“The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the digitalization of the financial industry. The clients, who until recently preferred a direct conversation with a consultant or agent, have become convinced to remote channels. It is a safe and quick way of providing services which, at the time of risk of being infected with the virus, is able to provide the required safeguards. It is very important to us that our clients be able to handle more and more cases efficiently and without leaving home. Remote access to services or artificial intelligence are permanently changing the insurance industry. PZU is continuously deploying modern technologies and state-of-the-art solutions. Thanks to such approach, we are among the European leaders of innovation in the financial industry.”
Marcin Kurczab, Director of Innovation in PZU and PZU Życie
Digitalization is a process that has come to stay and is constantly developing in all sectors of both the global economy and our domestic economy. Investing in digital solutions generates a number of benefits not only for companies, their staff and their business partners but also for their clients. Clients expect more and more personalized products, are aware of the risks arising from cybercrime and personal data management issues. The emergence of new entrants and trends associated with development of new technologies, including operators of big databases, insurtechs and fintechs1 increasingly drives changes in the insurance and banking sectors. In similar fashion, the MedTech and HealthTech2 solutions market is developing faster than ever before.
Innovation is one of the key values for the PZU Groupy PZU
The #newPZU Strategy defines it as familiarity with client needs, searching for new solutions and setting trends on the financial services market. Innovation also signifies thinking outside the box, breaking molds and looking for opportunities to streamline how the company functions.
[GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3]
Innovation in the PZU Group is not limited to a single division, project or area. Smaller and greater changes are constantly being made to every aspect of how the firm operates, and they combine to form a picture of one of the most innovative companies in the financial industry in Europe. PZU’s innovations contribute to client satisfaction, which is a top priority for the Group, and to employee comfort, and at a micro scale, to the development of the overall economy.
The innovation strategy adopted by PZU in November 2017 supports the pursuit of the overall PZU Group’s mission and strategy. Three major areas are set forth thereunder in which particular effort is expended to find new solutions: :
The innovation strategy is reflected in the projects and initiatives run by PZU. The Group fathoms that innovations call for the creation of creative space fostering the generation of ideas, prototyping original solutions and building a culture of innovativeness. The Innovation Laboratory is such a place in PZU. In 2018 – 2020, we were able to analyze approx. 3000 startups and ideas and conduct approx. 40 pilot projects of which 27 were positively evaluated and approved for deployment. The estimated profits from the implemented projects will amount to approx. PLN 80 million.
Since 2018, the Idea Generator has been operating under the auspices of the Innovation Lab. It is an internet portal where the PZU employees may submit their ideas for innovative solutions. On regular basis, on average once per quarter, a new edition of the contest for the best ideas in a specific topic is launched. In 2020, the Idea Generator delivered ideas:
Every portal user is able to not only submit the ideas but also vote for his/her favorite ideas and post comments. Three best ideas from each edition will receive financial prizes, and their authors will have the opportunity to get involved in the implementation of the proposed solution. From the beginning of the Generator, in 8 editions, nearly 600 ideas for internal improvements and brand new innovative solutions were submitted.
LINK4 puts emphasis on the competences of its employees for some time now. In 2019, the Analyst Academy was established to improve the analytical skills of the persons employed on three advancement levels. In 2020, the program was continued. The Analyst Academy significantly supports the entire process of transformation of LINK4 into a Data Driven Company, i.e. a company where business decisions are made on the basis of data and in certain business processes the decisions are made by the forecasting models. It involves development of the technology and organization around data collection and processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. To this effect, the Data and Advanced Analytics Center was established in LINK4, which executed a number of innovative projects allowing to generate measurable business benefits. The Company made a milestone in terms of using the data processing and analysis capabilities. A modern Data Lake was built, which allows for efficient creation of Machine Learning models and business analyses. In addition, technologies were implemented to make it possible to process huge volumes of unstructured data which so far were not available for broader analyses. The data were used to better understand the client needs and address them in the form of an appropriate scope of insurance and price.
In 2019, more than PLN 271 million was designated by the PZU Group for innovative projects3. In 2020, financial expenditures amounted to PLN 210 million, with the largest share – over PLN 90 million spent by PZU and PZU Życie.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated several processes involving new technologies, whose deployment under normal circumstances would take several years. The lockdown of the economy and the restrictions imposed in 2020 forced the transition to distance work and significantly affected how the financial institutions provide their services to clients. These factors accelerated the digitalization and the use of advanced technologies, especially in the insurance sector. Remote forms of sale, inspection and claims handling became popular relatively rapidly. The process of healthcare digitalization rapidly accelerated. The role telemedicine significantly increased.
