Combatting COVID in Asia
Axel Roesner and Marco Bovolini discuss their organisation’s response to COVID-19 and commitment to the Asian continent
Written by: Sean Galea-Pace
Generali Country Italy and Global Business Lines, led by Marco Sesana, Country Manager and CEO of Generali Italia and Global Business Lines, is the largest unit within the Group, leader in the Italian retail insurance market and is amongst the major insurance players worldwide focusing on corporate business. Via its two units, Generali Global Corporate & Commercial (GC&C) and Generali Employee Benefits (GEB) it caters the needs of medium and large businesses by providing flexible, custom tailored insurance solutions in property and casualty (P&C) and life, health protection, and pension plans to local and expat employees of multinational companies.
The world has been gripped by the coronavirus pandemic throughout 2020, with countries in all regions facing a mixture of public health, social and economic challenges as a result. For business, it has taken away the certainty that many crave, but there are countless examples of organisations being resolute and continuing to serve their customers in times of difficult. GC&C is one such example.
Axel Roesner, Head of GC&C Asia
Q: How has GC&C responded to COVID-19, and how have you supported clients during this challenging period?
A: The safety and wellbeing of our people, clients and brokers were our first priority, and we implemented the related protective measures quickly and leveraged the great dedication of our people and the ability to quickly adapt our ways of working, in order respond to the new environment and support our customers on the changes they were facing.
We provided advisory on loss prevention specifically for certain industry sectors which were more materially impacted or exposed than others by COVID-19, e.g. with a guide for hospitality management and other specific customer-focused advisory. We also provided flexibility to emphasise the changing clients’ needs which became more urgent under COVID-19 and were addressed as priority.
Of course, we strongly focused on smooth renewals as well as profitable growth to ensure we remain a reliable and consistent partner to our clients and brokers. We have to thank our team and partners for their extraordinary dedication and unwavering commitment in supporting and serving our clients during such a challenging period in a timely manner.
Q: What is your approach to developing skills and people within the organisation?
A: As said, our people are our most valuable asset, and have therefore always been one of our key priorities. The expertise, development and ownership of our teams are key success factor for us to become lifetime partner to our clients and distributors to achieve our strategic targets. The right mix between technical and soft skills are essential to ensure relationships, specific accounts and the overall portfolio are managed effectively. We are proud of our team who has demonstrated successfully how adaptable, dynamic and agile they are in a fast and highly changing environment.
Over the past months we have also leveraged our global e-learning platform to release new trainings for our people while working remotely. Individual development plans, talent management and providing new growth opportunities internally remain key commitments for us in the future, as well as to always stay at the forefront to attract new talents from the market.
Marco Bovolini, Head of Client & Distribution
Q: Tell us about the company’s commitment to the Asia region.
A: Generali was born in Italy 190 years ago and opened its first office in Asia in 1975. Since then, the company never stopped investing in this fast-growing region which still holds a lot of opportunities going forward. Today, Generali is directly present in eight Asian markets: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong SAR, where our regional office is based and from where we coordinate our operations.
Generali is constantly investing in technology, branding and talent development to offer retail, SMEs and corporate clients a compelling range of tailored insurance solutions, and to become their trusted lifetime partner. As the global business unit for corporate non-life insurance, GC&C is working closely with its distribution partners to provide customised insurance and reinsurance solutions to corporate and commercial customers across all the Asia-Pacific region.
Q: How do you manage relations with broker partners and ensure you remain customer centric?
A: Our brokers and us have the same ultimate goals: ensuring our clients are well protected through the right insurance cover while providing the best possible level of advisory and service.
Customers are at the heart of everything we do. Our approach focuses on deploying dedicated cross-functional teams who can guarantee in-depth knowledge and understanding of our clients’ businesses and needs as well as first class delivery. Broker networks, regional and local are key elements of our distribution strategy. It is always fundamental to carefully listen and fully understand the client needs, making sure that the proposed insurance solution is providing the highest level of protection while guaranteeing a best-in-class service by adding value beyond the policy, especially in case a claim occurs.
Being customer centric requires both brokers and us to strategise the relationship and to have constant very open discussions on what is working well and what may need to be improved for the benefit of the client. We want to make sure that our clients have their peace-of-mind and help their business succeed.