Jean Elia, Frederic Ruaz (SOGELIFE): Building tomorrow's life insurance together
Jean Elia and Frederic Ruaz, respectively CEO and Director of Marketing, Communication & Innovation at SOGELIFE, look back on 25 years of growth that have made the firm a key player in Luxembourg. They see a future with strong investment in ESG, continually improving customer and employee experience.
What progress has SOGELIFE made with digitalisation?
Jean Elia: We have implemented several digitalisation projects, in particular working to improve our customer experience and operational efficiency. For the former we recently launched our "Track & Trace" platform, which offers our partners a real-time view of the application acceptance workflow. This allows them to identify and remedy any blockages, such as adding missing information. We have also launched a B2C platform, offering clients the ability to consult their investments and policy statements at any time. As a result, they can have their general questions answered quickly and easily, yet still be able to consult their advisor for more complex or specific questions. This is a real differentiating tool for SOGELIFE, since these portals are rarely used in our industry that addresses HNW and UHNWI. Furthermore, we carried out a complete overhaul of our underwriting documents, using design-thinking methodology, in conjunction with our partners. As well as the design review, this overhaul enabled us to reduce the number of application pages and signatures required, to eliminate the need for initials on documents and, above all, to implement a 100% digital underwriting process, most notably with electronic signatures.
In terms of operational efficiency, we have deployed a platform enabling us to connect directly with our custodian banks, thus optimising the management of information flows, particularly financial data. Also, we are in the process of finalising the digitalisation of all financial management activities. On top of all this, we carried out a project on what we call “single acceptance”, which aims to reduce the number of interactions and contacts at the time of application. In addition to improving the customer and partner experience, all these projects contribute to enhancing our employee experience and add value to their jobs.
What are the characteristics of your product SOGELIFE POSITIVE IMPACT?
Frederic Ruaz: Our business consists of preserving and passing on inheritance, whether financial or patrimonial, and SOGELIFE POSITIVE IMPACT embodies the concrete expression of one of the key pillars of our CSR strategy: promoting positive impact solutions. It is based on the values of the Société Générale Group, but also those specific to SOGELIFE. When investing, many clients nowadays express the desire to achieve a "double bottom line", i.e. to combine returns based on their convictions and performance. A recent study has shown that environmental, social and governance (ESG) funds have outperformed traditional products in Europe in the first quarter of 2021. Our product gives our clients access to a 100% unit-linked investment, which is also 100% SRI (socially responsible investment), built on principles that are fully transparent. With the underlying funds all labelled by LuxFlag or similar SRI labelling organisations, or having an excellent rating according to more than 400 evaluation Environment, Social and Governance criteria. These funds perform in the same way as traditional funds, but often allow for more resilience and their themes are directly related to the UN's sustainable development objectives. This product is fully in line with our CSR strategy to strengthen our positioning as a more responsible insurer, investor and employer. More recently, this strategy was rewarded with the ESG label of INDR and “Responsible Europe”.
This year, SOGELIFE is celebrating its 25th anniversary. What major milestones have marked these two and a half decades?
Jean Elia: 25 years ago, SOGELIFE was a small organisation, and even in 2010 we only worked with a limited number of partners. Since then, we have developed our open architecture business model and our network of partnerships. In 2015, we launched our business mix transformation plan, responding market developments and our future ambitions. As a result we have seen a considerable increase in the proportion of unit linked fund in our assets under management and our premiums.
. The programme is based on three pillars: our innovative unit-linked offering, the quality of our services and our value proposition. It has been a very successful programme so far, as our unit-linked assets have more than tripled since 2015. In 2019, we surpassed the €10 billion mark in assets under management; today this total exceeds €13 billion. We now serve nine countries in Europe and have become a major player in the market. We are very proud of this, but we remain pragmatic and humble. Our strength is how we combine the advantages of a company that works on a human scale, with the support of a large group. We remain very agile in our way of working and we favour diversity, but above all we prize individuality. Nonetheless, our transformation work is ongoing and we will continue to improve the experience of our partners and clients thanks to our key asset: Our people. Today, SOGELIFE has nearly 140 employees.
Frederic Ruaz: The next 25 years will allow us to deepen this process of co-construction with our partners in order to offer an ever more pleasant experience to our common clients. It is highly important for us to recognise their trust and loyalty, and to come together to celebrate the past 25 years while looking forward with them to the future world of life and savings insurance.