From the perspective of investors and other stakeholder groups that attach their interests to the company, it is important to know how the plans of the Group and its various companies are being shaped for the near future.
What kinds of synergies are there between the banking and insurance divisions in the PZU Group?
Comment made during a dialogue session
Directions of strategic business growth
New PZU - More Than Insuravnce
In PZU we combine two things that appear to be in contradiction: simplicity of procedures and complexity of services. We want to manage the cultivation of our client relations as part of a system. The new approach defined in the strategy calls for the reconstruction and integration of all the company’s client-facing areas. We endeavor to protect clients’ lives, health, assets, savings and finance while at the same time offering transparent rules and simple and comprehensible communication. We believe that clients expect this type of complexity and appreciate having a service offer in a single venue.
Our client relationships and our knowledge of our clients are the PZU Group’s core value, while our chief product is our acumen in addressing client needs to have a stable future. This approach has been defined in the “New PZU” strategy announced in 2018, which lays down the Group’s new mission as “We help clients care for their future”, which is an innovative and broader approach to establishing a long-term relationship with clients in a manner that greatly transcends insurance.
PZU’s philosophy of thinking is driving the gradual transformation of the company’s operating method from a typical insurer model (pricing and transferring risk) to the model of a service company specializing in utilizing data (risk management consulting and services as well as caring for the future of clients, retail and business alike). This new formula blends all of the PZU Group’s activities and focuses them on clients to support them at every stage of their lives.
PZU’s operating model distinguishes its comprehensiveness. The Group operates in insurance (life, non-life), finance (banking, pension and investment products) and health (health insurance, insurance for medicine, medical service bundles).
“Having an efficiently operating health care system is one of the biggest challenges we are presently facing. On one hand the global population is on the rise while on the other hand in some countries, including Poland, we are facing the challenge of an aging society and the growing demand to provide care to elderly persons.
Both situations mean that the need for medical services is becoming insufficient, whereby it is not accessible to many persons. Technology is not capable of eradicating differences in the quality of treatment and supplementing the health service system. We have observed in the PZU Group that technology may be one of the ways to enhance access to health services by offering greater system efficiency (telemedicine) or identifying cases that do not require visits to specialist physicians (symptom checker). By harnessing data and automatic solutions, it is possible to shorten lines (remote service), optimize procedures. At present, patients go through many phases from diagnosis to treatment, and these phases have nothing in common with treatment. Technology is capable of enabling physicians to concentrate on practical activities.”
The Transformation project pertaining to the construction of an integrated network of proprietary medical centers in PZU Zdrowie is one example of executing PZU’s new strategy. This project addresses one of the elements of PZU Zdrowie’s Vision: “Integrated medical operator”. Comprehensive activities – 55 initiatives in total – completed in 60 medical centers across Poland. The company implemented a consistent standard for patient handling and integrated its information systems. Benefits were also achieved by introducing shared medical purchases.
“What impact have the completed acquisitions exerted on the process of unifying the management standards in the various companies belonging to the corporate group? Can you share your diagnosis on which areas represent the key challenges for the Group?”
Comment made during a dialogue session
In connection with the PZU Group’s development through acquisitions, it is necessary to create a system to ensure effective management of the overall corporate group while preserving the distinctiveness of its various companies and the separateness of the markets on which they operate.
Since 2010 the PZU Group’s practice in terms of its corporate governance model and collaboration among its various entities is for representatives of PZU and PZU Życie in the supervisory boards of the group’s main companies. That is why Paweł Surówka, CEO of PZU is the Supervisory Board Chairman of Bank Pekao; Tomasz Kulik, Management Board Member of PZU and PZU Życie, the CFO is the Supervisory Board Chairman of Alior Bank; while Rodger Hodgkiss, Management Board Member of PZU and PZU Życie is the Supervisory Board Chairman of Link4. Since the supervisory boards constantly supervise the operations of the companies in all the areas of their operations, this solution ensures a uniform approach to governance standards in the key areas of the PZU Group’s functioning.
On 21 March 2017 an agreement on the principles of cooperation in the PZU Group was executed. On top of PZU, its parties are 26 PZU subsidiaries. Pursuant to this agreement the parties have undertaken to act jointly within the scope of specific areas of cooperation. The total number of these areas is 24 until now: procurement, risk management, IT management, internal audit, the PZU Group’s strategy and project management, marketing and PZU brand management, legal advisory and assistance services, security management, HR management, corporate communication, tax policy, corporate governance in the PZU Group, actuarial services, accounting, planning and controlling, compliance, reinsurance, oversight over international companies, client experience management, claims and benefits handling, corporate social responsibility, tarrif-related actuarial matters, analysis of the experience and tarrif-setting for insurance and development of technology and sales tools.
The scope of cooperation in a given area is specified in Group Policy and may involved the following in particular:
- Rules of cooperation between PZU’s pertinent Cells and entities;
- Fundamental operating rules for cooperation;
- Description of the tasks discharged by PZU’s pertinent cell in relation to entities and by entities in relation to PZU’s pertinent cell;
- Scope of, and deadlines for, reporting applicable to the entities.
The decision to exclude banks (Alior Bank and Pekao) from the foregoing agreement was dictated by the different business nature of the banking entities and different sector regulations. Implementing PZU Group Policies directly in banking structures would require the incorporation of the distinctive nature of banking operations therein, including separate solutions pertaining to risk management, which might not be an optimum solution. That is also why the relations with banks in the PZU Group have been regulated on the basis of other arrrangements. On 28 June 2016 (with Alior Bank) and 28 September 2017 (with Pekao), an agreement was executed to regulate cooperation and the exchange of information, among others, on reporting duties and accounting, planning and controlling, compliance and internal control, internal audit, risk and security.
Chinese walls are utilized in PZU’s organizational structure in PZU’s organizational units responsible for business processes applicable to Alior Bank and Bank Pekao alike. The purpose of Chinese walls is to ensure the observance of the two banks’ legally protected trade secrets and limitation on the exchange of sensitive information concerning their business activity, also to ensure the separation of the flow of information obtained from PZU as the entity heading up the PZU Group, to procure compliance with the legal regulations pertaining to information subject to banking secrecy and other legally protected secrets.
A major challenge under unifying governance standards in the PZU Group was the implementation of a coherent and effective risk management system.
Having regard for the different business nature of the banking entities and the insurance entities, and their sectoral regulations, the direct application of the risk management system functioning in the insurance companies was not plausible. The challenge was to align the process so that the attainment of the PZU Group’s objectives in risk management would transpire while respecting the banking sector’s regulations, the independence of the entities within the understanding of the Commercial Company Code and equal access to information among all the shareholders of the banks. This alignment was crafted in full cooperation with both banks. Risk appetite in banking entities is a topic for consultation with the PZU Group’s parent company and the subject matter of opinions issued by the PZU Group Risk Committee with a view to ensuring consistency between the activities carried out by the banks and the strategic plans and business objectives of the PZU Group as a whole while maintaining an acceptable level of risk at the Group level. Once agreed, the level of risk appetite is then approved by the banking entities’ supervisory boards.