Full Insurance Services Online! - GPI's Digital Transformation
GPI Holding – Vienna Insurance Group won the Responsible Business Award MELIORA 2020 in the nomination of Supporting Customers and Suppliers during the COVID Pandemic. GPI is the first company on the Georgian market that has digitized insurance services. Thanks to advanced digital platforms, the company has met the pandemic prepared, the covid pandemic even accelerated digital use and the company introduced full online insurance services for its beneficiaries.
In her interview with Business Partner, Tinatin Koberidze, Head of Department of Products and Services Development talked about GPI’s path to successful digital transformation and the company’s plans.
-You represent the first insurance company that has introduced digital services on the Georgian market. When and why did GPI start the introduction of online services?
- In 2015, the company took the decision to digitize certain services to make them more comfortable for beneficiaries. The first Mob app provided an online service for only motor claims. After this first step, we started expanding our digitization project and in 2016 we launched a mobile application and a personal cabinet which enabled most insurance processes to be handled online.
In general, the key aspect of insurance services is to make communicating with an insurance company simpler. We started intensive development in this direction and introduced Georgia’s first digital platform on the insurance market, where customers could get information on insurance terms and conditions, select desirable insurance packages and purchase online. Customers are also able to use services such as submitting a claim and getting reimbursement through several clicks and uploading all required documentation by the mobile devices. The solution reduced bureaucratic processes and made insurance services faster and more comfortable.
- Five years have passed since 2016. How would you describe the digitalization process and its most important aspects?
-Digitalization process is always evolving. It is more about strategy and mindset than about technology. This process requires constant development and research of clients’ deep insights. We regularly listened to our customers to discover performance gaps and used their feedback for planning improvement. Hence this is a test & learn approach, that enables us to create a smooth and favorable process for the users.
Initially, our clients could purchase online, claim for medical or auto reimbursements. However, several additional improvements were added with time. For instance, how to cure the main pain of managing docgtor appointments through the call center. To reduce this hassle we developed an online booking platform, that allows clients to book, cancel or reschedule doctor visits. Along with this, the mob app enabled users to claim reimbursement for hospital services as well. Providing digital services does not mean at all that we are trying to keep the client at distance. On the contrary, digital technology increases access to insurance everywhere , at any time and our points of contact become diversified to fit all needs.
Digitalization of the services created another big challenge- it was essential for us to process personal data in a proper and responsible way to guarantee full safety of all the medical or other records. Consequently, all the safety standards were integrated to develop a simple system with the highest safety standards.
The next step to the path of digital transformation was developing the e-cards. So that customers enjoy services without papers and bureaucratic processes. Clients are able to use e-cards (electronic insurance cards integrated in the app) at pharmacies and buy prescribed medications through the co-payment system that saves their time. Furthermore, we offer clients the easiest online forms for claiming medical reimbursements. The latter enables responses on claims in about 3 hours. The compensations are transferred in a day. During this period, our team constantly worked on automatization processes and filling the forms became simpler and simpler. . All in all, our strategy was and remains to provide any insurance service in an online format from any location and any time, without any bureaucratic processes.
-How have your beneficiaries accepted digital platforms?!
-Initially, this was an unusual innovation for our beneficiaries. Despite the fact that online services and platforms usage increased various other fields, sucj as banking, shopping, food delivery, etc., insurance remain mostly as an off-line experience - getting services in a physical service center.
We of course challenged this status quo and traditionally brought innovative solutions to the market. From the moment of launched the response from customers where very satisfactory - we have met their expectations and made insurance simple, fast and more accurate. As more and more customers started to engage in online services, more feedback was collected that allowed us to further improve the system. The priority of communication strategy about online services was to emphasize the simplicity of the system. Consequently, from the very beginning customers started widely using online services and the dynamics were growing from year to year.
Ultimately, the digitalization of services turned out to be a relevant trend in the course of time and I am proud to say that our efforts paved a way for other players in this market.
- What percentage of customers use digital services?
-Before the Covid19 pandemic, only 50% of customers used online services, but since the lockdown and other restrictions on mobility, distance services became the safest and most flexible opportunity for clients. That is why the demand on online service actually skyrocketed. As a matter of fact, today, approximately 95% of our customers use digital services.
Customers discovered the advantages of using online services. They found out that our digital channels make it easier to receive services without visiting offices, meeting company representatives, using cash, or engage in other risky behavior during the pandemic. That pushes us to work even more intensively on our digital projects. During the pandemic we provided opportunities for online consultations with personal doctors and specialists to receive recommendations and prescriptions, all in online format. We launched this platform in the shortest period.
-What has the pandemic changed? Have new online services help you get adapted to the new reality?
-The pandemic has indeed speeded up our digital projects and more and more project appeared in the pipeline. From the beginning, it quite bizarre to move everything online and change customer behaviour overnight, but we have a great advantage that all the solutions were in place and our customers literally were a click away from getting insurance services from the homes or any other place. Our platforms enabled us to deliver uninterrupted insurance services even during the full lockdowns and rearrange the processes to that every customer’s need were met.
If we had not developed digital services earlier, naturally, the risk of making wrong steps would have been bigger during the pandemic. In short, both our company and our customers were simply adapted to the new reality.
-What new services have you introduced amid the pandemic that you did not have previously and that simplified for customers to use online services?
-The pandemic response made us change and rapidly introduce some new services, especially in the health insurance line. First of all, we added free service for phone consultations with specialist doctors, whether the customer’s insurance policy was covering this service or not. We also integrated the service of getting referrals online and obtaining prescribed medicines directly from pharmacies through insurance E-cards (also integrated into the mobile App)- users no longer needed papers or direct contact with doctors. In addition, for patients with chronic diseases we have simplified the process and added automatic renewal of prescriptions on a monthly basis without seeing a doctor.
Furthermore, we have removed all limitations on the amount claimed, as before the pandemic large sums where claimed in the service centers. In the case of beneficiaries, who could not find online service convenient, we placed so called compensation boxes in large cities, where clients could mail the claims application forms. So that even these customers got services without communicating with third parties.
-GPI has won the MELIORA 2020 Award in the category of corporate social responsibility for your support to customers and suppliers in the period of pandemic . How important is this victory for your company?
-This is a very important prize. It is significant that a company in this industry demonstrates very high social responsibility. We are very happy that our efforts where acknowledged and of course it is a great motivator for our team.
-What does the full online insurance package include? What makes it a unique product?
-This is an ongoing project. As part of the project, we have added and keep adding new online services. After all, our objective is the clients to be able to receive these services in the way they want, entirely in digital format. Consequently, this process implies involving beneficustomer in the project development process. In practice, our users dictate us what components to take into account, what to add, and how to develop a digital world where GPI beneficiaries would enjoy all services. We believe this project will become even more successful in the course of time.