The past year demonstrated why technology is more than ever a facilitator for connecting with our customers and employees. The global pandemic forced employees to work from home and at a distance from colleagues, and technology was critical in bridging the gap and allowing us to continue to deliver the kind of service our customers expect.
We provided employees with the necessary tools and assistance to be able to connect with customers and distribution partners at a distance. And we accelerated the deployment of our digital workplace by rolling out Office365 and an internal social media network across the Group, enabling better collaboration between the different entities. Filip Coremans (MD Asia), responsible for business and technological development within the Group reflects on some of the key Tech highlights in 2020:
Technology is all about empowerment. Empowering the customer, who should feel the difference in their end-to-end journey. Empowering our employees, who should benefit from an improved working environment and supportive tooling. And empowering our partnerships and operating entities, providing access to shared know-how and best practices. To do this well requires us to keep pace with the fast-changing expectations of our customers.
In this regard our local operating entities have made significant progress in the adoption of augmented intelligent solutions. Among other things we invested in chat bots and other intelligent tools for our contact centres, robotic solutions in document handling, and AI Artificial Intelligence (AI) tooling in claims assessment through video expertise, etc. Always with an eye on faster servicing of our clients.
Cybersecurity is clearly on everyone’s radar, and as a Group we are investing to strengthen our capabilities. We deployed the Ageas Security Operations Centre – a dedicated all-in-one service designed to detect anomalies and respond to security incidents. It helps protect our operating companies from possible cyberattacks, allowing our businesses to benefit 24/7 from a highly skilled cyber-security team.
Being able to share common challenges across the Group has been helped by our work in developing Cloud-based solutions. For instance, all of our operating entities are sharing the same risk models for our Solvency II calculations. And we are now delivering results 3 times faster than through conventional servers at the same cost.
In the UK we are running an expertise centre in AI and Machine learning, developing intelligent real-time pricing, and underwriting around our motor policies which requires substantial analytical power.
And finally, we have been able to build a secure infrastructure for our internet solutions by developing a secured layer, a so-called demilitarized zone solution on the Ageas cloud, that secures our websites from the most prevalent cybersecurity threats and on which all our companies can now host their public websites and business portals.
Ageas benefits from a lot of internal tech-expertise around the world and we have created a number of knowledge sharing communities around data analytics and management, the cloud, information security, IT Architecture, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, etc. The work of these communities helps us to define Ageas’s Group Tech priorities for the coming years, considering the future trends, opportunities but also the real challenges our companies are facing.