“Due to digital transformation, brand name is no longer the main driver in sales”

16 May 2022 6 min read

As CEO of the German Branch of DELA insurance, why should C-suites of established insurance companies attend the DIA conference, the place to “accelerate innovation by connecting insurance executives with insurtech leaders”? Dr. Robin Kiera sat down with Walter Capellmann, CEO of the German Branch of DELA  Insurance.

“To follow current developments and trends consumes a lot of time and energy. DIA offers established insurance companies the opportunity to get to know and experience concepts that are already internationally successful in a compressed form in only one event. It’s about technology for more effectiveness and efficiency in the insurance world with the main focus on new ways of accessing customers. Those who ignore technical innovations in these fields will fall behind in the competition.”

“Special about DIA is the hand-picked selection of start-ups and new insurtechs, which are already able to operate actively and directly in the market. Insurtechs and fintechs show new ways of accessing customers and have answers to the needs and questions of today’s customer generation. DIA paves the way to direct, personal contact with these companies, which makes it so attractive for insurance companies. In turn, DIA is a lucrative opportunity for insurtechs and fintechs to be recognized in an international context and to grow into major industry players.”

Digital Transformation (alongside low-interest rates) dominated the insurance industry for the last years. How do you tackle this at DELA?

“DELA had one significant advantage: DELA entered the market without any inherited burdens. With DELA, we have built a modern insurer in Germany with a completely new infrastructure that meets all requirements of digital transformation from the start. This also contributes to cost efficiency, which is very important at a time when the interest rates are as low as today. Also, in all communication channels, we have met the customer in their respective living environment and consistently utilized the opportunities of digitalization for customer acquisition and service from the start.”

“We benefit from our Dutch roots since the Netherlands is much more progressive in the area of insurance and financial service. And the development will continue to pick up speed with the use of artificial intelligence. We want to make better use of digital media channels and become even more efficient through AI processes, including in the area of risk assessment.”

What trends do you see in the distribution channels – for example distributing insurance products via independent brokers?

“Let’s compare the insurance sector with Formula 1. Only a few years ago, the driver with his individual skills was the most important factor to win a race. Nowadays, the best technology, the ability to evaluate data in real-time and to incorporate it directly into the driver’s decisions and tactics for the running race, are the crucial factors.”

“In the insurance industry, the driver is like the broker who tries to effectively advise the customer. Using new tools, the intermediary can advise clients not only better, but also faster, but is neither superfluous nor completely replaced. Data-driven decisions will become more and more important and help to optimize quality and costs.”

“Due to the digital transformation, the brand name of an insurance company is no longer the main driver in sales, but above all its speed, service orientation and user-friendliness. The awareness of DELA in Germany is not very high after two years. But for those who deal with term life and death benefit, DELA is very far ahead because we have the right content for this target group.”

“It can also be clearly seen that the ways to access the customer to continue to change. E-commerce sets new standards in many areas of everyday consumption in terms of processing, advice, service, visualization, and availability of products and services. When it comes to important decisions regarding the provision, the majority of consumers in Germany still relies on the advice of their advisors. We, therefore, provide intermediaries with digital tools that help them to save time they can invest in customer service and to meet the customers’ needs and expectations for advice and service even better.”

You lead the German branch of a Dutch insurer. What could others learn from the Dutch and the German insurance industry – especially concrete best practices?

“The Dutch insurance industry certainly assumes a pioneering role, which is not only due to the numerous innovative startups. At Dutch banks and insurance companies, almost 80 percent of the business is done online. The digital transformation in the Netherlands is about five years ahead of Germany. This is partly due to regulatory differences, such as the prohibition of commission for insurance brokers, which inevitably has an impact on the access to customers and requires new approaches. But it is also a reflection of the greater openness of society and economy for digital technologies and their everyday use in the Netherlands.”

“Traditional insurers in the Netherlands, for example, incorporate innovative insurtechs to open up new ways of accessing customers. Almost every insurer has built innovation labs to constantly work on the improvement of processes in administration, production, and sales. Meanwhile, in Germany, the portfolio is often managed when it comes to new sales channels. Even though the German market would be ready for an entirely digital insurer.”

“A good case from the Netherlands is the online insurance provider inshared. The first full online insurer that does not sell its products on other channels. Consultation and conclusion are only done online, inshared is known for that. Customers especially appreciate the transparency and the low cost of the products. Another example is a well-known comparison platform called independer, which also handles a great deal of online business in the insurance sector and convinces customers with innovative comparison options and simple conclusion of contracts.”


About Walter Cappellmann

Walter Capellmann is the chief representative of DELA life insurance in Germany and co-initiator of the Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA). In only two years, DIA has evolved into the leading ‘must see’ conference on insurtech and insurance innovation worldwide. The DIA Community platform reaches 20,000+ change agents every week. Over 1200 attendees were at the sold out DIA Amsterdam in June 2019.

About dr. Robin Kiera

Dr. Robin Kiera has worked in several management positions in insurance and finance. Kiera is a renowned insurance and insurtech expert. He regularly speaks at technology conferences around the world as a keynote or panelist. He is a #1 fintech influencer in Germany and belongs to the top 10 insurtech influencers worldwide. His blog is called: Digitalscouting.de.