For several years, PZU has been developing the mojePZU portal and upgrading it with new functions. It is the most comprehensive platform available on the insurance, financial and health markets. In 2020, it was expanded by, among other things, the possibility of verifying the identity using mojeID (myID) and mObywatel (mCitizen). Thanks to this, the clients may register on the platform remotely without the need to come to the PZU branch and confirm their identity. In addition, we made it possible to set up a portal account through an activation link. As of 2020, an account can be opened also by persons who report a claim from the perpetrator’s TPL policy but are not PZU Group’s clients.
In 2020, Alior Bank launched a new remote authentication solution. In Q1, the Photo ID client identity verification method was implemented which does not require a client to visit a branch. It was designed and deployed by Alior Bank employees. It allows to verify the identity in no more than five minutes.
The next effort focused on remote client identification was the cooperation with Polska Wytwórnia Papierów Wartościowych. One of the areas of cooperation is the use of an e-ID, which supports a remote client identity verification. Thanks to the eDo App, with an e-ID clients can confirm their personal data and may freely use Alior Bank’s products and services. Thanks to the eDO App it is possible to prevent the practice of criminals using stolen or forged identity cards. The app is integrated with login.gov.pl, therefore it may be also used to communicate with public administration units and government offices.
In 2020, a significant project was Alior Bank’s investment in the Polish fintech Autenti offering a platform for electronic signing of agreements and digital document circulation.
In 2020, Alior implemented remote service for all corporate banking products through:
In 2020, Bank Pekao launched authentication of clients who have the digital banking identity PekaoID using the mojeID service (PekaoID) and the Trusted Profile using the so-called eIDAS National Junction, i.e. an administrative HUB, to which already over 100 authorities, including state administration bodies, are connected. Thanks to it, the utilization of the commercial mojeID (PekaoID) service was expanded in the context of public administration – using a single tool the bank’s clients may authenticate their ID in the platforms of both commercial and public entities. In 2020, the number of clients using PekaoID exceeded 230 thousand.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the digital transformation process and forced many SME sector companies to transfer their operations online. This, in turn, exposed the companies to cybersecurity risks to greater extent than before. Therefore, PZU developed a free tool – Cyber SME which is a platform that scans the websites of small and medium-sized enterprises and verifies the strength of their cyber-attack safeguards. A company, which decides to take advantage of that service, will receive a free report drafted by PZU, which covers the website security, assessment of the reputation risk as well as potential attractiveness to hackers. The report will also include recommendations which, when implemented, will improve the company’s cybersecurity. The report’s formula is simple, straightforward and transparent. It was designed to be understandable not only to IT specialists.
In 2020, PZU continued collaboration with the startup accelerators: MIT Enterprise Forum CEE and RBL_Start (Alior Bank’s accelerator). In the first one, solutions were searched associated with three key areas: Big Data, digitalization, and new client interactions. MIT Enterprise Forum CEE accelerator is a chance for robust development of technological startups in Poland and Central and Eastern Europe. The accelerator operates under the patronage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – a renowned research center which for many years has been actively supporting young companies in their development and expansion to new markets, and it has been setting the direction for discourse and development of the entire modern technologies industry. As part of RBL_Start accelerator, PZU and Alior Bank implemented the #COVID19 Special Initiative to identify innovative solutions aiming to counter the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions. The initiative was met with tremendous interest – from among several hundred received submissions, experts thoroughly analyzed a few best of them and ultimately decided to implement one of them as a pilot project. The solutions put forward under these programs enjoyed interest from selected business areas – in both programs 5 pilot projects were launched in the two programs.
Participation in the accelerator carries a lot of benefits for startups, including, among other things, in the area of business model development, expert support (e.g. legal) and broadening the industry networks of contacts. Moreover, they made contacts with corporations and obtained financing for shared pilot projects.
In Q3 2020, Alior Bank launched the MoBilet system allowing the clients to use mobile payments for public transportation services and parking meters throughout Poland. In November, the „Auto” area was additionally expanded to include the Autopay service, thanks to which the clients may make mobile payments with the Alior Mobile app for motorways throughout the country. In addition, Bank Pekao launched the Autopay service thanks to which selected motorway sections can be paid for automatically, without the need to wait in the lines at the toll gates. The service can be activated from the PeoPay app and the Pekao24 online banking platform.
