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Marc Lauer (Foyer Group): Insurance in perpetual evolution

 

Foyer Group has taken full advantage of digitalisation to grow and improve its efficiency. It's a textbook case for a Luxembourg firm that celebrated its centenary last year. An interview with its CEO, Marc Lauer.

Marc Lauer Foyer.jpeg

 

 

What lessons have you learned from the last 20 years in the insurance industry?

I can identify three major trends: firstly, we have seen a huge evolution, moving from a purely local market 30 years ago to a market geared towards the free provision of services over the last two decades. This enabled players such as Lombard, PanEuroLife and Foyer International to expand in Luxembourg in the 1990s. More recently, we have seen internationalisation across all sectors, particularly as a result of Brexit.

Secondly, we have seen a tremendous increase in the complexity of the business, firstly because our world has become multi-crisis, with natural disasters, pandemics and conflicts, and secondly because of changes in regulations. When I left the Commissariat aux Assurances (CAA) some twenty years ago, the law on the insurance sector had 150 articles. The one on accounts had 100 and the one on contracts barely 50. Now we have to comply with all the international regulations in addition to national laws. Their constant evolution represents a high level of complexity that is growing rapidly.

The latest trend is the incredible impact of digitalisation, which has greatly improved relations with our intermediaries and customers. Despite our traditional image, we have opted for a strategy of open innovation and in-house innovation, in order to follow and adopt these trends. The key to our success lies in the quest for every possible efficiency gain, but without ever losing the personal relationship with the customer via a network of highly professional agents at key moments: the issue of a new contract or the settlement of a claim, for example.

 

 

What are Foyer's priorities?

We have identified several themes. Some are the same as in the past: for example, high-quality customer service remains part of our DNA.

Secondly, we are focusing on dynamic commercial development while preserving our profitability. We are pushing ahead with digitisation for the benefit of our employees, agents and customers. We also remain a force for innovation through our hackathons, the relationships we have forged with around 500 start-ups and 40 projects in production, including, for example, the visual recognition of documents or the appraisal of a used vehicle. Every 15 days, we organise in-house Brown Bag Sessions on innovation-related themes. The name refers to the kraft paper bags in which sandwiches are packed in the United States. The next theme focuses on ESG, not only in the regulatory field, but also through a genuine commitment at every level of our Group, right through to our shareholders. Finally, we are working to create a professional environment that is a pleasure to work in.

 

How do you get the best out of your teams to achieve your objectives?

First and foremost by creating an environment where people want to invest and flourish. So we've designed spacious offices, a pleasant company restaurant, a gym and a rest area. Secondly, we make sure that we respect our employees' commitments, particularly when it comes to CSR projects: we support them by giving them the opportunity to get personally involved and by providing financial assistance. For example, several of our employees are involved in a project to rebuild a school in Nepal, for which we are giving them time. Two members of the working group have visited the site and we are funding part of the project. An artist also went to Nepal to have the children draw on a canvas, which was completed by the children of our employees. In addition, we launched the ELAN programme a few years ago to give more responsibility to the people working on the files and reduce the harmful effects of a purely hierarchical approach. Finally, of course, there's training, communication and information, so that we can work more effectively together, while meeting the ever-changing expectations of our employees.

FACTS&FIGURES

 

  • Birthday: 16 January

  • Place of birth: Luxembourg

  • Nationality: Luxembourgish

  • Children: 2

  • Languages: Luxembourgish, French, German, English, Swedish

  • Hobbies: Golf

MY FAVOURITE

 

  • Cities: Stockholm

  • Restaurants: Clairefontaine, La Torre

  • Places: Skanör

  • Books: Kurt Wallander series (Henning Mankell)

  • Music: Jazz, Classical music

POSITION

  • CEO of Foyer Group

OTHERS

  • Chairman of INDR

  • Vice-Chairman of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce

 

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