Beginning of July a new law will come into force in Belgium. This law will oblige developers to conclude an additional guarantee insurance for construction projects. This new legislation relates also to the construction of single-family houses and apartment blocks built by private developers. The new mandatory policy covers losses up to half a million euros on construction projects that architects or building contractors are responsible for. Up to now, developers have found it difficult to seek recourse with the responsible partners – because the guilty party can frequently not be clearly identified.
The fact that HDI Global SE is currently developing a package for this market appears to be new at first glance. This is because anybody thinking in terms of an industrial insurance generally has in mind big power generating plants, factory buildings or massive production facilities. However, for some years now HDI has been expanding its business in Europe with small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) generating sales of up to 50 million euros a year. The focus of this expansion includes selected niche markets such as liability insurance for purely financial losses in the Netherlands or decennial insurance in Belgium. The objective now is to provide a more efficient service for the SME customer group within standardised volume business using online sales channels. This will complementing the traditional clientele of large corporates and industrial companies.
The operation of volume business requires largely automated processing in order to satisfy the requirements of cost efficiency for a profitable business operation. “The strategic success factor for the SME relates to flexible IT solutions that enable us to take a use-centred approach to the needs of our sales partners and customers”, said Felix Ferstera, Head of “SME Online Department” launched at the beginning of this year. “We need appropriate ways and means to facilitate process-oriented and cost-efficient online conclusion of policies.”
The change in the law in Belgium opens up sales opportunities for the local HDI branch office through a channel that has not been used up to now. “The development of digital insurance solutions allows us to respond quickly to regulatory changes and to position ourselves as a preferred insurance partner offering easy insurance solutions to the market,” commented Chris Staes, Managing Director of HDI Global SE in Belgium. In recent weeks, colleagues from Industrial Lines and Talanx Systeme AG have been working on the initiative at the sites in Brussels, Antwerp and Hannover.
The results achieved to date in the neighbouring country of the Netherlands demonstrate that this approach works well. Since the launch of online sales several years ago, the Dutch branch office of HDI Global SE has numerous policies in the product segments D&O, purely financial losses and group accident insurance through online solutions. Average growth is therefore in the low double-digit range over previous years.
“The current combined ratio of online business clearly highlights the potential for profitable growth,” said Felix Ferstera. “Our aspiration is to expand on the product side and geographically through the ‘SME Online’ business model in order to derive even greater benefit from this channel.”