PZU GO is a state-of-the-art solution guarding the driver’s safety while behind the wheel. This small device pasted to the car’s windshield communicates with the app in the driver’s phone and detects dangers. In the event of an accident, PZU GO immediately notifies the PZU Emergency Center of its occurrence and location. PZU immediately contacts the driver to check if he or she needs any assistance. Unless the driver answers the phone, PZU notifies the emergency services and provides them with the last location obtained from the device’s GPS.
As of May 2020, PZU GO has been available throughout Poland in all sales channels.
According to the client satisfaction survey conducted in December 2020, 93% of respondents declared that they were either satisfied or very satisfied with PZU GO. According to their opinions, the best features included automatic accident detection (57%) and driving style verification (24%).
In 2021, we are planning to improve the accident detection algorithms and analyze the options for expanding the app to include additional features.
PZU GO was named „Innovation of the Year 2019” in the Mobility Trends competition. In 2020, PZU GO users traveled more than 7.5 million kilometers. Nine accidents occurred, where immediate assistance could be provided to the victims after the device detected the accident. In addition, there were 28 justified help calls activated by pressing the SOS button, after which the client received assistance.
Cash Back is an innovative program where the holders of LINK4 motor insurance may generate bonuses for safe driving. The analysis of driving style includes driven distance, smoothness of driving and the area where the driver was driving. From April 2017 to December 2020, the program was utilized by more than 58 thousand LINK4 clients who drove a total of more than 146 million kilometers.
To become an active participant in the program, the client should drive his/her car with a switched-on NaviExpert navigation and the LINK4 Cash Back module for at least 200 kilometers a month, and he/she should start the app during at least 5 different days and drive at least 10 kilometers on the given day. After each monthly period, the driver is assigned with a summary grade which allows to classify him/ her in a relevant profile, which in turn serves as a basis for determining the amount of the financial bonus. After one year, the LINK4 insureds may exchange the sum of those bonuses into reimbursement of up to 30 percent of the insurance premium.
Each participant decides on his/her own whether to earmark the bonus generated at the end of the agreement term for reduction of insurance price after policy renewal or whether he/she would prefer to have the funds transferred into his/ her bank account.
In December 2020, the value of safe driving bonuses generated under the program exceeded PLN 3 million. The largest bonus amounted to PLN 1.2 thousand. However, the program’s greatest value is prevention and promotion of safe driving on Polish roads.
In 2020, Non Stop Assistance, a brand owned by the PZU Group, expanded the scope of mobility services and products to include a Polish-wide pilot project of pre-purchase car verification service. This service is a structural element of a comprehensive ecosystem of services for drivers in PZU.
As part of three bundles of services, the clients may select verification of a vehicle sale advertisement, verification of the vehicle’s technical condition or verification at a diagnostic station in any location in Poland. Verifications are performed by experienced motor vehicle experts from the PZU Pomoc partner network (a total of more than 300 experts throughout Poland).
The first step involves online selection of a relevant service bundle (Komfort, Optimum, Premium) and sending a completed form on the basis of which the Non Stop Assistance experts commence their work. The specialists will verify the vehicle sale advertisement in detail, contact the seller and check the key information over the phone. Next, they will inspect the car on-site and verify its technical condition according to a 200-item checklist. The vehicle may be inspected in a workshop or in a diagnostic station. The entire process takes up to two business days.
The Non Stop Assistance service is distinguished by Mobility Protection in case of failure. It is available under the Optimum and Premium scenario. Under this coverage, the client of a newly purchased car is provided with the Assistance bundle which is valid for 90 days. In case of a breakdown of a car which was verified by the Non Stop Assistance experts, the client will be provided with towing services up to 150 kilometers and a replacement car for the duration of the repair. Coverage also includes the costs of workmanship in the partner workshop up to PLN 4 thousand.
Robotics is a tool that allows full automation of tedious and repetitive tasks that do not require any sophisticated specialist knowledge or experience. Robots enable replacement of cross-system integration and process large volumes of data in a very short time. The use of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology improves data quality, streamlines process efficiency control and provides an additional reporting conduit. The application of robotics makes it possible to carry out processes that until recently could not be executed by employees due to their high labor intensity or the need to perform complex operations in a short time.
The deployment of a robotic process takes less time than implementing a systemic change, and the solution itself generates lower costs than would be required if additional employees were to be hired.
In 2020, 24 business processes were implemented at PZU and PZU Życie, including 12 in the area of claims handling. The processes supporting foreign, subrogation and corporate claims handling were robotized. In April a process supporting the processing of clients’ legal queries in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic was launched.
