Our Integrated Report focuses on material issues for the core business of the Group and for its stakeholders.
The Unipol Group Integrated Report focuses on the most relevant themes for the core business of the Group and its stakeholders as required by law (Italian Legislative Decree 254/16).
The identification of the most relevant issues, those that dwell on the interests and expectations of the Group’s stakeholders on the one hand and the strategic priorities of senior management on the other, is the result of the materiality analysis process carried out in accordance with the regulations and reporting standards (Guidelines on non-financial reporting and related Supplement on reporting climate-related information issued by the European Commission, GRI Standards, <IR> Reporting Framework).
The materiality analysis is organised into the following stages:
Identification of the relevant issues
The relevant issues are mapped by considering multiple internal and external Unipol inputs; the internal inputs include special attention being paid to the results of the Observatory for the monitoring and management of emerging and reputational risks for the Group. Internal Group documentary sources and external sources at industry level for the Italian context are analysed within the scope of that Observatory. An examination of the external sources, carried out with the support of the University of Bologna in accordance with the meeting point methods, also calls for an assessment of the applicable global trends over a 5-year period.
Identification of the priority issues
The order of priority of the issues is defined by taking a two-dimensional approach:
1. the assessment of the strategic relevance of the issues for the Group, established by considering the company model, the main strategies and risks, and the impact of Unipol activities, was concluded by carrying out individual interviews with the Unipol Group and UnipolSai Central Management, and validated by the General Manager and Group CEO;
2. the relevance for stakeholders, defined by considering the main issues in the industry, public policies and regulations, was concluded by listening to the Group stakeholders to find out more about the interests and expectations of the interested parties.
The Group Materiality Matrix
1. Product innovation
The Group’s approach to innovation is open and collaborative, and its objective is to systematically consolidate internal know-how together with the leading universities and research organizations, with the world of innovation and creation of new businesses. It is one of the forms through which Unipol builds its business model based on the interconnection between business and society. In Unipol’s opinion, innovation has a social value. That is both because it is aimed at improving the quality of life of its customers by protecting them from their risks more and more effectively, efficiently and with automation and at comprehending the new emerging needs, and because it is a collective growth engine for the country.
The innovation directly linked to business for the next few years aims to innovate processes and products, leveraging the power of digitalization, of sensors and big data.
In addition to research to anticipate the needs arising from social and demographic changes, Unipol has developed innovative coverage products with valuable partners. Combining our extensive experience in insuring people with the knowledge of in-depth and/or niche distribution channels, gives the Group an opportunity to regularly update its risk selection policy and consider new forms of demand aggregation and supply for goods and services.
3. After-sales customer service
The ambition to offer to all customers, from both traditional and mobile channels, services that match their real, individual needs, is reflected in the constant search for moments of listening and dialogue, and in support and assistance for the proper understanding and use of those products and services. To this end, the Group is committed to deal with integrity and fairness in each stage of the customer relationship through timely support and precise assistance.
For all companies of the Group it is important to handle the after-sales phase with transparency, fairness and distinctiveness, and in the insurance sector doing so implies efficiency in the claim settling process, a fundamental moment in the construction of the value and the trust relationship with customers. Support and assistance are designed to offer maximum customer satisfaction. For this purpose, we have organized training programmes for agents, focused on proper handling of customer relationships, in addition to specific support services the references of which are always stated within contracts, compliance evaluation systems of contractual documents at each stage of product development and a number of structures that evaluate quality of service, which must concern not only policyholders, but also the company’s relationship with agents and partners. The set of initiatives will help us to obtain a clear view of customer satisfaction.
The policies put in place to ensure the process efficiency of settlement processes will ensure alignment with the best practices used by the Group and the diffusion of forms of repair directly managed by the Companies to reduce the settlement times and facilitate direct interaction with the damaged party, thus avoiding unnecessary and costly intermediation.
