Zurich IQ blog article
Walter Jopp - Zurich Middle East CEO

An unforgettable year: reflecting on 2019

“If everything seemed under control, you’re not going fast enough” - Mario Andretti

2019 has been a phenomenal year for us here at Zurich. We saw strong momentum and dynamism across the region, within the insurance landscape and in our market. With ever-changing customer expectations in a constantly evolving world, I’m grateful and happy that we maintained solid business performance at a local and group level , while setting up a strong foundation for 2020

As I reflect on Zurich Middle East’s accomplishments, I believe the main reasons behind our success was our laser-sharp focus on our customers and the fierce commitment of our people. These two strengths helped us develop and deliver new digital tools, reach out to new customer segments, and continue delivering on our brand promise to help our market be Ready For Life.

Embracing innovation

2019 saw the release of ZurichPro, our digital quote, application and underwriting solution. This first-to-market initiative helped us to enhance our distribution capabilities, allowing our adviser partners to deliver a fully digitalised customer experience. With the instant quote engine, the first feature of the ZurichPro solution that we launched this year, we made it easier to provide customers with more scenarios around the insurance products they wanted, such as different lengths in the term of their policy, or a combination of different protection and savings projections. This enabled them to ultimately secure a solution that was better tailored to their financial needs, in a swift and seamless manner. There are a series of innovative enhancements lined up in the new year that will deliver an even better experience for our customers.

Delivering on our brand promise

In 2019, we furthered our commitment to spreading financial awareness and literacy within the region, with the intention of helping our market to feel more secure and prepared for their financial futures. We released our 2019 Customer Benefits Paid Report where we shared insights about predominant health risks in the region that highlighted the importance of financial protection and prevention. Our Investars program facilitated financial awareness among students in the UAE by teaching them about investing principles through gamification. Within our sports sponsorships across golf with the Zurich Kids and Sports Zones and cricket with the Zurich Pace Lab , we helped the youth, our leaders of tomorrow, to nurture their talent and potential at a grassroots level.

The launch of our Zurich IQ blog, enabled us to provide expert perspectives and guidance around financial protection and planning principles, in a simple and engaging manner. These efforts brought us closer to our market with a crucial message: to be empowered, to be Ready for life.

Striving for customer excellence

We are passionate about understanding and responding to the needs of our existing and new customer groups. In 2019, through Z-One, our proprietary insights forum, we engaged in continuous dialogue with our community of customers and prospects to better understand their views about our solutions, and enhance them. Thanks to our strong pursuit to be relevant to this broader set of customers, we were selected by the DIFC to become the Plan Administrator for DEWS (DIFC Employee Workplace Savings), a ground-breaking End-of-Service Benefit solution to help employers attract and retain the best talent, while empowering employees to plan and protect their financial futures. We were honoured to be part of such a transformational initiative and are excited about supporting its expansion into the region. It felt terrific to win a series of awards from International Adviser, International Investment, MENA Insurance Review and be recognised as the non UK Life insurer of the year. My personal favourite was the distinction we received from the UAE Insurance Authority for spreading awareness about financial literacy in the region, the basis of our Ready For Life brand promise.

Keeping people at the very core

Not one of these achievements would be possible without our people, the undoubted catalysts for our success. Their unwavering commitment, collaborative spirit and performance-driven nature has helped us deliver on our strategy to become a growing and leading regional insurer.

On a wider level, we gave back to our local community in a number of ways. We embarked on a series of CSR initiatives like fund-raising for schools with special needs, work experience opportunities for young students and awareness-raising forums such as the Women’s Innovation Network, giving individuals confidence in various professional and personal pursuits.

2019 has been a year of change bringing about a faster pace and increased growth. With the spotlight on our customers, we achieved pinnacles like DEWS, ZurichPro, brand development and industry appreciation. There is so much more on the horizon as we approach the much-anticipated 2020, but I am confident that our two pillars of customer focus and commitment to our people will help us navigate, grow and prosper into the future.

As I conclude my reflections on 2019, I would like to share my best personal moment of 2019 with you. Watching my son Alex play for the UAE Under 19s at the Emirates Airlines Rugby Sevens was a terrific moment! I’m delighted to share a video of our people revealing their best moments of 2019 - I hope your year was filled with memorable moments and special times as well. And that next year will surpass this one. I wish you a happy Christmas and a wonderful new year with your loved ones.

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