SOS NEWS October 2012
This issue: Property Damage – 4 Multidisciplinary treatment – 6 The SOS International digitization process – 8 New Finnish perspectives on the Nordic insurance market – 10
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Solid progress in 2012 cal assistance (reducing medical costs and increasing patient safety), along with a newly introduced nurse hotline that provides travellers with rapid assistance so they can continue their business or holiday with a minimum of interruption. Needless to say, all these services operate at a mere fraction of the cost of corresponding services from traditional providers.
e have also introduced several apps for use on mobile phones and smartphones, designed to encourage end-user self-help and to improve emergency centre efficiency.
he International Travel Insurance Journal (ITIJ) Awards are awarded annually to companies that have delivered outstanding service or shown unrivalled innovation in the many different aspects of the travel insurance field. An ITIJ Award is considered an affirmation of industry recognition, and a declaration that a company’s business peers and partners have noticed – and appreciate – the contribution you make to the industry. In 2012, SOS International has again been selected as an ITIJ Award finalist in the “Best Assistance/Claims Handler” category. This is far from the first time the company has been nominated thus – SOS International has been selected as winner in this demanding category no fewer than 5 times since 2002. New products We have recently introduced important new products designed to provide even better end-user service as well as reductions in claims costs. These new products are within personal health and wellbeing (reducing overall healthcare treatment costs) and digital inflight medi-
New types of products SOS International has also begun to field a completely new type of healthcare products, known as psychological change programmes (PCP). Focused on both preventive and palliative healthcare – and the psychological mechanisms behind such measures – these are effective, interactive web-based tools that help and encourage people to take personal responsibility for their general health and lifestyle choices.
his new approach has reduced treatment costs for our customers by as much as 50%. As just one example of the success of these web-based programmes, 1,500,000 smokers have so far enrolled in SOS International PCP programmes for stopping smoking, with a success rate of almost 50%. Progress and growth in Asia Our initial success in Asia is continuing apace, with both the volume and scope of business accelerating. SOS International has recently won a contract for travel and medical assistance service and claims handling for PICC P&C, the
largest insurance company in the People’s Republic of China. In addition, we have secured several key Chinese government contracts, in the face of fierce competition from established providers in the region. New acquisitions 012 has also seen SOS International making an important strategic acquisition by taking over Dansk Autohjælp A/S, Scandinavia’s largest roadside assistance company.
This has brought us into position as the largest roadside assistance company in the Nordic countries, providing us with an excellent growth platform and placing us in a strong strategic position for the future. Looking forward Our “3in5” growth strategy will continue alongside our increased focus on achieving growth to help build an even larger case volume, thus streamlining our operations and reducing claims costs for customers. In the course of 2012, our strategy has manifested itself in the form of newly introduced products, new types of products, expanding business markets to Asia and the focus on new acquisitions. This has all helped SOS International create the basis on which we can compete with the best in the business and is also the reason why we have been nominated for the ITIJ awards in 2012. We consider this nomination one of many important confirmations that SOS International is on the right track in our planned process of development, improvement and expansion.
Bo Uggerhøj CEO, SOS International www.sos.eu
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Property Damage SOS International moves into the market for assistance calls for property damage.
OS International is now entering the market for assistance calls for property damage services associated with acute damage to buildings and structures, and the property and effects within them (and normally covered by domestic and family/home insurance). Working in collaboration with damage service companies and insurance companies, SOS International is now able to help in providing complete, packaged solutions for acute damage to homes caused by events such as fires, cloudbursts and storms.
wo years ago, SOS International moved into dealing with claims involving electronics damage. Such damage normally includes damaged radios/TVs, white goods, household appliances and computer equipment. SOS International processes the claim from the equipment owner, deals with the accompanying casework and then arranges appropriate repair or replacement. Thanks to the kinds of nationwide network available to SOS International, this can be done easily and smoothly, with a single phone call. In this overall process, SOS International focuses intently on doing what the company does best. Our expertise and skills lie in the
field of assistance, insurance, technology and logistics, and this makes it only natural to seek to extend our assistance capabilities into the field of non-life insurance, in addition to our existing acute services.
wake of conflagrations, torrential downpours and severe storms. In such situations, SOS International is able to maintain a clear overview of staffing availability and how to prioritise the necessary assistance and resources.
P Since SOS International operates emergency centres and damage control facilities throughout the Nordic region, our customers can access the full spectrum of services from one and the same local provider, but at the same time benefit from the economies of scale and synergies that stem from a comprehensive preparedness infrastructure that extends throughout the Nordic regionâ€? â€“ says SĂ¸ren Hedegaard Madsen
In the market for assistance in dealing with property damage, SOS International assists property damage control companies and insurance companies with handling the thousands of calls that inevitably follow in the
roperty damage control companies are good at the many operational aspects of damage control and limitation, and of bringing circumstances back to normal again. Insurance companies are able to provide attractive risk coverage and SOS International deals with providing acute coordination, logistics and cost control. This means that all the necessary aspects are covered in one fullservice package. Since SOS International operates emergency centres and damage control facilities throughout the Nordic region, our customers can access the full spectrum of services from one and the same local provider, but at the same time benefit from the economies of scale and synergies that stem from a comprehensive preparedness infrastructure that extends throughout the Nordic region. With our extensive presence in all the Nordic countries, SOS International maintains a dayto-day feel for market changes and developments, and is therefore able to quickly register new trends and requirements so that we can adapt and adjust to new needs.
