Insurance company sales networks

CHANGE IN NUMBER OF AGENCIES 2009-2012

In 2012 an important process of strategic change was initiated, based on customer centricity, in which the multi-channel approach plays a key role, and is expressed through:

TRADITIONAL CHANNELS which feature a physical intermediary, including agencies, bancassurance agreements and other broking methods.

Agencies continue to be the main channel for the distribution of products, despite the processes for rationalising the Group's presence in the area, with a view to efficiency, in place in certain countries, with the resulting closing down and/or absorption of smaller agencies which are not economically sustainable into larger agencies.

 

Agencies by premium bracket
Country< 1 million per year 11-2 1 millions per year 12-4 1 millions per year 14-6 1 millions per year 1i> 6 1 millions per year 1Total
201120122011201220112012201120122011201220112012
Italy 165 167 270 272 428 425 366 361 939 908 2,168 2,133
Austria 102 95 19 22 1 1 1 1 0 0 123 119
Czech Republic 254 222 42 43 24 15 1 0 0 0 321 280
France 309 169 282 226 163 227 26 64 14 38 794 724
Germany 3,060 2,381 146 157 39 46 1 2 1 1 3,247 2,587
Spain 1,228 1,252 110 128 25 28 3 3 1 1 1,367 1,412
Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 56 49 56 49
TOTAL 5,118 4,286 869 848 680 742 398 431 1,011 997 8,076 7,304
Incidence % 63.4% 58.7% 10.8% 11.6% 8.4% 10.2% 4.9% 5.9% 12.5% 13.7% 100.0% 100.0%
  • The overall number of agencies declined by 772 in 2012.
  • The reduction is concentrated in the lowest premium brackets. Specifically, the number of agencies with revenues under 1 million euros per year decreased by 832, while agencies with revenues between 2 million and 6 million euros increased by 95. This reflects the reorganisation processes underway in Germany (Central Krankenversicherung and Generali Versicherung) and France.
  • Conversely, in Spain the additional increase in agencies with revenues of less than 2 million euros confirmed the expansion of the networks underway.

A sales force of 82,247 operate in the agencies, composed of:

  • 18,818 agents (21,320 in 2011), mainly entrepreneurs and primarily one-firm agents (14,933), meaning agents who distribute solely products from Group companies. Multi-firm agents, totalling 3,885, operate mainly in Germany. They totalled 631 in Italy, and most belong to the Europ Assistance distribution network.
  • In 2012, agent loyalty was strengthened, with an increase in the percentage of agents with seniority of more than 10 years, though the majority have less seniority (67.7%).
  • 23,527 subagents (24,643), who, based on assignments from the agent, manage the business in specifically defined parts of the agent's allocated area, at their own risk and expense.
  • 24,943 self-employed agency workers (25,940), who find new business for agents.
  • 14,959 sales force on payroll (15,539), who are directly on the payroll of Group companies and mainly focus on the retail segment.

Recruitment of the sales force involves selection through the careful assessment of unsolicited applications, made in response to job postings or at careers days i.e. career guidance days to put companies in contact with students and graduates, and continues with an internal process of career development, which can vary from several months to several years, and may lead to classification in the position of agent.

Through bancassurance agreements, Group companies expand the methods for contacting clients, also distributing insurance products through banking networks. This channel is underdeveloped in relation to the market potential. However, given that it plays a crucial role in the multi-channel strategy adopted by the Group, it will see sharp development in the near future, with the goal of satisfying all client preferences indicated in terms of access methods. In 2012, in the Sustainability Report scope, 145 agreements were operational, for a total of 6,360 branches.

Insurance products are also offered through other networks of intermediaries, which supplement the traditional sales force. Specifically, approximately 47,900 financial advisors and almost 30,000 brokers work for the Group, in addition to more than 24,000 points of sale, comprising travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, airline companies, car showrooms, car hire companies and body shops, with whom partnership agreements have been signed.

With a view to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of traditional channels and improving the quality of service focused on client needs, in 2012 the Distribution Network Program was developed. This programme, coordinated by the Head Office, aims at sharing competencies and best practices within the Group, and mainly concerns the one-firm agent and bancassurance networks. For agents, this programme is focused in improving the operational models for network management (recruitment, training, and incentives) to increase productivity through actions on the organisation and processes. For the bancassurance agreements, the initiative is aimed at both strengthening current partnerships, expanding distribution potential, and searching for and assessing new potential partnerships to develop additional agreements and identify the best operational methods, also to provide custom-made offers.

DIRECT CHANNELS, with no intermediaries, developed through a series of innovative business models.

"Classic" direct sales through companies that distribute products primarily through contact centres and the web. In Italy, the Group operates through the hub comprised of Genertel and Genertellife, and in Germany CosmosDirekt is the market leader in on-line sales.

Direct channel developed by traditional companies which support the direct channel with distribution channels in local areas, such as in Switzerland and in Spain, where in 2011 the Canal Cliente distribution project was launched to supplement the service offered by traditional channels.

Cooperation with partner portals, as in France, where E-Cie Vie (Generali France) is the leader in direct sales, offering life insurance products on several highly successful financial portals.

Business development via on-line aggregators, web applications that gather information which, in response to specific requests from users, can search the internet for offers concerning a specific product and aggregate all of them for the end users to compare. This distribution method is used in Germany, Spain and Switzerland, for example.

For distribution through direct channels, the Canal Grande programme was launched, coordinated by the Head Office. It aims at increasing and improving the customer service through the development of new distribution models that provide direct access to insurance company services through innovative channels. The programme will be developed through three main lines: supporting existing initiatives of the Group, also through the constant exchange of best practices, developing feasibility studies to launch new modern distribution initiatives, and promoting the launch of new direct sales activities. In this context, new types of distribution were tested, such as kotelezo.hu in Hungary in 2009 and mefirst.be in Belgium in 2010.

 

Multi-channel strategies are implemented outside the Sustainability Report scope. Specifically:

Other European countries: Genertel.hu, launched several years ago on the Hungarian market, is the leading insurance company in the country, focused mainly on motor products. In 2010, the company also launched Genertel.sk, an innovative company for the Slovak market, which uses Genertel. hu's IT platform and process. In Poland, Generali PPF has entered into an agreement to acquire Proama, which features multi-channel platform distribution model which offers policies via internet, telephone and through multi-firm agents. The Group uses the direct sales channel also in the Netherlands and, in a test phase, in Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovenia.

Latin America: La Caja in Argentina and Banorte-Generali in Mexico are two companies which use multi-channel strategies to distribute products in South America, mainly targeting banking clients.

Asia: the Group has launched the direct distribution channel as part of a multi-channel model in Thailand and, recently, in China, using a telemarketing approach.