Interview Sven Desmytter - Luc Van Den Bossche - AG Employee Benefits
Sven Desmytter Luc Van Den Bossche

"We want to offer only the very best to our customers"

​​​​​​​​Double interview with Sven Desmytter and Luc Van Den Bossche

​As a company, you want to offer attractive employee benefits, communicate clearly about them, while keeping costs and administration under control. At AG Employee Benefits & Health Care, we tackle your challenges head on. "Feedback from our customers motivates us to continuously improve." Read about our recent and future efforts to guarantee the best products and services in this double interview with Sven Desmytter, Head of Sales, and Luc Van Den Bossche, Head of Services.

High-quality and comprehensive value proposition

What does AG Employee Benefits & Health Care stand for?

Sven: AG aims to be an "all-round player" for corporate pension and healthcare plans. We offer employers a comprehensive solution to protect their employees in the event of retirement, death and disability as well as hospitalisation and outpatient care. Moreover, as far as supplementary pensions are concerned, our offer includes branch 21, branch 23 as well as hybrid solutions. Our ambition is to offer employers and employees top quality in everything we do. ​ From our products, to our returns and services: only the very best is good enough.


Service is what you really see as a distinguishing factor. Why is that?

Luc: Indeed, we want to excel with a ​ service that is fast, faultless and customer-friendly. New and existing customers, and their affiliates, should feel welcome at AG. This is why we have invested a lot in optimising our service in recent years, and will certainly continue to do so in the years to come.​

Reduced lead times, higher satisfaction​

What concrete actions have you put in place to take customer service to the next level?

Luc: In our service to employers, the customer is key. We listen carefully to their needs, and those of the brokers. Based on their feedback, we launched the internal project 'OptiStart'. Our goal is to get every new pension and healthcare plan up and running within two months.

Sven: It is very important to us that a customer's first experience with AG is​ a positive one. So from the start, it is clearly agreed what information is expected from all parties. At the onboarding stage, we switch over to quick telephone or video call chats so that questions and information do not get stuck in e-mail traffic. After launching a new plan, we always assess satisfaction with its progress. Sometimes there is room for improvement, which we identify for the future, but most of the time we notch up a success.​


​​​"Our turnaround times have been significantly reduced in re​cent years, both at the start and during the ongoing client processes."
​Luc Van Den Bossche​

Well begun is half done, but what about turnaround times for existing customers?

Luc: In the ongoing customer journey, turnaround times have also been significantly reduced in recent years, with an instant positive impact on customer satisfaction. 40% of transactions submitted by employers through our EB Online portal are processed automatically (STP). ​ 50% of the queries we receive via email are answered within 48 hours. For the other half, which require more research or consultation, we agree with the customer on a time frame within which they can expect our response.
Does that improved service have an impact on customer satisfaction?

Sven: Yes it does! We keep abreast of this with an NPS customer satisfaction survey every year. Year after year, it delivers good, stable results, but of course we always want to do better. We want to excel, because standing still means going backwards. So we would definitely like to encourage our customers to give feedback in these surveys.

​Listening and improving

What else does AG do to build strong customer relationships?​

Luc: We involve our customers at an early stage in our product development and process optimisations. Take the example of the new Transparency Act​, which will have a big impact for employers and for us. We listen to our customers' questions and concerns beforehand. This happens during our EB Atelier and EB Lab roundtables. Here, we engage with both decision-makers and HR staff, whether they work for our customers or not. By the way, employers may always apply ​​spontaneously to participate. They constantly challenge us to evolve along with their wishes and needs.

Sven: In addition, AG is also organising the Sound of C again this year. This initiative is designed for employees who do not come into daily contact with customers. They listen in on customer conversations or accompany an account manager for a while, to get a better feel for the companies and people behind the customer number.

Ever faster payouts​

We already talked about turnaround times in operational processes with customers. Turnaround times are also very important for affiliates. They expect their group insurance to be paid out ​quickly​ and their medical expenses to be reimbursed swiftly. How is this going?​

Luc: We have also made considerable progress in this area in recent years. In pension plans taken out by the employer, 75% of pension claims are paid within the month, 90% within three months. Only 3% are paid out after 6 months, in the majority of cases because we received the retirement date too late from Sigedis.

