Industry changing developments don’t happen overnight. Especially when it comes to more traditional ones like insurance. BALTA knows this better than most companies having led the way in numerous key advancements for the claims area in Latvia. Leading the competition, they were the first to process claims via phone, then first to offer this online and the first to utilise a partnership network. Since the 1990’s, BALTA has been synonymous with pushing the boundaries of the insurance industry of the Baltic region and being a company ready to leverage a wide variety of channels and new technologies for their clients.
A Little Background About BALTA
BALTA is the leading non-life insurance company in Latvia with 30 years of experience. BALTA’s client base includes more than 300,000 individuals and more than 35,000 companies. BALTA is part of the PZU Group, one of the leading insurers in Central and Eastern Europe. Their team of professionals unites more than 600 colleagues in 43 branches throughout Latvia. Employees are their most important asset, so they take care of their development and provide diverse training that gives an opportunity to improve both personal efficiency and professional knowledge. They have been recognized as the most honest insurer in Latvia for 18 years.
With a track record of being at the forefront, the ongoing partnership with DriveX is exciting as it highlights a new wave of advancements with AI technology becoming more valuable in daily processes. It is with this progress in mind that we spoke with Kristaps Ermansons, the Head of E-Commerce in BALTA, to understand more about the inside view of what it looks like to consider, review, implement and track performance of a new technology and process.
Online but Not Automatic
Being the Head of E-Commerce, Kristaps has a wide range of responsibilities ranging from web sales to their mobile platform and self-service platform. This combined with his experience growing with the company over the last 16 years, allows Kristaps to clearly explain what the process is like using BALTA and where they’re offering their services the most.
Their core focus on customer simplicity has meant that the significant majority of their business comes via online or distant communication. While the opportunity to meet in-person is available, Kristaps explains that “approximately 98% of calculations we can do online” and the majority of communication is remote. With such a focus on the customers needs, BALTA empowered their sales team members to choose whatever tool they could to collect any necessary images or information. This meant each salesperson was responsible for collecting high quality images however possible.
Ranging from WhatsApp to email and recently having started using an internal web tool, these solutions were described as “only a technical way of how to send this information, but there are no algorithms or checks that the information was correct. There is also a fraud risk present because of that.”. Whilst very convenient for the customer, the inability to perform basic checks on the images have made fraud possible but also something less sinister but equally difficult to stop. Customer error. Kristaps highlights that, “There definitely have been fraud cases, but it’s also an issue that people don’t always understand what they have to do and upload faulty photos because of that.”, showing how these are both sore points in this process.
Proving the Case for Change
Whilst met with some initial skepticism, the demonstration allowed for Kristaps and a team of evaluators from various departments to consider and rollout a month-long trial with real customers. The experienced team carefully weighed and set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of the pilot and prepare an internal business case with the results.
“From the pilot we learned how the solution works and what our customers think about it. We soon figured that this business case has the opportunity to save us some money and presented this to our management.”
The success of the pilot and agreement to implement DriveX’s solution however marks only the beginning of the most critical part in any relationship. Implementation.
It is during this process that many innovations are added into the backlog or shelved for another time. Kristaps outlines that one of the biggest keys to success in the partnership to date was always the great communication and support from the beginning throughout the 8 month implementation process. This trust that was developed was crucial as the early phases saw some negative feedback and pushback as there were sales team members who were hesitant to the changes, the “First reaction was not as positive as we hoped for. The main reason was that this process was quite different from existing ones.” explains Kristaps as he speaks about how 80+ salespeople began to replace their new process with DriveX.
Another key learning from BALTA is how they ease into larger innovations like the introduction of DriveX. They haven’t looked to disrupt their entire process in one go, instead opting for a series of smaller steps. While the DriveX links are being generated, they remain being sent manually with the next wave of developments in the queue to implement. Whilst still not fully integrated Kristaps spoke of what role he sees DriveX playing within BALTA;
“DriveX is helping with digital communication with customers. With DriveX we are placing the responsibility of pre-inspection photos from our salespeople to our customers. We will have to wait and see how the market reacts. From an innovation perspective though, DriveX’s solution definitely helps us to be an innovative and more efficient company.”
Change can be a long, slow and disruptive experience for customers and staff members alike. Innovating and pushing the boundaries from within an industry for over 30 years has proved to be a major source of trust and revenue for BALTA, with DriveX the newest piece of technology they look to disrupt the market with.