Belgosstrakh CEO Siarhey Yakubitski: “We support IT innovations”

If you’re not in IT, you’re nowhere. Simplicity, 24/7 availability and mobility for customer services. Those are core values for any customer service in the modern world

If you’re not in IT, you’re nowhere. Big Data and a user-friendly interface for document management. Simplicity, 24/7 availability and mobility for customer services. Those are core values for any customer service in the modern world

Belgosstrakh is on the first line in the MyFin top list of insurers in terms of gross and net profit. The company was one of the first to develop a mobile application for the convenience of customers and now provides services for 82 types of insurance.

But the company keeps moving on. The first century anniversary is ahead of it, not to mention everyday challenges from more brisk, young and daring private insurance companies.

In the interview with the Belgosstrakh CEO Sergey Yakubitsky, The Heroes learned how the company is working to improve its services for the convenience and security of policyholders and to meet their needs in the high-tech modern world.

How does Belgosstrakh use IT technology in its work?

Previously, we focused on automating processes within the company in order to create a comfortable working environment for our employees. Now we are setting a new goal — the automation of customer services. This way we make it possible for them to interact with the company without visiting the office or contacting a call center specialist. 24/7, so to say.

New and existing customers are now able to enter into insurance contracts through our website. After registering a personal account, you will also be able to make an online purchase of the policy. For example, any voting citizen can enter into a home owners policy insurance contract. The service was introduced as experimental. But we are witnessing a positive result, so we will expand the possibilities for the client to work using electronic forms soon.

To automate the medical insurance market, we have developed and implemented a web-based service for interacting with pharmacies and medical institutions.

This way the circulation of paper documents and the time spent on their delivery and primary processing were excluded from the chain.

We also launched IT solutions for transport insurance. Our software package allows us to reduce the time that it takes to make a decision on an insured event.

How does it work?

The history of car insurance is stored in electronic form; interaction with appraisal organizations and auto repair shops occurs through file sharing. And access to the database is available in real time to each of the parties concerned.

The process is organized in such a way that all information is promptly transferred to a single decision-making center, which makes it possible to optimize its processing. The client only needs to apply for the payment of insurance and submit the car for inspection. All other operations are performed in the background, without the client’s direct participation.

We insure quadrocopters (drones), portable printers, smart watches, echo sounders, and electric scooters.

By the way, there is a perception that transport insurance is only “Avtograzhdanka” and “Casco” but we have other good offers. For example, technical assistance. It’s a service for those who travel by car over long distances when the risk of an accident or breakdown is higher.

You insure gadgets. What news do you have in the provision of this service?

We’ve been insuring gadgets since 2010. Previously, only in conjunction with other household items. Now we went further. Today, policyholders can insure portable devices in case of damage not only in Belarus but also abroad.

The service is especially relevant in the holiday season. However, insurance doesn’t protect against embezzlement outside the country.

The list of portable devices that can be insured is constantly updated. It includes not only smartphones, GPS navigators, laptops, netbooks, digital photo, video and audio equipment, but also other personal digital assistants such as quadrocopters (drones), portable printers, smart watches, echo sounders and much more.

The insured event will be recognized by the insurer if the portable device has been destroyed or damaged as a result of a fire, explosion, hit, lightning, short circuit in the electrical grid, mechanical damage to the screen and (or) the housing, or damage by liquid.

With the expansion of cycling, you have introduced a new product — cyclists’ safety insurance.

Yes, last year we concluded 1,100 contracts. When electric scooters appeared in our country, we began to insure these vehicles as well.

In many countries, medical services are provided on the basis of insurance. Does your company see development in this direction in Belarus?

Paid medical services have become commonplace in our country. Belarusians are getting used to comfort — when they have an opportunity to choose a doctor, to visit a medical facility at a convenient time.

Therefore, I believe that the transition to compulsory health insurance is possible but it will take place gradually. And, by the way, voluntary corporate insurance of medical expenses, or simply VHI, can largely contribute to such a transition.

Speaking of VHI. Tell us more about this type of insurance, and should employers think about such an intangible staff loyalty lever?

