HDFC ERGO: Innovations made in India

Digitalisation & innovation, 19.06.2017

We’re taking another flight eastwards – this time to India. India, the world’s largest democracy has seen strong economic growth. The high-tech IT sector, in particular, has found its second home in India.

Leaving behind a cool 4 degrees in Düsseldorf, I arrive at night in India to be met by a temperature of 25 degrees and extremely high humidity levels. The trip from the airport to my hotel takes me along packed streets – there are only four lanes, but pragmatically they have been extended to eight. Taxis looking like rickshaws race through the streets. A country on the up – a country in transition. And yet you simply cannot avoid the poverty. You can see families literally living under sheets of plastic at the roadside.

I’m on route to our joint venture HDFC ERGO. The company is a real success story: the company had a premium volume of 50 million euros in 2009 and increased it to 900 million euros by May 2017, the end of the financial year! While engaging with the team, I sense their distinct hands-on start-up approach; the management is working hard to continue to foster this. Challenges are solved with an agile environment in small teams made up of business and IT colleagues. I feel the pride amongst colleagues about everything they have achieved so far – and also their will to continue to write this success story.

Office in a backpack

The company’s innovation spirit is amazing. HDFC ERGO’s innovations include a simple Plug&Play solution that customers can use to conveniently and simply take out insurance on their bank’s website – including the transfer of all the relevant data. Or the „ office-in-a-backpack“ including tablet and printer that can be used to arrange insurance for customers in more rural areas. Or the drones capable of flying over stretches of land that help experts to assess damage to agriculture. The staff at HDFC ERGO are working on a whole host of different issues. Not every attempt leads to success – but some do. And that’s precisely why it’s worth trying out lots of different things!

Maintaining an open and honest dialog

This visit to India made me realize once again how innovative we are in many different fields at ERGO. At the same time, I find myself wondering how we can use the huge innovation spirit  of our Indian colleagues and their approaches in Germany too? I am certain that we can – and that we just have to do it. It requires a better network and to maintain an extremely open and honest dialogue at all times. And then simply get started. Goethe once wrote: Thinking is good, acting is decisive. I think this pretty much sums it up.

I look forward to receiving your comments, questions and suggestions.
Mark Klein

Author: Mark Klein

Mark Klein is Chief Digital Officer ERGO Group and Chairman of the Board of Management of ERGO Digital Ventures AG. Here you find Mark Klein on LinkedIn.

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