Michele Pignotti, Board Member for Group Market Management, Commercial and Distribution

In this interview, Michele Pignotti, Board Member for Group Market Management, Commercial and Distribution, explains how customer experience is at the centre of innovation at Allianz Trade and talks about the new customer platform Allianz Trade Online.

How important and strategic are technology, innovation and digitalisation to Allianz Trade?

It is very important as it is part of our company DNA. Historically, Allianz Trade has always been at the forefront of innovation in the credit insurance industry. Because of the development of digital technologies, we want to accelerate innovation and digitalisation. They are at the heart of our 2019- 2021 strategic plan “Confidence to be Bold“.

We also think we have a responsibility as the industry leader. And the most difficult thing as a leader… is to stay a leader, especially in the current environment powered by digital technology and changing very rapidly. In order to stay the leader, we want to move our industry forward by providing a new experience of trade credit insurance. So we have the responsibility to define new standards, bring businesses the confidence to trade and push boundaries in the industry.

Which are the main drivers about digital innovation at Allianz Trade?

We are following two main directions that are linked together: first, we want to become a data-driven company, and second, we want to transform the customer experience.

On the first topic, we are gradually integrating Artificial Intelligence in all our processes. This will allow us for instance to better profile our customers, anticipate their needs, improve risk assessment algorithms or allow instant pricing.  

On the second topic, we’re progressively launching our new customer platform Allianz Trade Online. Allianz Trade Online dramatically improves our customers’ experience and brings it to the next level through a full digitalization of the customer journey, thanks to a new API-based IT architecture.

What added value and benefits will Allianz Trade Online bring to Allianz Trade’ customers?

We say we want to transform the customer experience because we are aware that credit insurance is seen as a complex product, usually harder to understand and involving more administrative steps on average than other commercial insurance products. Feedback we get from customers shows us it is especially the case for SMEs, which have less time or resources than bigger companies.

With Allianz Trade Online, we really want to address these concerns by bringing a number of benefits:

  • A very intuitive and simple user experience to support our customers and help them during the key steps of their policy;
  • More insights on our customers’ clients portfolio to help them manage their account receivables;
  • New functionalities to “wow” our customers and provide more value added services. These are going to be breakthroughs for the industry as they are not available on the market yet.

How was Allianz Trade Online designed? How confident are you that customers will recognize its value?

Allianz Trade Online is the result of an extensive market research and customer journey mapping. We have analyzed in details the “moments of truth” experienced by our customers and the difficulties they encounter. The design of Allianz Trade Online is fully based on the results of this analysis.

On top of that, we used advanced agile development techniques during the tool’s conception and all the functionalities were designed and created with the input of some of our customers.

We involved them in our dedicated User Experience (UX) labs, which allowed us to test all the functionalities while we were designing them. We got many great suggestions that allowed us to fine-tune the Allianz Trade Online. We are very grateful to our customers for their help.

In the end, the tool is different from what we originally thought it would be, but it is even better as it is based on customers using it and trying to find solutions to solve their problems. This makes me confident that the tool will reach its goals because customers were really at the center of its development.

What can customers expect going further in terms of innovation and digitalisation?

Allianz Trade Online will continuously improve. Over time, we will continue to upgrade the functionalities based on customers’ feedback and will progressively add new services to provide even more added value to our customers.

For us, digitalization is essential and is really a mean to achieve better customer experience. Technology offers more and more possibilities, and is part of our daily life. We want to be at the forefront and will continue to take advantage of technology to keep improving the experience of credit insurance.