hot topic is “digitalisation”. Not just from my Chief Digital Officer perspective, but rather digitalisation in all of its forms. You will find here various blog posts, interviews, videos, podcasts, opinion pieces and discussion panels. You can see that there are plenty of exciting areas in which we – a supposedly oh-so traditional insurer – are already operating. Stay curious and engage in dialogue with us! I am looking forward to your feedback and hope you enjoy reading //next.

Yours Mark Klein