Christine Theodorovics (Baloise) : Quest for Benchmark Status
Christine Theodorovics, CEO of Baloise says that to meet the challenges of rising competition, greater regulation, increasing digitalization, and rapidly evolving consumer expectations, the company must now even more become - and remain - a benchmark player in the insurance marketplace in terms of service quality, professionalism, and responsiveness.
Can you tell your story in a few words?
I am a native of Vienna but my career began after a couple of years in Belgium in European Institutions, in Germany in 1996 as a consultant in the Kantar Group with projects in Europe, the United States, and North Africa. I then moved to Switzerland and worked at Swiss Life Group, where I had the chance to develop new markets in Asia and the Middle East. In 2011, I joined the Zurich Insurance Group, where I held positions in the Group but was also an executive board member in Austria (CEO Global Life), Switzerland (Life Director) and Germany (Head of Bank Distribution) In 2019, I became Head of Strategy in the AXA Group in Paris as part of the European Executive Committee steering distribution strategy, innovation, digital solutions, and ESG. Then came the offer from Baloise in Luxembourg, where I joined as CEO in June this year.
“Baloise aims to become (and remain) a benchmark player in the insurance marketplace in terms of service quality, professionalism, and responsiveness”
What challenges and opportunities does the life insurance industry face?
We face economic challenges including inflation, competition, and a volatile market environment. Also we have to face more administrative efforts as both the European as well as national regulation generally gets more demanding in terms of reporting. We also see, however, growing preferences for digital solutions, personalization for customers, and the democratization of new asset classes. We must address the changing products and product mix: the life insurance sector in the past used to be based on products with guarantees . Now investors are interested in more diversified and flexible offerings better adapted to their needs and their increasingly international environment. Over the past two years, we have expanded our range of unit-linked products so we can tailor solutions to suit individual needs.
How do you see Baloise adapting?
Baloise aims to even more be a benchmark player in the insurance marketplace in terms of service quality, professionalism, and responsiveness. Digitization, automation, and the related better customer experience are opportunities. . Baloise’s digital evolution is improving access to products but not at the expense of service and personal contact. We are developing tools to integrate partners and players in the market including banks and management companies. Our brokers’ autonomy is increasing while we work to further enhance the information available on our portal. Working with aggregation platforms means we now offer a data exchange format standard used widely by life insurance professionals. We have created different communication and distribution channels starting with our Baloise Wealth Manager portal.
Last but not least we are also very mindful what concerns our employees. This is imperative for a company nowadays, which wants to be an attractive employer. This might be especially important for younger generations who pay particular attention to sustainability and well-being topics. And purpose we can offer!