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Multidisciplinary treatment – a new and improved approach
hroughout 2012, SOS International has been working to adapt and develop the company’s existing range of services associated with multidisciplinary treatment. These include counselling, examination, diagnosis and genetic treatment related to the musculoskeletal system. This new type of product is particularly targeted at SOS International’s insurance company customers, where it can contribute to a high quality of care and attractive cost profiles for health insurance and other insurance products. All cases involving multidisciplinary treatment are referred, coordinated and quality-monitored by a skilled team of health professionals from SOS International, while the actual treatment is undertaken by an SOS International-approved network of quality-assured therapists, including physical therapists, chiropractors, reflexologists and acupuncturists. The collaboration between SOS International and this network has been strengthened con-
siderably and has now become even closer. There has been substantial focus on development and coaching, and quality assurance is now even more extensively integrated into the treatment and case management procedures. A number of administrative processes have also been removed from the process chain, making this specialised service more straightforward for SOS International’s customers as well as end-users of the service.
In the adaptation and development of this treatment network, we have placed considerable emphasis on cooperating with therapists who show interest in professional dialogue and supplementary training, have special skills and a high level of professionalism. In addition to their professional knowledge, we have also assessed their desire to be part of a strong network, as well as each therapist’s approach to actively involving the client in their own treatment,” concludes Gitte Rasmussen.
he new initiatives have been the subject of appropriThis makes for ate consultations with the faster claims “The SOS International professional organisations processing, because multidisciplinary treatment representing the respective information can be product can be used in types of therapists. In this acquired quicker many different contexts, inregard Gitte Rasmussen, and easier. cluding supporting the dethe SOS International Netlivery of health insurance, work and Quality Manager and preventive and theraresponsible for Multidiscipeutic intervention proceplinary Treatment, says: “The treatment spe- dures in private and public-sector companies. cialists in the network are extremely positive That’s why we are convinced that many cusabout this new SOS International approach, tomers will benefit from these improvements in because they feel it involves monitoring and SOS International multidisciplinary services,” improving treatment quality along with a sense says Karen Duer, SOS International Business of mutual professional trust. Clinic secretar- Development Manager, Health. ies have also praised the new multidisciplinary treatment product because of its flexibility and because it is easy to administer.” www.sos.eu
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Terra Forsikring to visit SOS International with damage to a vehicle, or an accident in a foreign country, based on a given situation.
uring September, the Terra Forsikring insurance company from Norway will be holding a conference for 160 insurance consultants, on the subject of â€?the motor vehicleâ€?. Terra has invited SOS International to take part in the event, which will be held aboard the Oslo-Copenhagen ferry, by presenting the company and what we can do. This will be followed by a visit to our headquarters in Copenhagen. Terra wants SOS International to describe and explain the procedures used in conjunction
A short film of an accident will be shown, and SOS International will then have the opportunity to describe what we can do in the event of such an accident, and what SOS International procedures would be. In addition to the shipboard presentation, the conference participants will pay a visit to SOS International headquarters for a general presentation about the company and a guided tour of the emergency coordination facilities.
or SOS International, it is very important to be able to work with our customers in such a manner, and to describe and share the know-how and expertise that are the basis for our work with roadside assistance programmes. www.sos.eu
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Digitalization process SOS International has now taken yet one more key step in an extended digitization process, with the completion of an electronic claims registration portal for the Danish tourist health insurance scheme (Den offentlige rejsesygesikring).
his significant service improvement directly benefits Danish citizens, SOS International and the Danske Regioner (Danish Regions) regional authorities because it saves time and resources for all parties.
anish citizens are already able to report their claims within the system, but now it is also possible to attach documents and provide online signatures using the Danish NemID digital signature system. In addition to providing citizens with savings in both time and money, this new step saves resources in SOS International. This benefits Danish citizens by cutting down on claims processing times and by providing them with better service. In June 2012, SOS International opened a new version of the online claims registration portal. This new version makes it even easier for people to report, submit and sign their claims using the Danish NemID digital signature system. Using the website, people can get their claims processed as much as five days faster than before.
New opportunities In the new version, the focus is on combining the direct notification system with the opportunity to include electronic attachments and a secure electronic signature on the claim. In addition, the information in the claim itself is in digital format, which means case workers are able to search across multiple sources of information, rather than just navigating on the basis of date. This makes for faster claims processing, because information can be acquired quicker and easier. The increased digitization of the review process enables SOS International staff to focus more on tackling concrete problems rather than routine manual processing, and thus put the company’s resources to better use. This not only gives faster claims turnaround, but also contributes to a better exploitation of
the company’s know-how and resources without any additional costs that affect bottom-line results. Making life easier for Danish citizens But simply introducing a new version of the online claim form is not sufficient. If the online claims portal for the Danish tourist health insurance scheme is to be a success, people have to first find use the website and then fill out the claim form as accurately as possible.
hat’s why efforts are underway to make SOS International staff fully aware that it’s possible to refer people to the claims registration portal as soon as they contact the emergency centre so the incident can be registered immediately. The claims portal introduces the public to the documents and information that are important, and also guides each member of the public through the claim registration process, step by step.
