Henk Janssen on the progress of the 2019 financial year in Belgium.
Although every year is important, 2019 was a particularly significant year for Baloise Insurance Belgium. Two acquisitions in one year, hardly anyone else can match that. In July, the Baloise Group officially completed its takeover of Fidea. Then, in November, we were proud to announce our plans to acquire the Non-Life portfolio of Athora Belgium. This means that Baloise Insurance will grow from 1,150 employees to around 1,700 once the legal merger is complete.
Definitely! The acquisitions also demonstrate the belief and confidence of the Baloise Group in the Belgian market. We are now the second pillar in the group, and rank among the top four Non-Life insurers in Belgium. One thing of which I am particularly proud is that Baloise Insurance continues to grow organically alongside these acquisitions. Each year, Baloise Insurance has grown more strongly than the market. Over a seven-year period, our revenue has doubled from one to two billion. Growth on this scale would not have been possible without the enthusiastic commitment of our employees. I am one very proud CEO.
«Over a seven-year period, our revenue has doubled from one to two billion. Growth on this scale would not have been possible without the enthusiastic commitment of our employees.»
I believe so. In our last Pulse Check (October 2019), 86% of the employees surveyed said they would recommend Baloise Insurance as an employer. They wouldn’t do that if they were not proud to work at Baloise Insurance. On social media, I’m also seeing colleagues make increasing use of the hashtag #ProudToBeBaloise. In the week before Christmas, our employees raised a total of EUR 104,000 for good causes as part of the De Warmste Week initiative. That speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Of course, these achievements do not mean that we can now take it easy. On the contrary, we will be welcoming a large number of new colleagues during the course of 2020. We need to ensure that these new arrivals also soon feel at home. I have full confidence that, with the right initiatives, everything will turn out well.
We are on the right path. Over the past few years, we have worked very hard on improving brand awareness. After all, before you can become a loved brand, you first need to be a familiar brand. While almost nobody had heard of Baloise Insurance in 2013, now just over half of all Belgians are familiar with our name. That is due in part to our sponsorship policy, which focuses on bicycle racing. Now that we are becoming increasingly well known, the next step is to establish a connection with the consumer.
In 2019, we launched a number of initiatives to emphasise that Baloise Insurance does more than just provide insurance. We responded to new customer needs, such as the prevention of and protection against cybercrime and cyberbullying. And the online platform www.gonna.be and the Baloise Insurance chair to financial well-being at KU Leuven are helping customers gain a better insight into their financial future. B-Tonic, our health platform, has also launched new journeys to help customers with their physical and mental health.
We are also giving further meaning to our brand by sponsoring and working together with good causes that lie close to our customers’ hearts. Alongside this, we have entered into partnerships to contribute to human health and well-being. For example, as a partner to the UZA Foundation we support research into immunotherapy as a cancer treatment, and our partner Helicus has performed the first test flights for medical transportation via drone.