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As I am writing this, I am sitting in my home office. Just like all of our 90 employees, just like over half of all German employees. The global corona pandemic is crippling public life. Offices, shops, factories, kindergartens, schools, universities and theaters are closed. What does all of this mean for the insurance industry?
It can already be said that the Coronavirus crisis will be the most significant driving force of digitalization in the industry. The pandemic is now forcing all companies to be flexible and mobile. Anyone who still refuses to go digital, is putting their economic existence at risk.
For us as a medium-sized company, this extreme situation is a huge test. OCC is the leading provider of special insurance for classic collectors’ vehicles in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We have over 120,000 customers, and they want new quotes for insurance or to change their contract, as quickly and accurately as possible. Even in a crisis, we have to be available for our customers and do our job.
A decision we made last year helped us a great deal in this respect. Back in July 2019, we decided to steadily and consistently go down the path of digitalization. We consider ourselves to be a front runner of embracing digitalization in our industry. This means that we had already looked for solutions at an early stage to decouple the insurance business from its previous mechanisms and transform it from the analog to the digital world. OCC’s digital transformation included a new homepage, a new brand/logo, a new corporate design, a new tone of voice, an online calculator for insurance rates, the possibility to take out insurance online and also to manage contracts online.
Another challenge was to equip our system with the appropriate high-performance hardware. Our IT department has done a great job here. All employees received laptops with customized software in a timely manner, from which they can connect to the company network at anytime from anywhere in the world.
Our claims processors can therefore process insurance contracts at any time. Special communication software connects all departments and additional tools such as Trello or Zoom facilitate teamwork on projects. Video conferences are now part of the daily routine. All important and sensitive data is secured in a company-owned cloud.
How do we maintain contact with our customers?
We communicate with customers via telephone, e-mail or Facebook chat. We inform customers about campaigns such as newsletters or mailings. We keep relationships with customers strong via our web magazine and our social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, etc.
For all of these jobs, nobody has to be in the office anymore. And our clients can stay at home as well.
OCC has completely decoupled itself from the analogue world and is therefore free and mobile and can react to new challenges or problems at lightning speed.
How are our employees dealing with the new situation?
For many, the move from the open-plan office to their own four walls takes some getting used to. I often hear from our employees that working in a home office is quite relaxed, and that it seems to be easier to concentrate on tasks and projects at hand. Nevertheless, they miss human interaction, the familiar sight of the colleague sitting at the next desk, the little joke in between work, all these things which contribute to a good office atmosphere.
But the threat of the Corona pandemic is so serious that there is currently no other way out until the situation calms down again. Protecting our employees’ and customers’ health takes top priority. And nobody can yet estimate when our lives will return to normal.
We can see that we have entered this crisis well prepared. And even more now than ever we feel that we are one team, one big family.
When we were planning the digitalization of OCC, we had of course not thought of such a horror scenario. Let’s be quite honest, we would have gladly refrained from a test under these circumstances.