An insurance policy from a company (VHI, or voluntary insurance of medical expenses of citizens) as part of a social package has become an indicator of its financial stability, along with the level of wages.

The VHI insurance program may include the provision of medicines, dental, sanatorium or rehabilitation treatment, and high-tech assistance.

Including such insurance in the social package, the employer guarantees employees quality service in the best medical institutions in the country. This increases the status of the organization in the eyes of the employees and their loyalty to the company, because the insurance program may include not only consultations with doctors but also the provision of medicines, dental, sanatorium or rehabilitation treatment and even high-tech assistance.

Who are your partners in corporate VHI insurance?

Our main partners in this area of insurance are the largest Belarusian banks and large IT companies. Unfortunately, we can’t name them because we are bound by the rules of corporate ethics.

MedTech is in the trend today — medical technologies that are used to save lives or improve their quality. Modern medical technologies allow to diagnose, control and treat diseases at a distance. Can MedTech be included in the Belgosstrakh’s service package?

We studied the experience of Russian companies on the example of such an innovative phenomenon as telemedicine when medical assistance is provided remotely. Consultations through video calling have been practised for a relatively long time. But, after conducting a study, we came to the conclusion that most Belarusians aren’t ready for new forms of diagnostics and treatment yet. Neither patients nor doctors.

In addition, Belarus is a small country compared to, for example, the United States or Russia.

You can get to any regional medical center in a couple of hours. Therefore, remote medicine is not necessary yet.

An insurance policy is an indicator of the financial stability of a company, just like the level of wages.

But this doesn’t mean that we won’t come to this at all. The main goal of MedTech now is to collect data that can be used effectively in insurance. I think that the introduction of these technologies into our service is a matter of time.

Do you provide services to foreigners who come to our country with a short-term visa?

Our law dictates the rule that almost every foreign citizen who comes to our country should have a contract of compulsory health insurance.

Before the II European Games, we launched an online sale of compulsory insurance policies for travellers coming to our country. They can enter into a contract on our official website.

It’s simple: they need to enter their data and dates of stay in Belarus.

But with such insurance, a foreign guest can only be provided with free emergency medical care.

We took on high risks — after all, life is priceless.

And what services do you offer to expats — foreigners who come to our country to study or work for a long time?

We recommend expats to consider the VHI service. With such insurance, a client can receive full medical assistance if necessary.

So, we talked about the services. Let’s touch on a sore subject if you don’t mind. There are opinions in the business environment that it is better to avoid partnerships with state companies. How do you work with this stereotype?

A significant role is played by the brand promotion policy. Private companies know how to present themselves. They cover cases as unique ones. But we have such cases every day.

To some extent, this is our omission. Therefore, we are now paying much attention to the promotion of the company. We try to be on the ear, to tell our customers about the unique cases we have when insurance literally saves lives.

For example, there was a case when our client gave birth in Finland in the 28th week of pregnancy.

Finnish doctors argued in unison that the child would not survive. Then we took on high risks — after all, life is priceless — and tried to save the girl’s life.

Today, the girl is alive and feels well. She came to our office for a visit once.

How do you work with advertising?

For advertising campaigns, including the presentation of gifts and certificates, we invite well-known Belarusian athletes — Daria Domracheva (official Belgosstrakh’s ambassador since 2012), football players of BATE, Dynamo Minsk, athletes from the Zorka-BDU football club.

On Children’s Day every year we hold an outstanding advertising campaign dedicated to this bright day. The purpose of the campaign is to transfer 3% of insurance premiums for the development of healthcare and education institutions.

In addition, this year we applied a new advertising concept — now Belgosstrakh “protects happiness.” We always set a rather high bar when working on an advertising campaign. And this year was no exception. Thanks to the huge work of a large number of specialists from various fields, we managed to show moments of happiness in the form of gravure graphics, which is used in the manufacture of securities.

Reference: Over the past 5 years, the company has introduced 14 new types of insurance, 12 of which are voluntary. The structure of the company includes 8 branches and 118 representative offices, the subsidiaries Stravita and Polygraph.

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