Simply introducing a new version of the online claim form is not sufficient. If the online claims portal for the danish tourist health insurance scheme is to be a success, people have to first find use the website and then fill out the claim form as accurately as possible” Says Søren Aare Jensen, Insurance Technichal Coordinator.
Using these measures, SOS International has now made it possible for customers to secure their refunds quickly, smoothly and efficiently.
issue # 2
New Finnish perspectives on the Nordic insurance market Recent moves in the Finnish insurance market cast interesting light on possible new configurations and innovative developments in the Nordic insurance market as a whole.
owadays many people are used to doing their own banking transactions online and accessing their money on their own terms, as and when it suits them. In fact, it is increasingly rare to meet anyone (apart from some members of the older generations) who actually visits a bank to conduct normal business. And now people are also moving towards handling the insurance companies’ money – and becoming their own claims handler. All Finnish insurance companies are in the process of starting their own online services, or already using them.
ut when 2013 begins there will be another shift in market configuration. There will fewer companies active in the Finnish insurance business, because two large companies are merging to become the biggest insurance provider in the Finnish market (LähiTapiola). This market is now also characterised by three big companies that have a joint market share amounting to80%. The ways in which the existing companies and the new entrants will differ from each other remains to be seen. However, if a company wishes to be a “major player”, the requirements are now distinctly different from those prevalent just a few years ago. The main focal point now and in the immediate future seems to lie in enabling customers to source all their banking and insurance needs from one place, with the practical advantages, infrastructure savings and financial payoffs this involves.
Insurance company that is 100% internet-based
OP Vakuutus was set up in early 2012 by a group of banks that split off from OP-Group (now the OPPohjola Group) in late 1997. Under the name POP Pankki, they have now established a 100% internet-based insurance company that profiles itself in terms of the agility and efficiency of its web-based operations. POP Vakuutus is the first new insurance company in Finland for nearly a century, and its client-focused sales and production processes are completely based on an online platform. Web-based solutions are used for processing all insurance details and claims. This seems likely to pave the way to big savings on operating costs, because the com-
OP-POHJOLA Insurance company expanding its business into banking
he OP-Pohjola Group is the biggest insurance company in Finland, with approximately 28% of the overall non-life insurance market. It is currently marketing itself as a wider-based financial group, the main objective being to boost synergies between its insurance and banking activities.
pany does not need conventional levels of staffing to sell insurance policies, undertake routine administration or process insurance claims. This new approach has generated considerable market interest in Finland, but this is perhaps only natural because of the novelty element. How clients will benefit in concrete terms still remains to be seen, and it seems that the jury is still out on whether the Finnish insurance market is really ready for such measures.
As an insurance company with a supplementary focus on banking, OP-Pohjola has been able to increase both practical, costsaving synergies and earnings as a result of these bonus schemes, and the company has benefited considerably from this dual focus, increasing its market share by approximately 6% since 2006.
OP-Pohjola operates combined offices where clients can access both bank and insurance services, and there are bonus systems to increase the company’s insurance base via the bank network, by enabling clients to use their bonuses to pay service fees, insurance, bills, etc. It will be interesting to see whether this can be marketed as a tangible customer benefit if it doesn’t show up as reduced insurance costs and lower premiums.
asily accessible, close-at-hand local service to be something that people always appreciate, but in the future this will represent substantial cost burdens. Are people willing to pay these? Will the insurance terms become more of a competitive parameter that Finnish insurance companies use as one of many tools in winning market share? Or do people now simply accept that there is a certain price they have to pay for their insurance coverage? 2013 will be an interesting year in the Finnish insurance business. New players have entered the market, providing something new and different for people looking something a change, or for something better.
LÄHITAPIOLA Insurance company focusing on local insurance via full palette of financial services from one company
his new company is scheduled to be fully operational from the beginning of 2013, as the result of a merger between two insurance companies – Tapiola and Lähivakuutus. LähiTapiola will be organised as a mutual financial group with a key strategic focus on insurance. It will become the biggest insurance company in Finland, with an approx. 30% share of the country’s non-life insurance market.
rently used by the Swedish Länsförsäkring organisation. The client benefits provided by this new company have not yet been made entirely clear. However, the obvious advantage is that a client can access the full palette of financial solutions from one single provider, a strategy that has also proved a success for OP-Pohjola.
LähiTapiola has announced that it will retain the strong local presence that has been a core business asset for Lähivakuutus, and will do this by forming 19 independent local mutual insurance companies. This model will be somewhat similar to that cur-
SOS INTERNATIONAL HANDLES 1,835 CLAIMS EVERY DAY ALL YEAR ROUND – THAT IS 1.3 CLAIM PER MINUTE