In our sales operations, we focus on being close to the customer and offering a personal service. A crucial foundation for our success up until now is our countrywide sales network in Austria as well as in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to meet all the needs of our customers in an age of increasing digitalisation and to inspire them with our first-class products and services, we will gradually be expanding our offerings in this area over the coming years.
Digitalisation – challenge and opportunity
Digitalisation continues to develop apace, and our relationship to customers, and therefore sales, will change over the long term. The aim must be for our products to be equally available to all customers through all sales channels. The customer must always be the focus when setting up various sales options, whether it be electronically, by telephone or through personal contact. With our multi-channel strategy, we already cover a variety of customer needs. We make use of all sales channels likely to produce successful results, including exclusive sales, insurance brokers, banks and direct marketing. To do this, we follow an integrative approach.
Strong exclusive sales as a foundation for success
A total of 35 per cent of the premiums generated by the UNIQA Group come from exclusive sales by our own employees and general agencies. In Austria, this sales channel is responsible for almost half of the premiums. Approximately 1,700 field sales employees are in direct contact with customers locally. We support 320 general agencies as independent UNIQA partners with their market presence.
Service for insurance brokers
The second cornerstone of our sales operations is the broker sector. Brokers contribute significantly to the success of the UNIQA Group by generating about 30 per cent of premiums, amounting to about €900 million in Austria and over €1 billion in international business. The excellent level of collaboration with our partners in this area has made us number one in brokered sales in Austria. In the CEE region, sales through this channel even account for as much business as exclusive sales.
UNIQA has an especially close relationship with its 950 TopPartners. These brokers profit from personal support provided locally. UNIQA has created a special continuing education offer that is unique in Austria: our MaklerAkademie. Along with technical insurance training for young employees and staff from brokers’ offices, this academy also offers special seminars on personal development. About 200 brokers and their employees took advantage of this offer in 2015. Brokers also receive support by means of a 24-hour emergency line and training sessions that UNIQA VitalCoaches provide to brokers’ offices.
Comprehensive banking network in the regions
The banking sales channel supplements the UNIQA Group’s extensive local presence. Across the entire Group, 27 per cent of premiums are generated through this sales channel. The strategic partnership with the Raiffeisen Banking Group in Austria and the CEE region provides us with access to almost 17 million potential customers. In Italy, we have a successful cooperation arrangement with the Veneto Banca Group for the sale of life insurance. We are thus maintaining a regional focus on northern Italy.
Integrated direct marketing is growing
We currently earn about 5 per cent of premiums through integrated direct marketing. Online sales are becoming increasingly important, as more and more customers are using the internet to obtain information on the most suitable insurance for them. This is why the UNIQA Group in Austria now offers products from all departments online as well. For more complex products we only offer information about the product and the price; concluding the contract requires a personal meeting with an advisor. Simpler products, such as travel insurance or a simple supplementary health insurance policy, can be taken out directly online. In some CEE countries, e.g. Hungary, most vehicle insurance policies are already sold online. We also believe sales partnerships offer growth potential. In Austria, for example, we have partnerships with automobile clubs such as the ÖAMTC for accident insurance and with opticians, such as Hartlauer, for eyewear insurance. Through our UNIQA Leasing subsidiary, we offer both business customers and consumers a one-stop shop for motor vehicle leasing, insurance and registration.