4. Financial inclusion
Unipol Group’s offer aims to protect and support the implementation of customer projects by promoting a more cohesive and sustainable society. To do so, the Group carries out research and studies to anticipate the needs that arise from social and demographic changes in the field of insurance, fully acknowledging the social value of insurance to ensure well-being and development. In 2015, these studies have led to the development and marketing of products and services suited to the new requirements, especially for new workers that have different risk profiles that span generations and new distribution methods.
The progressive adaptation of tools and services based on new concerns that customers report, highlights Unipol Group’s strategic commitment towards sustainability at all stages of production and marketing of products and services, directed at raising the customers’ awareness to embrace responsible conduct.
5. Reducing and optimising environmental impact
The materiality analysis showed that, in terms of the environmental performance, it is a strategic priority for the Group to reduce the direct impacts generated by the activities carried out at both its offices and the bank branches it owns. This strategic vision is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to efficient use of resources and reduction of CO2 emissions. In fact, over the years, specific commitments and policies have been defined to obtain a reduction in the direct and indirect effects on the environment, to be implemented also with the involvement and commitment of employees, associates and suppliers, that Unipol incentivises and supports in this area.
As regards consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the responsibilities, objectives and the associated policy documents are distributed amongst the various departments, whose activities directly impact the environment. This relates, in particular, to the Real Estate Department (in which the Energy Manager works), the Purchasing Department (in which the Efficiency Manager works) and the Human Resources Department (in which the Mobility Manager works).
Particular attention was also paid to the issue of dematerialisation; the current objective is to extend, as far as possible, all dematerialisation tools implemented up until now and to increase the digitalisation of new services.
6. Relations with the local communities
The Unipol Group supports and in so doing works to realise its desire to manage the indirect economic impacts on civil society of activities connected and functional to its core business.
By monitoring the economic and social conditions of the communities and regions in which it operates and carefully managing external drivers that contribute to determining its enterprise value, the Group makes an effort to enact an idea of protection that goes beyond daily business activities. This means contributing to building a safer and more cohesive society, playing its social role with a focus on innovation and supporting initiatives and projects in areas of value to the communities themselves.
7. Risk management, risk and control culture
In line with the principles of the Code of Ethics, the Group dedicated itself to developing organisation processes able to guarantee prudent and responsible company management.
The internal control and risk management system, defined in the “SCI Directives” (internal control and risk management directives) adopted and periodically updated by the BoD, comprises rules, procedures and organisational structures suitable to effectively control both the strategic decisions of the Group and its actions, and is also broken down into multiple levels.
8. Trasparency and clarity in the shareholding and governance structure
The major shareholder of Unipol Gruppo Finanziario S.p.A. is Finsoe S.p.A., the holding company which currently holds 31.40% of its share capital and which in turn is held by companies of the cooperative movement that are leaders in different sectors (large-scale retail, agricultural and food, construction and services).
In order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its actions, the Board of Directors has formed six committees within it. Their purposes are to offer advice and make suggestions. The BoD defined their tasks and duties also on the basis of the criteria contained in the current Code of Conduct of listed companies. The committees are:
- Management Committee;
- Appointments and Corporate Governance Committee;
- Internal Auditing and Risk Committee;
- Committee for Related Party Transactions;
- Remuneration Committee;
- Sustainability Committee/Ethics Committee.
9. Farsightedness in responsible capital management
Farsightedness is one of the Group’s reference values as set out in the Charter of Values. This is why the commitment to recognise, manage and maximize all the capital used in its business model crosses through all Group activities.
10. Profitability of the Group's activities
In a context marked by tensions on the financial markets and by an overall intensification of competitive pressure in the insurance sector, the Unipol Group made a healthy profit again in 2016.
11. Long-term approach to setting corporate objectives and to making investment choices
The Group’s new Three-Year Strategic Plan (“UnipolToBE”) was launched in 2016.
UnipolToBE aims to strengthen leadership in the Italian insurance market by leveraging its distinctive elements and generating sustainable profitability over the medium/long-term, thanks to the implementation of a detailed programme of initiatives.
