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Aegon CEO reflects on 2014

The Hague, March 20, 2015

Aegon's CEO, Alex Wynaendts, reflects on the challenges affecting the industry, and the progress Aegon has made in implementing its strategy during 2014.

Alex Wynaendts, Aegon CEO

What were the most significant opportunities and challenges for Aegon last year?

 

Global aging, together with issues such as population growth, the gap between rich and poor, and climate change, is one of the most profound challenges our societies face.

Across the world, governments and employers are continuing to retreat from providing traditional retirement security. This represents a huge opportunity for Aegon as individuals will need to take far greater responsibility for their finances in older age. Our challenge is to ensure people choose to entrust their financial future with Aegon, and in 2014 more customers did that than ever before.

The last 12 months saw a range of external challenges, the effects of which are felt across the entire insurance industry. Low interest rates, particularly in the US, Europe and Japan, were unfavorable for our business. While there was some improvement in global economic growth, this was by no means universal. There was also uncertainty in financial markets, and this is likely to continue in the near future.

We want to be a leader in all our chosen markets.

- Aegon CEO, Alex Wynaendts

In terms of regulation, we saw considerable change at both a global and national level. Solvency II, which will come into effect on January 1, 2016, was the focus of a great deal of attention and activity across the company. While there has been increased attention on customer protection issues, this is consistent with our own drive to become a truly customer-centric company – better understanding and connecting with our customers.

How has Aegon changed how it connects with its customers?

The way many people now wish to interact with us has changed radically compared to only a few years ago – particularly their desire to connect online.

From launching the My Aegon portal in the Netherlands and new online products in Spain and Turkey to helping more than one million people in the US with our Retirement Outlook tool, we're using new technologies in such a way that we not only offer the right products and services to the right people, but also help inform and educate customers about their financial future.

Engaging with customers in this way is good for all concerned. Better-informed customers are more likely to take action today to secure a better future tomorrow. Many in turn choose Aegon, and that's obviously good for us as a company.

Why is Aegon's purpose so important to the company?

I strongly believe a company needs a purpose in order to excel. Aegon's purpose is to help people take responsibility for their financial future. This therefore defines what we do, how we do it and why we do it. We don't just sell products and services; we help people at some of the most important moments in their lives.

Aegon's purpose is also the inspiration for much of our wider work. Global aging is going to affect everyone in our markets. Our third annual Retirement Readiness Survey, published in 2014, helps raise awareness and educate people about the need to plan and prepare for the future.

I don't know how many people who read about it knew that this was an Aegon initiative. But I do know that by undertaking this survey we ultimately helped people consider their financial future, and that's something we can be proud of.

What does success look like for Aegon?

Our ambition is to be a leader in all our chosen markets. That doesn't necessarily mean that we have to be the largest by market share. It means being the most recommended company by not only our customers but also our intermediaries and employees.

We chose to track our progress through the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) because they provide a clearer picture of being 'recommended', rather than just measuring customer or employee 'satisfaction'.

Why is this so important? Well, it doesn't matter what the sector is, mere satisfaction alone is no guarantee that anyone recommends a company to family or friends. A recommendation requires a far deeper sense of trust and respect, and that's precisely what we're striving for. Likewise, employees only choose to recommend a company as an employer if they feel truly valued, engaged and proud of where they work.

 

Written by: Aegon

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Learn more about Aegon's financial and non financial activities in 2017.  

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