Double interview with Benoit Halbart and Heidi Delobelle - AG Employee Benefits
Interview with Heidi Delobelle & Benoit Halbart

Published on 12/06/2024


Second pillar now more important than ever

According to Heidi Delobelle and Benoit Halbart​​​

​The voice of experience: this is how the current and former Managing Directors of AG Employee Benefits and Health Care see the future. In honour of AG's 200th anniversary and AG Employee Benefits's 105 years in business, Benoit Halbart and Heidi Delobelle took a walk down memory lane and shared their positive outlook for the future.

What were the most signficant milestones at AG Employee Benefits & Health Care for you over the past few years?​

Heidi: We've had a number of impressive achievements at AG Employee Benefits & Health Care. In 1919, AG came out with the first pension plans, back in the day when Belgium didn't have a state pension yet. This groundbreaking development set the tone for future innovations, such as the launch of a state-of-the-art management platform.

Benoit: Between the ever-changing regulatory environment, historically low interest rates and shifts in consumer behaviour in Health Care, we've always managed to be the first to adapt and create products that meet our customers' needs. In any event, this is the feedback we get from them year after year.

Heidi: With our partner Waldon (formerly AG Health Partner) and the Return to Work assistance programme, we were also the first insurer to address our plan participants' mental wellbeing and put some serious muscle behind prevention.

​What are you personally most proud of?​

Benoit: There are hundreds of reasons to be proud. But if I have to choose one thing, it's the consistent, unwavering vision that has defined AG Employee Benefits & Health Care 's policy over the past 30 years. Although Bart De Smet, Jean-Michel Kupper​, Heidi and myself have each had our own special focus areas, we've also had one clear, long-term objective in mind: to offer our customers high quality, effective soutions in line with the long-term commitments we make as a pension and health insurance provider.

Heidi: Personally, I'm particularly proud of our status as a global pension player.

Benoit: Indeed, thanks to the acquisition of pension fund manager Conac, we have a 360-degree offering that includes a suitable pension solution for every company in Belgium.

Heidi: We're also leading the way in the digital revolution, with an automated back office and a fully digital front end. A great example is the development of our MyAG Employee Benefits app, which gives our plan participants 24/7 access to their covers and benefits.

We can also be proud of our professionalism and financial acumen, which we put to good use to provide our customers with creative solutions. For example, our guaranteed profit sharing that we announce two years in advance. Our technical expertise behind the scenes has been invaluable. It's the key ingredient that allows us to offer a total return that meets our customers' LCP obligation in a low interest rate environment, as well as interesting prospects for the future via our hybrid solutions. As Benoit just said, all of these factors have contributed to our high levels of customer satisfaction.​

​"​AG Employee Benefits & Health Care has had a consistent, unwavering vision for more than 30 years​, in line with the long-term commitments we make to our customers."

Benoit Halbart​

What are the biggest challenges currently facing AG Employee Benefits & Health Care and group insurance in general? 

Heidi: I think one of the biggest challenges is the sheer volume of new legislation which - to be honest - isn't always a source of added value. Internally, we're looking into the best ways to capitalise on technological capabilities and artificial intelligence. In addition, with the government's budgetary issues, we're also confronted with political decisions that threaten the fiscal stability of the second pillar.

Benoit: There needs to be a long-term strategy for our pension and healthcare system but both are under heavy pressure due to political and fiscal instability. We need to continue to raise politicians' awareness of the absolute necessity of a strong second pension pillar and robust health insurance.

"To keep pensions affordable in the future, policymakers must leave enough room for the development and expansion of the second pillar."

Heidi Delobelle​

How do you see the future of AG Employee Benefits & Health Care?​

Heidi: I certainly see room for further growth, especially by improving access to the second pillar and expanding coverage.

Benoit: The needs in these areas will only continue to grow. The replacement ratio for the state pension is too low, so access to a supplementary pension has become an absolute necessity. However, many employees still have no supplementary pension plan or their supplementary pension plan is too limited. When it comes to healthcare, I see an important role for us to play in addressing the growing issue of mental wellbeing in the workplace. We're watching new developments in this area closely and will continue to develop new prevention and return-to-work services that address the needs of our customers.​

Read the interview where former Managing Directors Bart De Smet and Jean-Michel Kupper look back at their biggest challenges and share a few anecdotes from their days at the helm of AG Employee Benefits & Health Care. A time when the current market leader confirmed and strengthened its position.

read the interview