Best partner at all times.
Helvetia Austria has emerged from the recent strategy period stronger than before and was able to considerably enhance its market position. helvetia 20.25 marks the next step along the path to success and growth in the Austrian market.
Interview Christina Steinkellner Photo Christian Husar
Where does Helvetia Austria stand at the end of the helvetia 20.20 strategy period and what did it achieve?
The 2020 financial year and the strategy period both ended in a very gratifying way for us: for the first time in Helvetia Austria’s history, we cracked the 500-million-euro mark for total premiums. Despite the impact of Covid-19, we closed out the strategy period with successes in all target areas. We consolidated our position as an attractive, future-oriented employer, achieved profitable growth by expanding our distribution network and grew faster than the market. By achieving our targets, we added value not only for our customers, but also for our sales partners.
The helvetia 20.25 strategy references “best partner” as a requirement. What does this mean for Helvetia Austria?
With our flexible digital solutions, we want to position ourselves as a key partner with our customers and distribution partners. On top of that, we continue to rely on our multichannel distribution system. That way, our customers can choose the distribution partner and channel that’s right for them – and, as their “best partner”, we can set ourselves apart from the competition.
“Our aspiration to be the best partner for distribution and sales also helps us stand out in times of crisis. We upheld our service quality despite the pandemic.”
Helvetia Austria already began its commercial offensive during the helvetia 20.20 strategy period. How did this offensive help you achieve your targets and what role will it play in the helvetia 20.25 strategy period?
Our commercial offensive is firmly focused on Austria’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the goal being to nurture and expand this part of our corporate customer portfolio. As part of the offensive, existing products were tailored to the needs of our corporate customers and relaunched across a broad front. These product modifications were of central importance for that and will also play a key role in the helvetia 20.25 strategy period. With our commercial offensive, we want to continue offering adapted, contemporary forms of coverage so as to be among the top three in selected SME segments.
Helvetia Austria has a well-oiled distribution network. What other channels do you want to develop to access the market?
With our 39 locations, we currently have a finely meshed network across Austria and can maintain close contact with our customers, either via digital channels or conventional in-person consultations. Our aspiration to be the best partner for distribution and sales also helps us stand out in times of crisis: we succeeded in upholding our service quality, for example, despite the negative effects of the pandemic.
How do you integrate your service partners?
As part of the commercial offensive, the distribution team was selectively strengthened with commercial coordinators, who assisted regional sales staff with their agendas. In the new strategy period, we intend to continue expanding our distribution network and providing end-to-end service. We wish to continue growing in selected areas such as banking sales as well as online with our SMART brand.
“For the first time in Helvetia Austria’s history, we cracked the 500-million-euro mark for total premiums.”
For years now, Helvetia has ranked among the top employers. How is Helvetia Austria tackling the new challenges arising in the workplace?
We are an attractive employer, and our corporate culture specifically fosters employee well-being and an effective approach to working together. Flexible modes of work are becoming increasingly important to society. Helvetia, too, grants its staff the flexibility to work either from home or in the office, and our New Work project is our response to changing requirements in this arena. So, our aim is to offer our employees the benefits of digital networking where necessary and in-person collaboration where possible.
Which of the four strategic priorities – customer convenience, suitable offers, profitable growth and new opportunities – is Helvetia Austria focusing on?
True to our slogan “simple. clear. helvetia”, we will continue streamlining our processes and enhancing our efficiency going forward so as to achieve high levels of customer convenience and satisfaction, and thus bind our distribution partners and customers more closely to us in the long term. We are also pushing the evolution of our product landscape. Among other things, the focus here is on cyber-insurance and the ongoing development of SMART. We continue to rise to the demands that we place on ourselves as a top-positioned employer to ensure that in future we remain the kind of company that our motivated employees feel happy in.
Where would Helvetia Austria like to be in 2025? How do you want to be perceived by the market?
Over the next few years, we will focus more and more on issues such as the digital transformation in order to grant our employees more time for high-quality consultation. We are encouraging innovative ideas in order to advance our business model and make the company future-proof. When it comes to growth and profitability, we would like to remain at the forefront of the Austrian insurance market in 2025 – meaning we want to be perceived as a successful company with a long-term strategy.