Closely monitoring customer needs constitutes the underlying spirit that guides all initiatives laid out in the Business Plan, according to four key drivers: Simplicity, Speed, Innovation and Empowering People.
In this market context, the Plan calls for pursuing a strategy focused on the core insurance business, by leveraging the Group’s areas of excellence in insurance services and in the application of telematics in insurance products, using the primary agency distribution network in the Italian market.
12. Development of resources
With respect to training, the strengthening of internal skills supports the service model evolution plan: Unica, the Unipol Group’s Corporate Academy, focusing on professional and skills training for all Unipol Group structures in Italy. The goal is to spread and increase knowledge, and share the managerial model while strengthening the corporate culture.
13. Well-being within the company
Fundamental levers for the professional development of employees are engagement, sharing values and promoting a sense of belonging to the company, in order to direct energy to successfully face the challenges that are looming in the near future.
In this context, the Group’s priority is to improve the business climate by investing to achieve the satisfaction of the role played by its employees, to balance personal time and work time, to reach greater confidence in performing their duties and less risk of stress. Unipol has always been attentive to these issues and has pursued a number of structured programmes and initiatives that make up a welfare system aimed at creating an inclusive work environment that is able to help individuals express their potential.
14. Raising regulatory compliance awareness
The complicated nature of financial products makes correctness and transparency in the business a fundamental topic, and one of strategic importance connected with the enormous interest in these subjects shown by all the main financial operators.
In drawing inspiration from the international best practices, the Group implements organisational policies and controls in order to operate on the market in compliance with the applicable Italian and foreign regulation. It focuses its attention on anti-bribery, anti-extortion, anti-money laundering and other themes relating to observance of antitrust policies.
Therefore, the prevention of these offences is assured not only by the dissemination of a culture oriented toward paying attention to compliance, but also to the definition and implementation of control mechanisms and tools to prevent deviant behaviour and the prompt adaptation of processes and products to the regulatory changes that the corporate bodies, employees and collaborators are required to know and observe.
15. Transparency toward the Market and the Authorities
The Group pays particular attention to the topic of transparency toward the market by providing adequate and detailed disclosure on the company’s economic and financial information in full compliance with relevant regulations. No less important is the goal of improving the visibility and appeal of the Group with investors, to ensure that information is disclosed equally and on a continuous basis and to thus facilitate the proper valuation of outstanding financial instruments.
Based on these guidelines, the department responsible for investor relations contributes to strengthening both continuous dialogue with the financial analysts and proactive dialogue with the shareholders and potential investors. In this way Investor Relations concretely implements the Group’s corporate governance principles defined in compliance with the shareholder’s rights and in the long-term perspective. These principles pragmatically fuel all of the shareholders’ inclination to participate and become involved.
16. Responsible supply chain management
The Group’s Purchasing policy is meant to favour the creation of measurable value in the development of synergies and integration opportunities in risk management, cost containment and the limitation of social and environmental impacts. From this perspective, the Unipol Group operates by implementing supply assessment and measurement procedures based on transparency, fairness and reliability.
The Group has set itself the objective of monitoring its supply chain by assessing the ESG performance of its main suppliers in the three-year span in which the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan will be implemented. The plan requires the control system to be strengthened by joining the international standard Global Compact, a UN initiative to encourage companies all over the world to adopt sustainable policies and make their results public.
In detail, the Global Compact requires participating businesses and organisations to share, support and apply within their sphere of influence a set of fundamental principles regarding human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption.
17. Customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is a key lever to maintain its leadership position in the market, which is why the Unipol invests to identify valuable services and solutions that can provide uniquely valuable solutions, through synergies among companies of the Group.
