05 Feb Applying modern strategies for long-term profit
Professor Elisabeth Stadler, CEO of VIG, is confident in their business strategy in the current climate
Could you list VIG’s priorities for consolidating the group’s position in Austria?
The Vienna Insurance Group is number one in Austria and CEE, and we are equally at home in both, generating over half of our profit in CEE countries.
What would you highlight about the insurance sector?
We have four pillars to our strategy, and we rely on local brands across CEE. With around 50 group companies in 25 countries, we have targeted established, reputable brands, maintaining a multi-brand strategy. As a con- sequence the Vienna Insurance Group comprises local brands with a strong Western European partner behind them.
The multi-brand strategy is an advantage for our local management boards, employees and clients. We want customers to feel we are in a partnership, and to get the sense of the local company. Our decentralized management approach and the high level of local entrepreneurship that our group companies enjoy allow us to respond quickly to changes in the busi-
Please share your expectations for CEE in its future socio-economic development.
We moved into the CEE region about 30 years ago, and have been gradually expanding since. We were one of the first Western European insurance firms to expand into CEE and today we are the leading insurer in Austria and CEE. We have close to 200 years’ experience of the insurance business and our ambition is to be the first choice for our customers.
What is your assessment of VIG’s 2018 performance, and what are the prospects and targets for 2019?
We took many steps in the year behind us. We have met all our targets, some a year earlier than forecasted, and we are delighted with our progress. We expect a $10.8 billion premium volume and $510-530 million profit before taxes. For 2019 our targets are even more ambitious.
What are the trends and developments that will most impact the sector in the next five to ten years?
The biggest trend is digitalization and the digital transformation is one of our key tasks. We have started the second round of the internal group “VIG Xelerate” program for promoting the digital transformation. This initiative is designed to support those group companies which propose and implement innovative and tangible measures in this respect.
Trends differ from country to country, with the affinity for digitalization increasing as we go east. One advantage of our group is the transfer of knowledge within our group companies.
How does VIG address contemporary issues?
The strategic measures and initiatives set by our Agenda 2020 work program to optimise our busi- ness model, organization and cooperation, and ensure future viability will be further promoted, thereby further contributing to the group’s positive development in the future.
Do you have a final message for our readers?
At VIG, we have long-lasting contracts, a strong sense of social respon- sibility and established partnerships. We recently renewed our partnership with Erste Bank until 2033, which highlights our stability and reliability. Our partnership with them exists in eight countries. I would also like to mention our giveback programs, in which employees can take a working day off to help with social activities in their area and give back to their communities.