An Interview with Mathias Harrassowitz, Sapiens Regional Director, DACH
Q: Why did you decide to join Sapiens?
A: There are several reasons. If I had to choose one, it would be the challenge of helping one of the most successful global companies in IT Solutions for the insurance market to conquer the German market.
Q: Can you explain more about the insurance market in Germany?
A: With pleasure. The German market differs in many ways from other countries. German insurance companies are in most cases, for historical reasons, very conservatively positioned. Home-grown (IT) structures and existing patterns of thinking, which worked successfully for decades, today make it increasingly difficult to adapt to changing conditions. There is a need to change our mentality in line with the heightened need for security and static infrastructure stand in the way of ever faster digital development.
Q: Security and predictability are also important?
A: Of course! But be careful that this does not stand in the way of an optimal solution. An example: A large German insurance company has recently launched a tender for a new backend system. It is supported by a renowned consulting company. In order to be included on the list of companies allowed to participate in the tender, it was essential that an deployment of a insurance for automobile systems in Germany was available.
Q: How does this requirement limit innovation?
A: Why does a German installation have to exist? Because of EvB or VWB? Is GDV a damaged network? Why? Only the “German” idea of security is the reason, loosely based on the motto: “If you don’t have it, you are not able to do it.“ With this way of thinking you might get a bit more security, but at the same time you limit the possible innovation framework to a few established vendors.
Q: How can we change that?
A: I believe that companies like Sapiens, for example, which have dozens of systems in production worldwide, are able to provide answers to future issues because of their structure and innovation hubs.
There are many modern insurance management, policy or claim systems and they should be a looked at naturally. But if you are looking for new solutions today you must ask what is in store for us in the next 10 or 15 years. Which supplier is best positioned here, who is not only “state of the art” but who also sets new trends? Sapiens is such a company that is thinking ahead and I look forward to entering into an exciting dialogue with insurers.
Q: How can that be achieved?
A: Fortunately I am not alone with this challenge. On the one hand I have a strong and experienced international team which supports me with their experience from many projects. On the other hand I have a highly professional, innovative team at my side with my colleagues at sum.cumo, a Sapiens company. They know the German insurance market extremely well and have made a good name for themselves in the industry with some very innovative projects.
Sapiens acquired the German Insurtech sum.cumo in January this year in order to expand its presence in the DACH market. Everyone at Sapiens knows that their innovative approach, local presence and a deep understanding of local requirements are essential for success.
These experts have successfully demonstrated over 10 years that they not only understand how the insurance business works, but are also capable of turning innovative ideas into successful results. And incidentally, the question of motor vehicle expertise is now also settled. With nexible, an ERGO subsidiary, Sapiens now has one of the most innovative references ever.
The range of solutions offered by Sapiens combined with their strategic acquisition of sum.cumo has once again enhanced quality and innovation and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together.
Q: What will make this successful?
A: I have 25 years of experience in the insurance (IT) environment. I built up a large German property insurance company and then got to know the “other” side as a consultant in a software company. As a product manager, I was responsible for the strategic development of insurance systems and I accompanied large implementations of inventory management systems. As Managing Delivery Manager, I later negotiated contracts and represented our interests in the steering committee. This broad spectrum of experience allows me to uniquely understand decision-makers today.
Not only wanting to place a good solution, but really understanding an insurance company’s challenges, even beyond the IT issues, will make the difference.
Q: Mathias, thank you for the interview and sharing your thoughts and ideas.
A: You are very welcome.