An Interview with Joos Louwerier, Chief Executive & Country Manager, Allianz Life Indonesia
"Agility itself must be demonstrated in the simultaneous and comprehensive improvement of people, process, and system. Sustainable innovation is what we strive to foster, both in the area of sales and the technical aspects of insurance operations, where our ultimate goal is to perfect the customer experience. Dinosaurs must become agile and fast movers."
FST Media: How would you define ‘innovation’ within the context of financial services?
Louwerier: Innovation is essential to remaining relevant, particularly in financial services. It is about having a positive impact on customers no matter how small or big the innovation may be. In this case, technology is, of course, a very helpful enabler.
FST Media: What growth challenges does the Indonesian insurance industry currently face?
Louwerier: As of 2018, the United Nations reports that Indonesia's population is 267 million, making it the fourth most populous country in the world. Meanwhile, in 2017, the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia (OJK) noted that the insurance literacy index in Indonesia reached only 15.8 per cent, whilst insurance penetration remains at very low 12.1 per cent.
This condition is driven by a variety of factors, such as educating and socialising people about insurance, increasing inclusivity and financial access for the public, and improving the population’s per capita income.
I see these challenges as a great opportunity for any insurance company. We must increase Indonesian public awareness of the importance of insurance. One way is to utilise social media and gamification to educate people about insurance, using mobile apps to provide convenient and new experiences to people with insurance, for example.
As an industry, our focus must be to insure more people in the easiest possible way.
FST Media: How are Allianz Life Indonesia’s technology choices enabling better business management practices? Where do you feel there’s room for improvement?
Louwerier: Most insurance companies are like dinosaurs: large financial institutions established over many years and move slowly.
Allianz Life Indonesia believes that agility is a competitive attribute we must possess. Agility makes us able to design an experience, to test it, adapt and iterate quickly so that we’re able to thrive and live, not just survive.
Agility itself must be demonstrated in the simultaneous and comprehensive improvement of people, process, and system. Sustainable innovation is what we strive to foster, both in the area of sales and the technical aspects of insurance operations, where our ultimate goal is to perfect the customer experience. Dinosaurs must become agile and fast movers.
FST Media: To what extent have Allianz Life Indonesia’s strategic partnerships with digital start-ups improved customer engagement?
Louwerier: We aim to create pleasant and easy experiences for anyone that has an interaction with Allianz. We've established partnerships with digital start-ups in Indonesia, like GO-JEK and Halodoc. Through these strategic collaborations, we provide tailor-made health insurance products with affordable premiums, for example for GO-JEK drivers and their families. With Halodoc, we provide home delivery pharmacy and online health discussions through a free-of-charge voice call, chat, or video call with general practitioners or specialist doctors.
Convenience is very important in improving the customer experience. Utilisation and integration of technologies are prerequisites for delivering excellent customer experiences.
FST Media: What’s the next big digital initiative for Allianz Life Indonesia and how will you measure its success?
Louwerier: Shifting challenges into belief and action is breakthrough behaviour. This all starts with our mindset. We’ve maintained (and will continue to maintain) our position as the customer loyalty leader for several consecutive years by continually transforming ourselves and delighting customers. We will seek to more aggressively penetrate the mass market through easy access, customised products, and unique services.
FST Media: How adaptable do you feel the Indonesian market is to new developments in digital insurance?
Louwerier: By 2020, 133.96 million Indonesians are expected to have access to the internet. According to a report by statista.com, mobile internet usage in Indonesia had undergone double-digit growth rates by 2017, with penetration rates reaching close to 30 per cent of the population. This opportunity must be cultivated quickly.
We have initiated this in various ways, including through social media education; our partnerships with digital start-ups offer open access for the wider community on insurance, and mobile apps that can support digital services in insurance. It is the uniqueness of the experience in digital insurance that we’ve initiated, allowing the public to get even closer to insurance. Inclusiveness in insurance is key.
FST Media: What digital innovation could prove the biggest game-changer for the global life insurance industry?
Louwerier: Artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be able to perform underwriting and claims settlement through a calculation function with a high degree of certainty. I feel this will be a game-changer.
FST Media: Where do you predict Indonesia’s insurance industry will be in five years’ time?
Louwerier: Insurance companies in Indonesia are still dominated by traditional products, systems, and distribution channels. However, many of us are now introducing digital services and channels for customers. I am optimistic that this initiative will encourage the Indonesian public’s awareness and access to insurance. It is likely that insurtech will totally disrupt the incumbent system.
FST Media: Why are events like the Financial Services Summit Jakarta 2018 important for the industry?
Louwerier: The Jakarta Summit is a reminder – as well as encouragement – for financial institutions in Indonesia to ensure they are relevant in meeting the needs of society.
FST Media: And finally, on a personal note, what do you do to ensure a healthy work/life balance?
Louwerier: I believe that a happy working environment will create happy customers. Therefore, Allianz’s employees have flexible work hours, so that they manage their schedule. During work days, our team wears casual attire and has post-work hour activities like sports and arts. I take part, too!
These are all small yet significant improvements to increase employee engagement and work-life balance. We work hard at Allianz, but we know very well to have fun and unwind as well!