18. Personal consultancy
The network’s organisational model is oriented towards maximising customer relationships by boosting the specialisation of the sales force by customer segment, envisaging, over the period covered by the Plan, a consistent rise in the number of Family Welfare Consultants (dedicated to the protection of family-related needs regarding health, assets, property) and SME Business Specialists (specialised in offering Risk Assessment advisory services and personalised pricing approaches based on experience with large corporate customers), with a view to increasing Affluent clientele and the SME and Small Business segment. At the same time, the Group has invested in the development of the existing CRM system with a view to mobility management, also integrating new network support applications aimed at providing personalized insurance advice to customers. Moreover, to foster direct contact between the Company and Customers, the UnipolSai business model has begun to shift towards a multi-channel structure by means of a gradual process that will make all customer services fully accessible from remote and mobile channels, while maintaining the presence and advisory skills of the agency network as a central element.
19. Integrated multi-channel operations
Customers are now accustomed to establish relations with Group companies directly, more or less instantaneously, through the call centre, the web and new technologies that make it possible to:
- find information, especially according to “comparative” logic;
- purchase products and services also through distribution channels that are free from “physical points of contact” and accessible throughout the entire day;
- manage the “on-going” after-sales relationship through a variety of methods of contact (i.e. online, on mobile devices) free of the constraints of the opening hours of physical outlets.
In this scenario, Unipol Group is investing to provide the same level of service across all its contact channels to make their services available on a large scale and adapt them to emerging needs, including through the redefinition of its offline and online contact points. In order to make the different channels complementary and in synergy with each other, the Group is translating its multi-channel integrated strategy into operational projects. The projects are designed to monitor the level of service provided and ensure freedom of choice for its customers, on one hand to achieve increases in commercial effectiveness (broaden the market both in terms of new customers and of greater impact on existing customers), and on the other to improve operational efficiency and reduce the cost of service.
20. Customized products and services
The Unipol Group, the national leader in Non-Life insurance, represents a solid business active in five sectors (insurance, banking, real estate, hospitality and “diversified activities”), capable of offering customised and innovative solutions to everyday needs and the long-term plans of households and companies alike, thanks to its proximity to the customer and the widespread presence and professionalism of its agency network.
21. Fair and responsible competition
Il Gruppo Unipol opera a favore di un mercato nel quale sia garantita la libera concorrenza, astenendosi da pratiche che possano configurarsi come anti-concorrenziali. Per questo ha adottato principi di imparzialità, corretta e puntuale informazione, autonomia, trasparenza ed esaustività nei confronti dell’insieme degli operatori sul mercato. Il Gruppo applica procedure specifiche per la tracciabilità delle decisioni e prevede opportuni meccanismi e strumenti di rendicontazione.
22. Fairness in the sales of products and services
Increasingly connected customers and with a variety of ways to access information and services are an opportunity to develop new services and to strengthen the trust relationship in the long term.
For this reason the Group’s strategy, which includes multiple channels for customer relations, including traditional networks, direct sales, internet and banks, centres on a continual analysis of the needs, the habits and the expectations of its customers. For Unipol Gruppo the objective is to offer high level digital solutions which integrate all the many distribution channels, and contribute to the evolution of the relationship with the customers of traditional networks. This challenge brings with it the responsibility to ensure that customer’s privacy is protected, everywhere and at all times. To do so, for the Group, the basic levers of customer relationship are simplification, transparency and innovation focused mainly on two aspects: channelling and insourcing.
Fairness in the sales of products and services Relations with end customers must however take account of the structural asymmetry of information which exists with the Insurance Company or Bank. The Unipol Group aims to reduce this asymmetry through the growing qualification of the products offered, by promoting simple and transparent communication to allow customers to make informed choices.
23. Group relations with the agency network
The sharp increase of the customers’ awareness, often as a result of technological innovation, and the openness to new habits and consumption styles, significantly impacts the “company – customer” relational model. Unipol Group’s agencies constitute an essential reference throughout Italy for direct contact with customers, and yet it becomes crucial to offer responses that are digitally suited to the advanced requirements of individuals and companies.
The dynamism of customers makes it necessary to provide prompt access to key information to satisfy their insurance needs, and from this point of view the Unipol Group is focusing its efforts to extend and adapt the presence and the service capacity of its sales network. In that regard, the Group’s strategy is structured along three axes:
- Communication simplicity and transparency
- Development of human resources and of expertise
- Information systems.