Insurer OHRA has been firmly committed to digital transformation since 2014. This direct underwriter no longer has employees filling in forms. But when OHRA hid its phone number, it found the point where it had crossed the line…
On the left, there’s an image of an old-fashioned cassette tape. On the right is the logo of Spotify. And between them is an arrow pointing clearly to the digital music service. Maurice Koopman, OHRA director, uses these images in presentations encouraging his employees to go digital. ‘It works very well,’ he says. ‘Except that I sometimes have to explain to my younger colleagues what a cassette is.’
OHRA was founded in 1925 as the 'Mutual Health Insurance Fund for Senior Government Officials'. In 1994, it merged with insurance company Nuts, and five years later with Delta Lloyd. In 2017, Delta Lloyd was acquired by the NN Group and OHRA has been part of the insurance and asset management group ever since. The direct underwriter – which pays claims directly rather than through an intermediary, and focuses particularly on non-life and health insurance – began its digital transformation in 2014. Most processes have now been fully digitised, and in one case, even went a step too far.
What does digital transformation mean to you?
‘It means digitising all our business processes, so that as many customer processes as possible do not need any staff input. At OHRA you won’t see employees manually transcribing forms any more.'
Maurice Koopman (47) has been director of insurance company OHRA since 2015. Before this, he worked at Delta Lloyd and ABN AMRO Insurance in management positions covering sales, marketing intelligence and sales support.
Can a system handle a complex claim for damages on its own?
‘Not always. This is the one process where we still work with claims handlers and employees: customers usually file a claim online, but then one of our people will get to work.'
Did OHRA design a clear digitisation strategy in advance, or did you just get started?
‘The latter, in all honesty. But we did it in a logical order. There are three main streams within our business processes. We digitised the first, becoming a customer or buying a product, in 2014 and 2015. The second stream involves making a change or stopping a policy, and this went digital in 2016 and 2017. The third main stream, claiming damages and submitting declarations, is more complicated in terms of processes. You can’t do this without people. But in addition to customer call handling, we have opened up as many digital channels as possible, including LiveChat, email and WhatsApp. This was an immediate hit. Customers love it when they get a quick answer through an app, or can include a photo of damages when filing a claim. Customer satisfaction rose to more than 9 out of 10! This is just one example of a digital change that didn’t come from a strategy: employees simply started doing it themselves. They sent digital messages to each other, so why not do it with their customers?’
‘We did not have
a clear strategy;
we just took it step by step’
Are there limits to OHRA's digital transformation?
‘Certainly. At one point we had our phone number rather hidden away because we wanted to do everything online. But we have gone back on that idea because it annoyed customers. When they go through drastic changes, such as a divorce or moving in together, they still want to call OHRA. And even when customers sign up via digital channels, they sometimes still call to check whether everything is clear and accepted. So that is why nowadays our telephone number is easy to find on our website. We let the customers choose the channel they prefer.’
How do you make sure employees stay enthusiastic about digital transformation, and aren’t afraid of losing their jobs?
‘That is an important point, because digitisation does mean that you need fewer people. In the past ten years, we have gone from 1,600 full time employees to 420. Around 300 full time positions were lost through digitisation. We are honest with our people: we tell them that while the amount of work is decreasing, what is left becomes more complicated, more fun and challenging. What they do now can’t be done digitally.’
Non-life insurance for individuals and self-employed
workers plus travel, home, car and pet insurance policies
Number of customers