Interview Customer Advisory Board

Three questions to Gabriele Collier, Member of the ERGO Customer Advisory Board

The Customer Advisory Board is a key instrument at ERGO for dialogue with its most important stakeholder group – customers. Gabriele Collier has been on the Customer Advisory Board for the past two years. We asked how she assesses the work of the Customer Advisory Board and enquired about her views on the attributes of a sustainable insurer.

How can you as a Member of the Customer Advisory Board change the company ERGO?

To be honest, a lot more can be achieved than I imagined when I started. Over two years ago, I read about the Customer Advisory Board in a flyer. I thought that this was an exciting idea, and applied. Since then I have had a lot of opportunities to get involved directly as a customer, have my say and play a role in shaping the future. I have also been able to gain a good insight into the work of ERGO. And after all this represents genuine value added and is entirely in accordance with the claim “To insure is to understand”.

You might think that two meetings of the Customer Advisory Board each year do not amount to very much but this would not be correct. Some very intense discussions always take place at these meetings. During the meetings, we address very concrete issues, which arise from a variety of different areas in the Company.

My impression is – and I’m certain that this is also the case for all the other members of the Customer Advisory Council – that our views, in other words honest and direct opinions from customers, are taken extremely seriously. Our proposals and ideas are channelled directly into the work of ERGO. They might relate to the conceptual development of new products, the issue of transparency and clarity, or getting to grips with the latest trends. I am absolutely convinced that the Customer Advisory Council is an exceptionally good and effective instrument.

What do you expect in concrete terms as a customer of an insurance company that acts sustainably?

As a top priority, I expect fairness. And by that I mean on the one hand sustainable and well-informed advice, as well as insurance solutions that meet my needs. On the other hand, if there is a claim, I expect reliability when it comes to service and maximally streamlined claims settlement. I would like to be confident that my insurer will provide this over the long term.

I am also willing to pay rather more for this peace of mind. Let’s face it: Insurers are companies and their operations are geared to making a profit. Quite apart from the fact that profitability is also an enabler providing their capability to deliver the performance and benefits that customers want.

Naturally, the credibility of the company also plays a role when it is talking about sustainability. Would you select an environmentally friendly policy if the sales agents for your insurer simultaneously came along driving a CO2 monster? I would certainly be sceptical about that. If a company claims to be a sustainable company, a customer expects the issue of sustainability to be firmly anchored in its own corporate values and processes. They expect a role model here. I therefore take a positive view of the far-reaching commitment of ERGO.

Which sustainable initiative at ERGO do you like best and what sustainability topic would you like to see adopted?

The Customer Advisory Council gets a big vote of confidence from me and I’m also a big fan of the many initiatives that demonstrate ERGO’s customer-centric approach – for example, the Customer Advocates, the wealth of measures directed towards more comprehensibility and transparency, to name just a few. As far as I know, ERGO as one of the major insurers has defined benchmarks with this.

I would like the culture of dialogue and openness with customers to be regarded as a recipe for success at ERGO and to be held on to over the long term. I believe that the young generation of customers is particularly keen to have even more dialogue.

ERGO has defined a good roadmap with its sustainability strategy and could well venture to communicate an even stronger message in the public domain.