Our sales force

The agent channel currently represents the backbone of the Group. Considering the market trend, and despite the increasing importance of the new alternative channels, the agent channel will be a predominant one also in the future for all main regions and for both fast-growing and mature markets.
The latter is true only if we assume that agent channel will be able to undertake a significant step ahead by removing currents constraints, make the whole sales process much more efficient and hassle free than it is today, adapting skills and systems to the new challenges.
As a matter of fact, in mature markets agents are threatened by the proliferation of channels, the competition of product specialists, the changes in customers purchase trends and the growing requirements set by regulators, while working with skills, operating models and systems that were designed for previous market conditions.
In other terms, protecting and strengthening our agent franchisees in mature markets is a must and this is the reason why we are pursuing it through a Group strategic project named Excel in Tied Agents.

To this effect, and for the purpose of further improving effectiveness and efficiency in terms of productivity, sales quality and customer orientation, carried out through a successful management of all the possible synergies at Group level, the Excel in Tied Agents project has been launched with the specific objective of modernizing, improving and allowing for a more effective and efficient sales process throughout all the physical distribution networks, thereby acting directly on key aspects in the value chain, on cost efficiency and on strong customer service orientation. More precisely, the project should bring a quantum leap in productivity and effectiveness of tied agent network that can only occur by removing currents constraints, and drastically make the whole sales process much more efficient and hassle free than today, by freeing up agents of administrative burdens and allowing them to spend more time with and for the clients.
The project belongs to the so-called Technical Excellence area, being it part of a wider program that links distribution and customer activities with those of life and P&C, in order to define, implement and track relevant actions in the business units, meant at increasing technical margins while assuring a substantial growth.

In this respect, after going through specific activity gates, along a very structured process, the project has identified some main development areas and per each of these areas the business units have designed and implemented, on a local basis, a specific action plan for the next three years under the co-ordination and supervision of the Head Office Technical Excellence department. To design these action plans, the business units have leveraged on the capability building tools and levers produced through the project such as: an international network and team of experts, a Group knowledge exchange platform made of workshops, web share point, reference guidelines and best practices book, a specific set of KPIs and the related monitoring system.
The development areas identified are the following:

  • network efficiency
    • sale process efficiency and effectiveness;
    • sales force life-cycle management/organization;
    • network segmentation and clustering;
  • remuneration
    • value based compensation schemes.

Improving sales force efficiency and effectiveness can be obtained mostly through the improvement, modernization and simplification of the main sales process and their automation. Reaching efficiency requires a 360° methodology which includes an ambitious sales plan, a defined sales process and a good monitoring system - all of them supported by the necessary technology and tools. Structured and disciplined selling processes and their advanced automation are essential to optimize commercial time, to increase the volume of contacts, to then convert them into new clients, develop their commercial potential gain their loyalty and, in case of loss, do the best to win them back. A significant increase in efficiency generates a direct impact on network productivity and profitability. At the same time, this efficiency increase, combined with an improved customer management ability of agents, allows to leverage the in-force customer portfolio for intensive up and cross-selling actions in order to draw value and increase premium.

In order to protect current agents, working only on the efficiency side may not be enough because there is also a need to introduce new metrics and rewarding criteria for efficiency and productivity in addition to improving the compensation models towards a value-based, customer oriented selling approach. Last but not least, a fundamental requirement to succeed in pursuing the abovementioned goals is to have a qualified and well-skilled sales force by using professional recruitment tools and structured development plans, providing a sustainable stability and quality of the network over time. Particularly, the turnover of agents can be reduced significantly if the recruitment process is qualitybased and working effectively with a significant impact both in terms of cost saving and higher productivity. Recruitment and development are the first and key step of the entire agent job life-cycle which then includes a phase of stabilization, consolidation and carrier path.

The goals of the Excel in Tied Agent project are not focused only in the short term. Modernizing the network and consequently creating a new agent generation are most of all mid and long term targets in order to protect our franchisees. Given the proliferation of new type of competitor as a consequence of the ease of access generated by digital technology, renovating the agency model and developing a new digital agent generation is crucial.

The first step, that has been undertaken in this direction and that will be the most relevant development area for enhancing the productivity of agent network, is the newly launched Enabling true Multi-channel Distribution project that will allow for customers multi-access to agencies mainly through new digital tools and solutions.

Being multi-channelled is one of our strategic imperatives; we are, above all, a retail Group and today clients are asking to deal with insurers in different ways. Our goal is to respond to this need and become an excellent producer of insurance solutions in a distribution landscape which is rapidly becoming more challenging: while in the past distribution occurred through one’s own tied agent networks, nowadays more and more channels are available. Clients are driving the sales process, supported by more transparency driven by regulators and new technology available. New access modes are emerging allowing customers to be more and more independent in their relationship with the insurer, being able to collect information on alternative products, comparing options for the chosen product, purchasing the preferred one and getting the post-sale service. These new access modes are increasingly important to establish customer brand perception, provide information and impact their behavior. Customers are becoming hybrid giving rise to a remote relationship in addition to physical, shifting habits and requiring more differentiated contact points with insurers.

Enabling true multi-channel Distribution project is part of the Technical Excellence activities and is meant to fully satisfy client demand by developing a truly multi-access and multichannel model, targeting also new customer segments. The goal is to achieve the maximum level of integration between traditional and direct modes of access reflecting customer behaviors and expectations, thus increasing customer satisfaction and value creation.

Our sales force

In 2013 we created a community of experts for running projects focusing on direct and multi- channel distribution, defining key levers and key best practices by lever, assessing the technical capability of business units and developing initiatives on customer and distribution. In this way we take advantage of local and global synergies, with local best practices elevated to Group’s benefit and redeployed locally in less mature market.

Our multi-channel/multi-access approach is centered on different streams representing the main levers (lead management and CRM, distribution platforms, customer portals, direct channels, new generation of products and services and new ventures). Technical Excellence projects were clearly identified and given priority for full implementation in a short-term, while a blueprint based on multi-channel/multi-access best practices will be released in mid-term in order to properly pilot future initiatives. This will enable the selection of the optimal multi-channel approach given a country’s existing distribution model, how to perform company-driven processes across channels and modes of access (e.g. retention, cross-selling, etc.) and how to differentiate the product offer across channels. The creation of innovative Group prototypes for new products and services as well as new platforms for customers and distribution will be a further step in our approach. The use of technology will play a fundamental role in this issue, being mobile technology and online platforms differentiating ingredients that should be coupled with new business models. The promotion and the support of new launches in direct and multi-access business are also important activities that are being followed and will, in future, be pursued closely as part our activities.

Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. - C.F. e P.IVA 00079760328