Helge Leiro Baastad: Record-high customer satisfaction by the end of the anniversary year

In 2016, we celebrated that it was 200 years since the first predecessor of our company was established. At the end of the anniversary year, Gjensidige had a solid position in the domestic market in Norway. Customer satisfaction was record-strong, and customer loyalty was also at a high level.

The year

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Gjensidige delivered sound results also in 2016, with a total profit of NOK 4.7 billion. The results are still below the desired level in Sweden and the Baltics, but we have made systematic efforts in a number of areas throughout 2016 to strengthen our position in these two markets. We expect both areas to make a positive contribution to Gjensidige’s profitability in the years ahead.

Our banking and pension businesses have both been in operation for ten years, and they are both strong, ambitious players in the Norwegian market. When it was established in 2007, the Retail Bank was the smallest of approximately 130 banks in Norway. At the turn of last year, it had grown to number 14 among Norwegian mortgage banks.

Our pension business was number four in the market for defined contribution pensions at the turn of the year. Both make positive contributions to Gjensidige’s profit, with a total profit of NOK 553,9 million in 2016.

Our customers are paid a large proportion of our profit through the customer dividend model.

Since Gjensidige was listed in 2010, the Gjensidige Foundation has given NOK 11 billion back to our customers in customer dividend.

Social responsibility for 200 years

Social responsibility has always been a natural and important part of our activities. As a fire insurance provider, we have been passionate about fire prevention for 200 years. In 2016, corporate social responsibility became an integral part of our annual risk mapping. Through an in-depth analysisof stakeholders and topics, we identified which areas we should give most priority to in our CSR work.

As a major asset manager, it is especially important that we set requirements for socially respon- sible operation in the companies we invest in. At the end of 2016, 85 companies had been excluded from our investment portfolio because they did not meet our criteria. 

Technology and customer behaviour are changing faster than ever. There are many indications that we are in a period of great change, where many new services are being automated. This has already had an impact on how we run our business, and it will probably also affect demand for our products. The development entails challenges for us as a socially responsible company, both as regards customers’ need for modern products and the need for our staff to have up-to-date expertise.

The year 2016 was not particularly costly in terms of natural disaster claims. In August, however, there was a torrential downpour in a limited part of the Oslo area that, in the course of just over an hour, led to unusually large losses. We see this as part of a trend where climate-related losses become more frequent and more extensive than before. So far, the situation is not dramatic for us, but we are keeping a keen eye on developments, both in terms of loss prevention and as regards the need to change tariffs.

Strategic direction

In 2016, we carried out a new assessment of our strategic direction up until 2020. We wish to intensify the work on digitalisation of our products and services, in order to be able to interact with our customers in a smarter and more efficient way. We will invest further in analytically driven insurance operations. Data collection, data handling and good, facts-based analyses will form the basis for all our activities relating to pricing, claims settle- ment and customer service.

At the same time, we must strengthen the organisation’s ability to meet a future that requires modernisation and increasingly rapid changes.

We will increase our focus on accident and health insurance. It is an area that we expect to grow and develop in the Nordic countries for many years to come. An increased standard of living and higher life expectancy mean that there will be demand for more health services than the public health services can offer. This will create room for more solutions financed by private parties. Gjensidige will play a key role in this future situation.

Throughout 2016, we have carried out organisa-ional restructuring and staff downsizing, and we have worked on management development and competence-raising under the auspices of the Gjensidige Customer and Brand School. Everything has been done to prepare for a future characterised by stronger focus on technology and analytics.

We have high ambitions for the road ahead of us. We aim to be the best in the industry as regards customer orientation. We aim to deliver the
best digital customer experience. We want to be relevant in people’s everyday lives and businesses’ day-to-day operations. We shall ensure that our customers are well prepared if something should happen. And we will help them when a loss or accident occurs. We shall know the customer best and care the most – also in 2017.