People insure their cars. But not their own families.

Apr 9, 2020.

The transformation brought about by digitalisation and the changing needs of customers call for innovative solutions in the insurance industry. We are promoting partnerships with start-ups with the aim of driving innovation. One of them is Zurich start-up vlot. Together we are addressing the subject of pension provision. Interview with vlot’s Michael Dritsas and Daniel Schmidheiny.

vlot uses state-of-the-art technology to help families and individuals to identify and close any gaps in their income and savings. “Thanks to vlot, we can rapidly test new and innovative solutions in the field of risk protection. Because our common goal in the field of pension provision is to make subjects relating to risk and savings more accessible to people,” says Aline Brügger, Director of Product & Services Life at Generali Switzerland.


In the interview, Daniel Schmidheiny, co-founder of vlot, and Michael Dritsas, vlot CEO, tell us more about pension provision protection and future changes in life insurance.



Michael and Daniel: Why are you working with established insurance companies?

Michael: Working with established insurers is a win-win situation for vlot, as we are helping with innovation and digitalisation, as well as with our agile and flexible working methods. The insurance company supports us with its distribution network, customer base, brand, contacts and networks.



Where do you see the advantages in a collaboration with Generali? What makes us different from other companies?

Michael: Generali is one of the most innovative insurers in Switzerland, with life insurance representing a key source of its business. The foundation of the House of Insurtech Switzerland (HITS) takes this spirit of innovation even more into account. Collaboration with a group that manages an innovation hub in Switzerland is a great way for a start-up like vlot to work with them on developing something. Our solution has the potential to be also used at the international group level.



Which subjects in the field of pension provision do people underestimate? And why?

Daniel: Your average Swiss generally assumes they are well insured, which is often not the case for those living in an unregistered partnership, for example. People have little understanding of their fringe benefits, which are often more important than their agreed gross salaries. Most employees underestimate incapacity to work and don’t know that their degree of disability depends on their actual loss of income. Finally, they fully underestimate the long-term nature of retirement benefits. This has a particular impact on women as part-time work, maternity leave and unregistered partnerships mean they are often very poorly or insufficiently protected.


“People take out accidental damage insurance for their cars. But not their own families. We have to make them aware of this.”



Only those with a high income can afford pension provision protection. Fact or fiction?

Michael: That is not correct. You can take out risk insurance for the price of two cups of coffee (CHF 4.50) per month, for example. It is a lot more about prioritising risk protection than affordability. People take out accidental damage insurance for their cars. But not their own families. We have to make them aware of this.



Looking ahead to the future: What changes are heading our way in the field of life insurance? And where does Switzerland stand?

Michael: We firmly believe that changes will not come from the product side but from addressing customers and digitalising value chains. People’s understanding of their protection needs will become more transparent. For example, we believe that the subject of pension provision will be a lot more customised in the future. End customers will find out more about it themselves and be more active via digital marketplaces for retirement assets or risk protection, for example.


Daniel: The exchange of data between providers via open interfaces but also taking out insurance entirely online will become the market norm. Switzerland is way behind on this last point in particular. People in most countries take out insurance entirely online and as part of the exchange of data regulated in the EU (PSD2). There are also a number of countries in the pension fund sector that permit calculations to be made across all pillars. We are still nowhere near this in Switzerland.



About vlot.

vlot is a young Swiss insurtech company that enables people to make financially responsible decisions. It does this in a complex world of state- and employer-related risk and savings benefits. An intuitive vlot analysis enables individuals and families to carry out a financial check-up in less than three minutes. Working with insurers, banks and pension funds, vlot aims to provide people with a transparent basis on which to make decisions about risk protection and savings.