In November 2020 the first robotized process using smart OCR was launched for claims handling pertaining to hospitalization. In the process a robot supplies medical documentation to the OCR tool which reads the client’s personal data, illness code and duration of hospitalization from the hospitalization card. Then the robot supplements the claim in the claims handling system (SLS) with specified data.
In addition, in 2020, technical processes were executed to verify the potential and profitability of robotization. As a result of the completed actions, on average robots process 7 million operations per annum.
Effectiveness of the robots implemented in 2020:
The actions implemented in 2020 generate average annual savings of approx. PLN 2.5 million in the claims handling area.
In 2021 robotization of further processes is planned, among others:
Self-service was created as an element of the digital service models adopted by PZU. It is a response to the growing needs of clients who expect not only convenient online tools to report a claim intuitively but also to be provided quickly with the amount of compensation. The new solution has enabled a education in the time of acceptance and handling of claims.
Self-service is an element of the online reporting of a claim. Information about vehicle damages sustained during the insurable event permits automatic calculation of the proposed amount of compensation.
In the case of ADD claims and benefits, the client personally marks the nature of their injuries on an intuitive human figure, which makes it possible to calculate the benefit amount. The client may accept or reject the proposed amount.
PZU as a leader of digital transformation constantly works on innovations increasing customer service quality. AI in claims handling is a solution utilizing artificial intelligence, analyzing damage photographs and cost estimates from the car repair shops. PZU handles over 500 thousand motor claims per year. Bulk of them are handled by repair shops. Most claims comprise mass photographic and technical documentation. A lot of it requires additional in-depth analysis. These activities require trained and highly qualified experts. The implemented artificial intelligence solution has improved their daily work. The artificial intelligence algorithms implemented by PZU are able to analyze the photographs documenting a motor loss. They are also able to name a specific part of a vehicle, assess the extent of the damage and classify a part for repair or replacement. Before using artificial intelligence algorithms most cases handled by repair shops had to be analyzed manually. Thanks to implementation of this solution experts receive for analysis only selected cases while the remaining ones, which do not raise any doubts, are approved automatically or semiautomatically. The implementation translates into significant financial savings and improvement of client satisfaction.
The project received a number of awards in 2020, among others in the contest organized by the ICAN Institute and MIT Sloan Management Review Polska – Champion of Innovative Transformation, and the prestigious Celent Model Insurer title in the category entitled “Data, Analytics and AI” for the break-through implementation of artificial intelligence in motor claims handling.
„This is one of the most successful projects using artificial intelligence we have implemented at PZU. The project improved the customer service process and, at the same time, brought savings in the range of millions of zlotys.”
The solution implemented in diagnostic labs supports the radiologist through automatic detection of life-threatening change lesions. The algorithm generates a tentative diagnosis and marks the tests with a special marker. Thanks to that it is possible to nearly instantly undertake the treatment process which reduces the probability of heavy brain damages and increases the patient’s chances of surviving.
Thanks to this solution, the time needed to prepare a description whenever a stroke is detected has been reduced from several hours to just a few minutes, which allows patients to be assisted quickly.
MThe AI module has been developed by a Polish startup BrainScan using data from 40 thousand computed tomography tests of the head carried out in the PZU Zdrowie diagnostic network. Then it was tested by radiologists in day-to-day tests to confirm its effectiveness. It has been confirmed that the consistency of the radiologist’s description with the diagnosis of the AI module is approx. 98%. The software has a medical certificate and continues to be developed. PZU Zdrowie intends to use it in nearly 40 imaging diagnostic labs.
These innovative AI-based devices make it possible to remotely test the lungs and heart. Following the physician’s instructions, the patient puts the stethoscope to specified spots on the body and the physician remotely receives immediate readout using an online platform. The test does not require direct contact with the patient and eliminates the risk of infecting the doctor or medical personnel. At the same time it provides constant monitoring of the patient’s condition. TUW PZUW handed over the modern wireless stethoscopes to hospitals as aid in the struggle with the COVID-19./span>
1 Fintech - sector of economy encompassing companies operating in the financial and technological industries. Fintech companies most often provide financial services using the Internet. It is also a term for all types of technological or financial innovations. Insurtech is one of the areas of the fintech industry encompassing new technological solutions in insurance
2 MedTech, HealthTech - segments of the medical technology market which aim at improving prophylactics, diagnostics, treatment, and protecting and improving human health and life
3 CAPEX and OPEX