CEO Martin Diviš on Kooperativa’s 25 years in the Czech Republic
How would you sum up Kooperativa’s 25 years?
Our premium volume was around EUR 3.3 million 25 years ago and today it is EUR 1.2 billion. We grew from 50 employees to around 3,600. During that period, we handled more than 7.5 million claims to the complete satisfaction of our customers – who now number more than 2 million. If you ask why Kooperativa is strong, successful, stable, fair and respectful, analysts will look for the answer in the company’s history, key figures, competition, business law, customer behaviour or the character of our industry. They will measure, examine, evaluate, calculate and model. To me, however, the answer is clear – Kooperativa just acts the way people do.
What are you particularly proud of when you think back to the past?
In all those years, it was the work and determination of our employees that have brought us so far. This was particularly clear when the government monopoly on motor third party liability insurance was lifted in 1999. There were long lines of customers outside Kooperativa’s offices, and we set up tables in the street to manage the rush. Everyone helped to issue policies. We even hired students temporarily. In a very short period of time, we had issued more than a million policies. That was truly remarkable.
Kooperativa has been part of the VIG Group for 25 years. What do you value about this the most?
It was clear right from the start that the headquarters in Vienna would rely on our local management, the on-site team and our special knowledge of the Czech market. I consider this to be proper and reasonable. Not everything works the same way in Austria as it does in the Czech Republic or, for example, Romania. Wherever you go, people are just a little bit different, as is the environment. Take the manner and style of communication, for example. An advertisement that is humorous in the Czech Republic might be a complete failure in Hungary or Poland. And I have to say that I personally value very highly the Group’s approach to relying on Group company management.
What is the secret of your success?
Success is always a combination of different factors. In my opinion, the most important are the determination of our employees, who enjoy doing their jobs, a strong experienced principal shareholder, trustworthy business partners and a management that knows what it wants and how to achieve it. And we particularly value the confidence that each and every customer places in us. When this is true, one can truly call it success. And Kooperativa even goes one step further – we are an insurance company that always tries to be straightforward and helpful, and knows that life is not always simple. Kooperativa is an insurance company for life as it is.