At the top of the Insurance Industry
Interview with Artemis Pantelidou, EuroLife General Manager
How many years have you been active in the Cyprus market, what is your staff number and how many insurance policies do you have on average each year?
EuroLife is a leader in the local insurance industry. It was founded in 1989 and is a member of the Bank of Cyprus Group. It serves more than 100.000 customers and commands a leading market share. Our company employs 110 people and we have an extensive professional network of 235 insurance advisors in 14 offices throughout Cyprus. EuroLife has so far paid 1 billion euros in redemptions, benefits at maturity and claims on life, accident and health policies.
What are the three main challenges you face as an insurance company?
Population aging, digital technology and new, internationally imposed regulations are issues of concern to our industry, both around the world and in our country.
In Cyprus we are dealing with issues such as population aging –which creates several consequences for our industry–, the supplementary private pension issue that will become a dire reality for thousands of our fellow citizens in the near future, and the new health system, which introduces important changes.
International institutional pressure for greater accountability leads to new ways of engaging customers, while digital revolution and globalization are changing things at the service, support and competition levels.
At EuroLife we have succeeded in integrating into our lives a dynamic improvements program with the aim of always staying one step ahead of developments. Continuous training and the introduction of new standards are part of our daily work now.
In this ever-changing environment, our goal is to maintain the trust relationship we have built with our customers for 30 years now.
We are entering a new world in which we will continue to be the main players.
What steps have you taken ahead of digital transformation?
The world is moving, and so is the insurance industry which is drastically changing. Since 2017, EuroLife has been implementing a strategic development plan which includes actions that provide answers to today’s realities and tomorrow’s changes. An integral part of the plan is the company’s technological modernization and digital transformation, as well as the implementation of new ways of doing business.
We have modernized our work environment with new software that supports the full life cycle of our policies and contributes towards our strategic goal of being a modern, customer-focused organization.
The constant personal growth of our insurance advisors has always been our objective. In order for them to continue to be at the top, we provide them with the necessary infrastructure, services and the daily support they need. We therefore invest in technology infrastructure which assists our insurance advisors in offering both options and engagement to our clients. We have designed a central digital platform experience that integrates data from all our systems for the benefit of our clients, insurance advisors and employees. The platform enables seamless collaboration between them, as well as real-time access to the information they need, anytime and anywhere.
Furthermore, Lifeneeds is a digital tool that gives our customers the ability to build their own personalized plan for their individual and family needs.
The upgraded myeurolife online platform provides immediate, personal and reliable service to our customers for information related to their Insurance Policies. Its unique design enables customers to access their individual policies, as well as view coverage and benefits, units allocated to investment funds, the redemption value of their policies, the contact details of their Insurance Advisor, their history of payments and claims, and their income tax certificates.
In addition, EuroLife advisors are always connected to the Agents Portal –a communication platform that connects them with customers and the company. This platform is available online around the clock and allows insurance advisors to serve the needs of their associates even more efficiently.
Finally, the company’s website and social networks are constantly updated with useful information and offer an even more direct level of communication.
How many insurance products does your range include and which ones are most in demand? Are you planning to focus on new insurance sectors?
We offer a full range of plans that respond to the changing needs of people. Our private customers can select plans from three basic pillars that cover all needs of everyday life, whether these financial, savings, or health needs.
We create value through pension plans and plans for children and young individuals. We offer life insurance coverage and effective options for anyone seeking tax benefits. We protect our clients in case they are unable to work. Our investment plans are linked to investment funds and are of medium- to long-term horizon. Our life insurance plans protect families from unexpected events and include additional disability coverage and other benefits. We also offer pension plans for those who want systematic savings for the future, such as plans for people wishing to secure their retirement. Of course, we also offer health plans with multiple options for inpatient and outpatient care to ensure health and support are top priority during the most difficult times.
With us, business clients can find retirement solutions, options to protect their staff and complete health solutions.
Our plans cover every customer need with EuroLife’s know-how, professionalism and credibility.
We are always working on new products like every insurance company that wants to remain a leader would do. The needs for security and peace of mind are today greater than ever. We need to filter out stress from our everyday lives, plan for our future and live life again. This is true for both individuals and companies alike.
What is the role of insurance companies in the post-GHS era? What do you think businesses and policyholders should know?
GHS is a major change and we take it seriously in our planning. While things are very positive for local private insurance, the health sector is on a steady rise. For example, 2018 results show a 12,6% increase in health insurance premiums compared to 2017, while the same is true for the first quarter of 2019.
The coverage now offered by the GHS is limited to primary care since inpatient coverage will begin in June 2020. The Medica health plan is complementary to the GHS for a range of conditions not covered by the GHS.
Medica retains all its competitive advantages and is an attractive choice for both individuals and businesses: it offers full medical and hospital coverage, options for personal doctors, specialist doctors and hospitals that customers themselves can choose in both Cyprus and abroad. When every minute counts, medica guarantees quality, speed, and hassle-free, time-saving treatment without waiting lists.
The private insurance sector offers flexibility, speed, quality and choices. It is now up to each individual to choose the investment they want to make in their future and in their health. We will always be by their side.
Which reforms should be promoted for the Cyprus insurance market to function more effectively?
First, we look forward to the full implementation of the General Health System, so that it includes secondary inpatient care with true choices. However, in Cyprus we must at the same time tackle the acute issue of population aging which brings with it several consequences, such as the need to supplement pensions. Similar reforms are needed to allow individuals to select their retirement options so that they can enjoy a life with dignity when retirement comes.
Consequently, state institutions must encourage consumers to choose their insurance coverage by offering appropriate tax incentives.