If you ask Pavel Wiesner, the new CEO of Česká podnikatelská pojišťovna, about the company’s values, he will give a straightforward answer: fairness, honesty, teamwork, and innovation. He adds quickly, that his broad understanding of a 'team' comprises the broker, the insurance company, and the client. "This link is essential for us. We are successful precisely because it works, due to the fact that we have the trust of both brokers and our clients."
That trust is palpable. ČPP is constantly growing thanks to it. In the recent Zlatá koruna competition, clients awarded you gold again for Business and industrial insurance and silver for Combi Plus IV car insurance. Also, brokers awarded you four medals in their annual Insurer of the Year survey. Are you happy?
Of course, we are very happy with every award. It is a great testimonial for ČPP, but above all, a confirmation that we are heading in the right direction as a company. Since your magazine is read mainly by entrepreneurs, I would like to note that I am particularly proud of this gold medal, because I’ve worked in business insurance for all my professional career. Even more so – we have won the gold medal for the third year in a row.
But still, trust is the biggest recognition for us. I feel that we have been winning trust gradually, whether it was during the floods, or two years ago during the tornado disaster in South Moravia. In all cases, my colleagues and I went directly to the field and helped people on location. I find it important that we do not remain isolated from reality and keep directly in touch with what people need.
I suppose ČPP has changed a lot over that time, is that right?
Of course, we have changed enormously. We have grown, moved to new HQ and expanded our services, to name a few things. For instance, in 2001 when I joined ČPP, written premiums were 1.4 billion, while last year we exceeded 13 billion. In the industrial insurance segment, which I was responsible for, written premiums were below 100 million CZK in 2001, while in 2022 we will exceed a turnover of 2 billion CZK. Today we are simply bigger, faster, more dynamic, and digitally advanced, but I feel most important is that we are still a great team of people who love their work and have their hearts in the right place. It’s key that the human aspect is still present in our work.
Let's stick with business insurance for a while. What do you offer entrepreneurs now?
ČPP is a composite insurance company and we are also universal in terms of industrial and business insurance. Of course, we offer basic property and business interruption insurance, liability, professional liability or car insurance, but also specialized construction and erection all risks insurance, machinery and electronics breakdown insurance, transport insurance, or insurance of various financial losses.
For smaller entrepreneurs, we have smart products called Simplex and Profex, which are very simple and easy to understand. For medium-sized businesses, we have a variable product called Komplex. As for larger enterprises, industrial clients, public sector, multinationals or entrepreneurs with specific activities, we offer customized insurance protection through tailor-made insurance products. Each of these clients therefore has their own insurance contract with coverage according to their specific needs. This individual approach is another thing that we want to strengthen in the future.
What are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when it comes to insurance these days? Any tips or advice you could give them?
The most important thing is to make sure your insurance coverage and limits of indemnity are set correctly. Therefore, I would recommend that entrepreneurs either check, or have experts assess, their insurance coverage, as there has been a great influence of inflation in the last few years. They have to ask themselves whether they could potentially rebuild their business for the amount of coverage they have in their existing contract. If they have had the same contract for ten years for example, the answer is certain to be no. The same goes for insurance limits of indemnity, whether it is for natural disaster insurance, liability insurance or others.
When the insurance is set incorrectly or insufficiently, the client pays for a service that does not work or works only partially in the event of damage. Insurance that is set correctly, can of course, be more costly, but the increase in the insurance premium is exponentially lower than the loss that the company would suffer from any potential damage.
While others are closing down branch offices in regions as part of centralizing efforts, ČPP has a strong regional base. Are you planning to keep it moving forward?
Absolutely. We are one of two insurance companies that has strong regional coverage. We have six regional HQs, 100 branch offices and 220 sales offices throughout the country. Regions have a high level of autonomy because they know the local business environment. We want to keep growing them because we know that each region has its own specifics. On top of that, entrepreneurs appreciate when we approach them with this knowledge. This ties back to our company vision and mission. We want to approach entrepreneurs individually, and help them in every situation. You can insure anything except for wars and pandemics. It's just a matter of time and money. And we enjoy innovation and new challenges.
Pavel Wiesner was interviewed by Jana Jenšíková
Photo: Marek Jenšík