When COVID-19 started impacting businesses in Argentina, insurer Sancor Seguros took swift action to ensure the well-being of its members and their families.
Sancor Seguros has 9.3 million insured members and an annual total premium income of US$1.1bn.
In addition to continuing its usual level of service, Sancor Seguros looked at ways to help members and employees through the pandemic. As part of this, it set up a 24/7 Crisis Committee to identify potential risks and opportunities for support.
While other businesses made redundancies, Sancor Seguros was able to maintain all of its 3,330 employees, who continued to work remotely. The cooperative created an internal network to maintain collaboration and teamwork, despite the physical distance. It also offered flu jabs for all its employees and their families.
To further support its staff, Sancor Seguros launched a telephone line for them to access support from its medical department. A “Call the doctor” line was also available to members and clients to prevent them from having to go to hospital for minor issues, relieving pressure on the health system.
This platform offered access to a health professional on a 24/7 basis via video calls. Those who benefited from automotive or family insurance were able to access a Psychological and Nutritional Assistance service through a helpline offering support and professional advice with loneliness, anguish, depression, grief, panic attacks, anxiety and stress, as well as information on healthy eating.
Clients with life insurance plans were allowed to withdraw up to 50% of their balance, without additional withdrawal charges. In addition, the cooperative decided to include insurance protection in its Life Savings / Life Investment policies, for claims caused by COVID-19.
To respond to customers’ changing needs, the cooperative added two new products: Home Office – which provides comprehensive protection, both to an individual working from home and the materials used; and Vida Covid-19, a life insurance policy providing coverage exclusively for COVID-19.
The insurer also took care of its local community. The “Call the Doctor” helpline was extended to the entire Sunchales community, where the cooperative’s headquarter is located. Sancor Seguros also contributed to the purchase of the necessary equipment to enable more beds of the Intensive Care Unit of the local hospital to care for Covid-19 patients. A series of fundraisers were organised to support local charities, boosted by direct contributions from Sancor Seguros.
The cooperative is also backing a "Learning at home" platform, which has more than 3,000 pieces of free content for primary and secondary level students who are learning remotely.
As part of its volunteering scheme, Sancor Seguros launched a helpline to provide emotional support and information to retired adults and pensioners who were former employees. A total of 86 members volunteered for the helpline and listening service.
In addition to these measures, Sancor Seguros prioritised the use of digital channels to ensure members could access its services online.
COVID-19’s main impact on the insurance sector was a loss of liquidity after a fall in premium collections. However, Sancor Seguros says it was able to meet these challenges due to its forward-looking, cautious approach. The cooperative has the best financial rates in the market and the highest net worth in the insurance industry.
After the pandemic, Sancor Seguros will be developing new products for potential future health crises and working from home. The insurer does not foresee major changes but expects an increased focus on digital.
The cooperative identity played a positive role during the crisis, says Sancor Seguros, because it helped it position itself as a trustworthy insurer dedicated to its local community.
Photo credit: Sancor Seguros