23 January, 2018 07:00
Christian Mercier, Jean-Mathieu Sigouin and Julie Michaud respond to questions from our reporter, Alain Thériault. | Photo : Studio K (Élodie Kergal)
Ul Mutual will front a number of sites to become an employer and insurer of choice. After having restructured its staff, the insurer will deploy several new features, both on the side of technology products.
«There are important decisions to be taken to ensure the sustainability of the company and differentiate us in the insurance market, in the context of low interest rates and a competition that is very, very strong. Our agility will allow us to make this difference, in the coming years «, said its CEO Christian Mercier, in an interview to the Journal of the insurance. The interview was conducted on the 18th of December, at the headquarters of the insurer, in Drummondville. He was accompanied by Jean-Mathieu Sigouin, first vice-president, technology, and Julie Michaud, the senior vice president, individual life insurance.
The insurer account, and move closer to its network. In the first days of January 2018, Mr. Mercier has appointed three directors to support Mrs. Michaud in the reconciliation on the ground. «It is a way to operationalize our strategy of proximity «, said the CEO.
The priority in construction technology is also in this desire for proximity. UV Mutual wants to put forward tools front-office that will allow the insurer to increase the connectivity with the councillors, said Mr Mercier.
«We will develop tools that will enable them to be more effective, efficient, and direct communication links to us so that we can respond to their queries quickly, while supporting them in their work. We strongly believe in the added value of the advisor in the sale process. Our strategy in the short and long term takes into account the important place that it occupies. «
Priority on individual life insurance
In regards to the products, UV Mutuelle says focus short term on individual life insurance. «For the investment products and retirement, we are given the time. We will deal with them not before 2020, under the guidance of Ms. Michaud «, said Mr. Mercier.
The group insurance will follow in 2019 and 2020, said Mr. Mercier. «This is a segment that goes well. The results are at the rendezvous. We occupy a place of choice, » he argues. The insurer will make a diagnosis on its technology systems in this segment as of this year, in order to better determine the way forward for the result.
Dust off a platform 30-year-old
Upon his arrival as CEO in UV Mutual in 2016, Mr. Mercier said to have realized that a major technological shift is required. Dust off the technology platform of the insurer then became its first goal. Jean-Mathieu Sigouin oversees this site. Recruited by Mr. Mercier, it makes him too quick to appreciate the necessity of this shift. At its input, ul Mutual uses for the administration of its policies in the application system AS/400 ofIBM, launched at the end of the 1980s. It is also the case for several insurers in Canada.
In 2017, ul Mutual retains the services ofEquisoft to integrate the system Oracle Insurance Policy Administration (OIPA), developed by Oracle for the us market, and which Equisoft is the exclusive distributor in Canada. The integration of OIPA to our platform is just beginning, said Mr. Sigouin. The integration will migrate the policies of individual life insurance from the old platform to the new.
«This will give a helping hand to the product teams and call centers, as well as to more quickly bring to market the products as actuarial science will develop,» explains Mr. Sigouin. It is estimated that the small size of UV-Mutual gives to the insurer a competitive advantage of flexibility and speed in the integration of such changes.
The integration will also put in place everything that is before-wicket, thanks to the solutions offered by Equisoft. The ambition of the insurer is to arrive at a system end-to-end. «All this will bring us to the summer of 2019-to-deploy solutions such as the proposal and electronic signature «, revealed Mr. Sigouin, including cloud computing, is also part of the priorities.
Boost the distribution network
According to Christian Mercier, this technological shift brings to the table for his leadership of the insurance, investment and retirement Julie Michaud to make a series of changes. Gold, upgrade takes the form of boost, in the mouth of the leader.
«We really want to revitalize our network, our advisors, our general agents, and give them the tools so that they can achieve. We want to grow and help promote the products of ul Mutual, » she said.
This grassroots approach reflects the desire of the insurer to be more present to advisors and managing general agents. «The advisors we have seen during our tours in the last few months : they are emotional and human. These are people contact. We want to focus on the human touch in our technological shift. It must be combined with a presence even greater than we have had in the past few years, Ms. Michaud.