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Generali Vitality: ‘all employees will soon have a robot’

by Anne van den Berg

Everyone can simplify his or her work with a robot, but change is cumbersome. It is therefore important to tell employees in accessible and concrete terms how they can get started with RPA. Diana Kanostrevac of Generali Vitality discussed this process this during the recent Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA) event in Amsterdam. Her colleague Peter Stockhammer explains why RPA is indispensable in their strategy.

Generali Vitality is 191 years old, says Peter Stockhammer, the company’s Managing Director. This means the organisation has been through a lot and has had to change continuously to survive. When he saw a survey eight years ago to the effect that 97% thought they would never be without their smartphone again (compared to 43 percent who thought they would stay with the same partner forever), he thought: we need to put all our efforts into that.

How do you bring a 184-year-old organisation into the digital age?

“The moment I read that study was really the tipping point. We had to change, but how do you bring a company that was 184 years old into the digital age? So we started delivering wellness products that are available through an app, a web portal, but also through traditional channels. And we also considered: can we automate processes? We started doing that from Munich and then we rolled it out in Europe.”

To develop the right products and services, Generali Vitality conducted research among customers. “And customers said: actually, all insurance products are pretty much the same. So we thought: can’t we become more of a partner to that customer? We came up with a lifetime partnership, where we think not only about care, but also prevention,’ Mr Stockhammer explained.

For that lifetime partnership, Generali Vitality developed apps that support healthy living for instance. But it also became more important to meet the customer’s 24/7 expectations in that digital experience. This is where automation and RPA in particular play an important role. “It’s great what you can do with RPA,” says Elaine Mannix, Global Insurance Leader at UiPath, “but change is cumbersome.”

Getting started with RPA

Diana Kanostrevac, former Head of Operations and Innovation within Generali Vitality, demonstrated how employees can get started with RPA themselves. She showed a video explaining how RPA is connecting functionalities and systems “with humans in the loop”. E-mail triage is shown by way of example, where a large part of the e-mail is handled automatically and only the difficult cases are handled by humans.

Kanostrevac: “Technology is changing how we do business with customers.” Stockhammer adds: “Technology helps us to develop a customer experience of superior quality and gives our employees the opportunity to care genuinely about the customers. The best thing is: the customers don’t know that the robots do most of the work.” Kanostrevac: “We can create engagement 24/7, without us as humans being online round the clock, year round.”

No IT background needed

Ultimately, says Kanostrevac (now Senior Innovation Consulting), everyone needs a robot. “At Generali Vitality, more and more employees want to know what you can do with it, see examples and get started. We now have a community of 200 people who are already using RPA. You don’t need an IT background. You just have to get started, try, fail and then you become successful in deploying RPA.”

But, says Stockhammer, it is also important that the top executives in a company are behind the robots. “If RPA is part of the strategy, employees think it makes more sense to start working with RPA. They develop new ideas and knowledge spreads from one unit to the others through these examples. This also prevents that only one person has the knowledge, and prepares employees for the future.”

You can register here to receive the recording of the Deep Dive with Generali Vitality at DIA Amsterdam

See also:

Case: Smart Automation at Generali



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