The PZU Group pursues ambitious operational and financial objectives. We are intensively working on digital transformation in our insurance, banking, investment and health business. The actions we took and the results we generated in 2019 have strengthened the Group’s foundations and demonstrate how poised we are to embrace change.
Our approach to change has proven to be particularly important during the coronavirus pandemic. We have shown how innovative and agile our group can be when faced with unexpected events. This would not have been possible without having a streamlined organization, an ability to communicate transparently and coordinate collaboration between many different areas, though above all without having all the great people we have on staff.
The new PZU is more than just insurance. Caring for people’s health, life, property and future are not just empty words. This is our mission and heralds the values that guide us every day. As an insurer and the largest group on the financial market in this part of Europe, we support employees, clients and service providers. We have undertaken a number of efforts to mitigate the adverse effects exerted by this pandemic on society.
In response to the first coronavirus cases, our first step was to focus on safeguarding our employees. In mid-March we implemented solutions to enable 80% of our staff to work remotely. The next step was to align our operations to facilitate safe customer service. To the maximum extent possible we use various remote channels in our sales and service processes (claims handling) and in accessing telemedicine services to limit physical interactions with clients. We introduced door to door service in car repairs ranging from towing a car to a workshop selected by PZU, overseeing its repair work, delivering the repaired vehicle to the client and determining the value of the claim to be paid and the bodily injury sustained using remote analysis of the photos of the damaged vehicle and the pertinent medical documentation.
Our stable market position has enabled us to fast track the help we provide to Poles during this global pandemic. The PZU Group earmarked over PLN 20 million for this purpose. This money was used to purchase medical equipment for hospitals, personal protection equipment for healthcare workers, the police and the border guard and 200 cars to transport laboratory test samples. We also distributed nearly one thousand modern devices to monitor patients’ vital signs to infectious disease hospitals. In addition, in early March PZU launched free medical tele-consultations for all Poles, offered free legal aid to its clients as well as free psychological help to healthcare professionals.
In the short term, the risks associated with the repercussions caused by the coronavirus pandemic may weaken our sales growth. However, in the long run we see an opportunity to strengthen our client relations. It is important for us to show understanding during this time when we are genuinely needed and offer flexible solutions to help solve specific problems. In these circumstances we want the PZU brand promise in the phrase “you can rely on us” to reflect our genuine conviction of being ready to help.
The coronavirus pandemic has precipitated major changes in clients’ purchasing habits. Between March and April 2020 we posted extraordinarily marked growth in the interest in our online products. We recorded triple-digit growth in the number of agent transactions in the myPZU portal and double-digit growth in the interest in telemedicine services. In our opinion these figures corroborate the hidden potential in digitizing our services. They strengthen our conviction that we can augment the Group’s value to an ever greater degree by being mobile, flexible and accessible to our clients and partners. What is important is that our hallmark quality in the classic sales model has also permeated our online services. I am convinced that many of these solutions will continue to enjoy the same level of popularity when the pandemic subsides.
Currently, many of the solutions tested in pilot projects in 2019 are under implementation and development. We can already see the robust outcomes these efforts are producing, especially in areas such as claims handling and setting tariffs. Bearing in mind these results and the fast-paced evolution of client needs, we are intensively working on the deployment of more projects. We also believe that in the medium and long term, the progress and pace of work associated with digitization and digitalization will make a significant contribution to enhancing the PZU Group’s market position and value.
We are working on devising the PZU Group’s new strategy, not only to further, but also to strengthen the changes introduced so far. Its goals and targets will be no less ambitious than when it comes to delivering above average financial performance. Our success is also measured by non-financial objectives. As the largest insurer in Poland we have to be certain that the Group’s development is sustainable, i.e. it incorporates the needs of our employees, clients, business partners and other stakeholders, as well as our social position and environmental and climate impact. Over more than 200 years of tradition compel us to operate in a responsible manner, in which business decisions are subject to short and long-term analysis. We endeavor to set the bar high when it comes to defining market standards as an advocate of best business practices, proving at the same time that this approach fosters our ability to generate a high return on equity, thereby forming the basis to pay dividends and build shareholder value.