Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. is Switzerland’s largest insurer and ranks in the top 100 in the Forbes Global 2000 list. It employs about 53,000 people serving customers in more than 210 countries and territories around the globe. As a member of the Group leadership team and as the Group IT services officer, Thomas Kropp enables a better experience for Zurich’s customers and employees by making best use of the opportunities technology provides.

 

Q: What are the top business goals of your digital strategy?

A: Our emphasis is on putting customers at the heart of everything and focusing on how we can better serve their increasingly connected lifestyles, with digital innovations that provide the tailored risk protection they want.

 

We are committed to changing the customer experience through innovation. Our three strategic pillars are customer-centricity, innovation and simplification.

 

Beyond that, we are looking for ways to become more efficient, which helps us to make best use of our resources. One example of this approach, which also should improve how customers experience us, is the new digital capabilities for reporting claims that we have introduced, which improve the quality and speed of claims handling and generate loss-adjustment expense savings. That benefits customers by allowing us to pay claims faster and spend more human time with customers who need this type of personalised support.

 

Q: Where have you had the biggest impact so far?

A: We started with one fundamental question: Do we start with simplification, and then focus on the digital part? Or do we first focus mainly on the digital aspects? We decided that we needed to simplify our organisation first. If we had ‘digitised’ overly complex processes, that would not have had the best outcome. So, we invested substantial resources in the last two years to simplify our product portfolios, our processes and the underlying IT. We retired 30 percent of our applications and moved 40 percent of the remaining ones to the cloud. We consolidated over 50 data centers – today we have just 15 – and upgraded our global network. All this helped us build the technical foundation that we need to deliver digital solutions at optimal speed.

But we don’t just continue to simplify and modernise our existing operations that are the foundation of our business. We are also building new capabilities for the future. This will lead our business transformation over the longer term.

 

I believe in the power of ecosystems. We are not only collaborating through strategic alliances, but also using the power of insurtechs and startups to continue to experiment with new opportunities.

 

For instance, we will focus on what customers really need: We have already achieved tangible results, such as providing roadside assistance services to customers in real time and are enabling ecosystems in the wider sense.

Read the full Q&A to learn more about Zurich’s digital transformation, its impact on corporate culture and the hurdles Zurich has overcome during implementation.