I have had the privilege of being part of the beautiful insurance and pension industry for many years. A wonderful industry in which a lot is happening. Not only in the past due to all kinds of legal measures or new legislation but certainly also now due to the new Future Pension Act. Admittedly, it still has to be formally approved by the Senate, but that seems to be a formality due to an obtained majority of the parties supporting the Bill.
Technology versus Customer needs
And then? What happens next? So far, there has been a lot of focus on the “technology“. How exactly does cash-in work, how are we going to shape the Survivor’s Pension, what conditions are attached to the lump-sum withdrawal, which implementation do we go for: the solidarity-based or flexible contract? A lot of energy put into this, certainly, important discussion. But the question is whether enough time has been put into communication? Especially in how best to communicate? How can we reach participants? How can we make Pension interesting enough so that people, participants, will look at it more?
After all, it is not about how technically clever things are set up, but much more about how the scheme will match the individual wishes of the customer, the participant. But then you will first have to make it clear to the customer, the participant, what the options are and what the added value is. Why should the customer, the participant choose, what does it deliver and what does it mean if no choice is made. These are totally different questions from the technical ones. Let me just compare it to a car. I myself am not at all interested in the technology under the bonnet, I just want the car to work. I mainly want to know about all the user-friendly gadgets, comfort, luxury. Once, a car salesman told me that the car did have 6 cylinders, to which I asked that the car would work even if it had 1 less cylinder? Yes, no doubt a silly question or comment but from the bottom of my heart sincere. I do believe the technology, what matters to me is the experience. And if you need 6 cylinders for that, then fine.
Market leader in Participant convenience?
Back to Pensions. The next few years will be decisive for the success of Pension Providers. Pension funds, Pension Executives, Pension Insurers, PPIs and APFs. Who will be able to bring the customer, the participant, into the transition process like this? Who will be the market leader in Communication? Who will be the market leader in “Participant convenience“? Who will be the Champion in getting participants on board where participants actively engage and stay engaged? Who?
I am convinced that a lot of good plans have been made or are currently being completed. I also know from personal experience that Marketing and Communications departments in particular like to go wild with informing. Because that’s how you can distinguish yourself as a company. Only, will it work? Can the current systems handle it well enough? Or will countless workarounds be needed to tie it all together again? Unfortunately, there is still too much focus on “the systems”. Because yes, it must of course fit into the existing system? But is that thinking right. Isn’t it true that a lot of the current systems were built and developed in a different era when different rules and legislation applied? Hasn’t technology evolved so much that you are really left behind if you don’t grow with the possibilities? What has changed in the field of communication? It used to be “1 message for the entire population”, now you can reach different target groups through different messages. Translating to Pensions, a 25-year-old participant has a different view on Pension than a 65-year-old? A participant with partner and children has a different view on Pension than a bachelor. I could go on like this for a while.
You also look forward to your salary payment every month, don’t you?
So if you really want to take a big step forward, you will have to start thinking out-of-the-box. Thinking in solutions and not in limitations. Not be held back about what cannot be done, but above all think about how it could be done.
My biggest allergy over the past few years of working in our fine industry is that too often I’ve heard, “great idea, we see the benefits for our client and our business but we’re not going to do it … our systems can’t handle it ….“. Terrible! Because that means you’re therefore mostly stuck in the “present, the present” which means you can’t take advantage of all the opportunities towards the future. And what would you like to do? Precisely to take your customers, members along in the whole Pension Transition and let them experience how important Pension is for them, what options and choices they have and what effect this has? In short, finally create engagement from and with the individual.
Of course, I also know the comments about “the worker is not interested in Pension at all and doesn’t want to spend anything on it” or ” if a worker were allowed to choose for himself then more net income now is chosen at the expense of Pension later”. And yes, I certainly believe this sentiment is there. For instance, when I used to start out as an “insurance agent”, I often heard, “I don’t need funeral insurance, they’ll put me in the garbage”. Tough language but then when it suddenly happened unexpectedly, the bereaved were not only in mourning for the loss of a loved one but also financially devastated because after all, you will want to bury or cremate your loved one in a respectable manner.
With Pension, I see it the same way. How many people don’t yearn every month for the moment the salary is transferred? Or the moment holiday pay is paid? Or a 13th month? And then that feeling of looking forward will suddenly be over when you are retired? That you won’t care at all about how much income you get when you’ve stopped working? That you therefore apparently don’t want to do anything after your active working period? Because that seems very unlikely to me. I don’t believe in that.
Communication limited by what systems can handle
So Communication to the individual is important and now because of the Future Pension Act, as a Pension Administrator you can take the lead to bring every participant along. Individually. What is right for him or her, what options are available, what the situation will be after making a certain choice.
But then the systems will also have to be able to handle it! Then pension providers will also have to look at how best to shape that. What the blockages of their own systems are. Above all, think about what they would want? And why? And what it will bring them? So also look at what is available in the market in this area. And then not only to look at the “beaten path” but also to dare to look at new techniques, new solutions, new ways of thinking. And above all to stay away from “the old habits”. Every business once started with a first customer. Every system once had its launch. At a time when no one knew the product or service in question. Years later, you see the pearls emerge. Once there was someone who believed in the potential of that pearl. This is also how we see it in our market, that wonderful Insurance and Pension market. What a wonderful industry, what potential, what a wonderful future!
As an entrepreneur, dare to take a step and don’t get stuck in the past or the known. If you do what you did, you will get what you got. If you really want a different outcome, you will have to change something in the way you work now and how you solve issues now. Step is outside your recognisable little world and get “open-minded” about the possibilities. About the other options that are out there and with which you can directly differentiate yourself in the market and from your competitors. And much more importantly that you are there for your customers! That your own employees have the most enjoyable job imaginable: being able to continue helping highly satisfied customers.
Because say honestly, at the end of the day, isn’t it all about that happy customer and that happy employee?
Hence SixBlocks solution, the smart platform for sustainably and extremely simplifying business processes! With showing that customer and employee satisfaction is so high, it almost seems implausible. But it is not, because it is simply reality. Systems and processes finally serving the customer and the employee! And what a wonderful future you then face as a Pension Provider when implementing the Future Pension Act! Surely you wish that for everyone! At least we do!
Contact us to experience what SixBlocks solution could mean for your business. Be convinced, not just by words but by our actions. We are eager to shape the entire Pension Transition with the goal of a satisfied customer.
See you soon!