Call for Leaders – 3Q is a new category where Business Review features our 3 questions with some of Romania’s top business professionals, bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of their markets in the context of the current crisis.
Current conversation: Francois Coste, CEO Groupama Asigurări
What are the measures you took for your business during this period?
We have targeted two directions: first, preventive measures for the safety of our clients and employees and then, solutions for our clients. Therefore, we adapted our offer to this particular situation.
We have made the exceptional decision to cover risks related to infections with the COVID-19 virus because we want to support our clients in this very difficult crisis. It is a decision contrary to the standard practice in the global insurance industry, which exempts pandemics from insurance policies because pandemics are unpredictable with broad geographic impact and consequently difficult for insurers to evaluate in terms of risk and costs.
Clients of either integral medical insurance, life or travel abroad policies have now a range of costs deriving from the coronavirus infection covered – from hospitalization in the public system, quarantine and isolation, to those associated with emergency medical assistance, death and repatriation. Guided by responsibility and solidarity, we are happy to be able to be there for our clients in such trying times that we hope to get past together.
Regarding preventive measures for the safety of our clients and employees, we have implemented a massive work from home program. Already, 99% of our employees are working remotely. After all, it is our philosophy that prevention will ensure the continuity of our clients – naturally, it will also ensure the continuity of our business.
At the same time, we have been constantly disinfecting our offices, provided protection masks to our employees and made sure that critical teams having to come to the office can use our car fleet and work according to a flexible schedule. Moreover, these employees are currently working from different office buildings, so that we limit the risk of virus contagion or disruption of our activity.
Having sister companies in China and Italy, we are well-aware of the potential gravity of the situation and we could anticipate the impact in Romania. That is why we have created an internal taskforce coordinating the actions mentioned above and adapting them as the epidemic unfolds. Finally, we are constantly monitoring the exposure of any employee to coronavirus-related risks.
What’s your advice for business leaders regarding this crisis?
It is my strong belief that all business leaders should be guided by solidarity and responsibility during this period. This entails prioritizing the safety of both employees and clients and acting quickly if the situation demands so.
Furthermore, businesses should not only follow closely the evolution of the matter and implement any guidelines from authorities, but also work together with them, in the sense of providing assistance wherever possible. With or without the coronavirus epidemic, we now live in a highly interconnected world, where businesses have an extended role and responsibility in the community.
We, as business leaders, should remain focused in keeping our businesses strong and continue to act responsibly towards our stakeholders.
What’s the most positive business news you’ve read today and want to share?
Each day I read of companies coming forth to offer various forms of support to their clients and beyond. From providing food supplies and medical equipment, to lowering fees for delivery services or online payments, a growing number of businesses are proving that they understand the essential conclusion of what is happening – that we will only get through this together, with solidarity.
Also I am convinced that this pandemia will change deeply the way we live and it can also create new opportunities for Romania.