Innovation in Insurance: Interview with Peter Stockhammer, MD at Generali Vitality

Boris: Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to our live discussion about innovation in insurance. Today we have our interview with Peter Stockhammer.

Peter is Managing director at Generali Vitality which is the holistic health and wellness-based insurance programme that captures the global trend of healthy living.


Peter thank you for meeting with us today. Can you tell me a short story about Generali Vitality?


Peter: Yes, it’s a pleasure to be here. Currently, at Generali Vitality, we are moving from protection to prevention and encourage and reward our members to live a healthy life and we are doing it simply as we motivate them and reward them with benefits to choose a healthy lifestyle that means sportive exercises, eating healthy and overall taking more care of them. 

To give an example on how to reward them, we have such great partners like Adidas where they get a discount on healthy sports gear if they exercise a lot, they can earn Amazon vouchers, they can get a discount on their holiday trips and many more rewards. They simply change their lifestyle habits, live healthier and are rewarded for that.


The programme is based on a current trend we see across Europe. Usually, when it comes to the causes of premature death in Europe, people think of communicable diseases but in reality, it’s our lifestyle that has the greatest negative impact. We human beings have four typical behaviors: we smoke, we drink too much alcohol, we are not sporty enough and we’re eating well too much junk food.


These 4 behaviors lead to four chronic diseases: several types of cancer, diabetes, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. These diseases are responsible for more than 60% of premature deaths worldwide, in western Europe even more due to our unhealthy nutrition habits: too much sugar, too many fats, and too many calories. In the Vitality programme we incentivize members to improve their lifestyle choices.


Boris: Can you explain what does Generali Vitality offer to the industry? How is it different from other providers and do you see the impact on the bottom line?


Peter: Well, firstly, it’s a completely digital programme that we established and brought to the market. As I mentioned previously it’s about changing from protection to prevention that we are doing and on top, it enables us to engage regularly with the customer. So on a daily basis, the customer gets feedback, gets some tips on how to live healthier and they enjoy it so it’s the engaging part that goes beyond a normal insurance cover. With the current wellness trend that is growing across Europe and the relationship we are establishing with the customer we are changing the way people think of insurance in the markets we operate.


Boris: Do you see the impact on the bottom line?


Peter: Yes, of course. We’re live in Germany, France and Austria. We are seeing a clear increase of sales. We see an increase in engagement with the customers and are building great relationships with our customers and partners.


Boris: Thank you. How is the program dealing with the sensitivity of the health date and the different perception about this in different countries? For example, what are the GDPR consequences for this program?


Peter: The insurance industry is used to deal with sensitive data. So for example if you have a normal lifestyle proposition or a health proposition, there’s a lot of sensitive data that is coming up that is stored and this always has to comply with the data rules we have in place in every country we operate.


With our company, for example, we established Generali Vitality which is an own separate legal entity where all these data that are coming from the member are stored. So we don’t share any data. The insurance company has no access to the Vitality data at any time. From the start, we have been in contact with all data privacy authorities in each market and have been very transparent on how the data is secured. Everything is compliant with GDPR and we clearly respect all legal requirements that differ from country to country.


Boris: How are you dealing with the challenges facing insurance industries? For example, competition from the new digital insuretech companies, low-interest rates, regulatory and customer expectation and so on?       


Peter: With Generali Vitality, we are the first mover in the insurance industry. Clearly, when we look at digital programmes life on the market we are the first mover and want to keep the advantage and keep improving the programme.


On top, we have a lot of engagement and exchanges with insurtechs and we have a distribution network and we’re looking also for opportunities to collaborate with them. So I don’t see these insurtechs as competitors. I see them more as synergies and partnerships as ways of getting the best for both of us.


Boris: Last question. Where do you see the future for insurance and what can we expect from you guys in the future?


Peter: Well, I’m expecting more digital products to come, the penetration of smart tablets is very high. In the past, people who used to commute on the train were all reading their newspapers, now everybody’s looking at their smartphones. I see more and more digital products popping up in several areas not only in the health area. There are several things that will happen in the next years, particularly in the insurance business. Our plan is to expand the programme to other European countries as well. We will improve the programme by bringing new partners, new products and many new features. But for sure we want to further engage with our members. We need to challenge ourselves permanently.


Boris: Thank you Peter for this interview. I hope it will be very useful for our members.



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