Jean Azéma was in Tunisia in the last few days, to finalise the entry of Groupama, he is the C.E.O. of the group, in the capital of the «Star of the insurances », in the words of its Managing Director Abdelkrim Merdassi. In our interview with him, we talked about his opinion of Star and his vision relating to the future prospects and the new services that the French insurance operator could introduce in the range of services of Star. There are novelties.
How did you find the STAR from the inside, did you go in the Data Room ?
First of all, I think that our issue today is that we have in the STAR real assets and real capacities represented in its market share, its experience and its human potential and workforce. We need to analyse more thoroughly the STAR and improve our knowledge of the company and the sector in the coming weeks.
Did you find any negative points ?
There several points that we need to discuss in our Board.
What are the main aspects to correct ?
We think that we have capacities to give to STAR, in terms of services to client quality , in terms of distribution as well as several new means and capacities, so that it could be a reference pole in the insurance sector and become a better quality company , I mean better than today.
Will your position in the Board allow you to do so, as you do not hold any managing position in the Board ?
We have many administrators who will represent the group. We also plan to provide human and technical means within the frame of the STAR management so as to facilitate this exchange of competences and know-how.
What is the most important thing to do in your development strategy for the STAR. What seems to you most urgent to do in the STAR?
What needs constant improvements relating to insurance in general and in the case of the STAR, is the quality of the relation and service to client. This is what we ^plan to work on.
Do you think you won’t have anything to do in terms of finance and in terms of financial backing of the STAR ?
Concerning the financial aspect of the STAR, you know that our entry in its capital was operated through an increase of the capital.
Will this be sufficient to make it the Star of insurance according to your wish by your presence in its capital ?
This will certainly be sufficient today, but later we will help in the development of STAR, which will certainly need additional capital.
You have also mentioned the agriculture insurance. Do you plan to lead STAR to agricultural insurance ?
The agricultural insurance is one of the Groupama specialities, and we will help STAR to take advantage of our know-how in the sector, since, after undertaking the necessary market surveys, this is also a field in which we can invest.
Apart from life insurance which does not take a large market share in Tunisia, in general, what are the new products that we coud possibly find in Tunisia through the presence of Groupama in the Star ?
We mentioned the agricultural insurance, we can also mention the development of transport insurance and of individual insurance. But in this area, we need to improve our knowledge before giving a more precise answer.
Do you plan to offer more in terms of individual insurance ? Is it only about offering better than the others ?
I think the group is n° one in health and individual insurance in France. It is also one of the most important retirement insurance and it is also a hazard insurance. In all these areas, we have both the technique and the innovation capacity. We have also invested a lot in prevention, as we think that in addition to compensation, we should avoid accidents. Our policy is not only about making insurance contracts, but also about offering to our clients substantial contracts in terms of services. This means, for example, being able to provide care centers for children when their parents are in hospital, provide school assistance to children when they cannot go to school, etc.… For all this, we need to analyse the market and analyse what STAR is doing in these areas to see how we can bring our additional know-how to STAR.
Will you be content with the 35%, or will you go further, in what circumstances and when ?
Today, we are entering with a level of 35% in the capital of STAR. This is a significant participation and is considered as a gradual privatisation…
Did you have more promises ?
We have no promises. There are several things which are planned, particularly that the Tunisian State should reduce its participation in the three coming years. But this depends on the State decision.