85% of the medical expenses submitted through our digital platform MyAG Employee Benefits are paid within seven days.

Besides our digital platform MyAG Employee Benefits​, which is handy for submitting expenses, we are also working on other solutions to increase convenience for the insured and reduce the reimbursement period for medical expenses. For instance, the newly launched platform AssurMed will ensure that we can reimburse the cost of medical services provided by GPs, dentists and physiotherapists even faster. AssurMed is an initiative by seven Belgian insurers through which the data from certificates of medical assistance is transmitted directly to our systems in a structured digital way. This allows immediate 'straight-through' processing. A similar system, AssurPharma, has existed for some time for pharmacy receipts. For affiliates who use AssurPharma, ​​95% of pharmacy fees are reimbursed within three days. This gives users huge time savings and peace of mind.

Challenges and opportunities

What challenges do you currently see lying ahead for AG Employee Benefits & Health Care?

Sven: Although our customers and affiliates are generally very satisfied with the protection offered by our Income Care products in case of disability, we still have some work to do in terms of customer experience. Becoming incapacitated is an uncomfortable situation anyway, so we must do everything possible to make the process of paying the monthly disability benefit as smooth as possible. We therefore want to shift up a gear in the coming years in terms of digitalisation, service delivery and customer experience.


"There is still a long way to go before every working citizen has a good pension and healthcare plan through their employer or sector."
Sven Desmytter

What changes and trends will be important for employers and for you to keep an eye on in the coming years? How will AG Employee Benefits respond?

Luc: Data protection and data security are becoming increasingly important, especially as we work with personal and medical data. So it is crucial for our digital processes to be secure. Our company is therefore very strict about everything to do with GDPR, ID security and the robustness of our systems. Our employees are also required to be trained on these subjects. Data protection, by the way, is one of the reasons we strongly encourage the use of our digital tools. It is much safer to send sensitive data through these channels than by e-mail or post.

Furthermore, the new Transparency Act poses a challenge for the future. The familiar pension sheet will be replaced by a pension benefit statement with adapted information. This has an impact on the underlying processes and will require a lot of extra communication to both employers and affiliates.


What about the adoption rate of the MyAG Employee Benefits online platform?

Sven: The platform and app are catching on very well. Over one million affiliates have access to MyAG Employee Benefits, half of whom have already logged in. Currently, 50% of hospital admissions and 75% of medical expenses are submitted through the tool and consequently reimbursed very quickly. We encourage affiliates to install the MyAG Employee Benefits app at the start of their plan so that they can use it immediately if they are hospitalised or incur medical expenses.

In addition, the app is also a source of information, written in a language that is easy to understand. For instance, one in four visitors simulate their future net pension capital payout. Affiliates get an up-to-date overview of the insurance and services included in their pay package. If the employer extends the cover, employees will see the update immediately in the app. Of course, this is also important for the employer. After all, as a company, you want your employees to understand, and thereby value, the investment you are making for them.

In short, MyAG Employee Benefits offers nothing but advantages in terms of speed, information and security. We therefore strongly encourage the use of digital tools, and support employers to promote them to their employees.

​So are you switching to a fully digital service soon?

Luc: Absolutely not! We are and will remain a ​ ​phygital insurer​ that promotes digital tools, but also remains accessible to affiliates over the phone.

Sven: Indeed, we feel it is our role as insurers to provide good solutions and excellent service to people who are less 'digital-savvy' as well.

How do you want AG Employee Benefits & Health Care to evolve in the coming years?

Sven: I think every working citizen should have access to a good pension and healthcare plan through their employer or sector. And preferably all at AG, of course, that goes without saying (laughs). By 'good' I mean: a pension plan that provides a sufficiently high replacement rate, a death cover that provides ​ sufficient protection to ensure the standard of living of the survivors. There is still some work to be done, including when it comes to solid disability covers for example. These are far from being at the same level for everyone, according to the benchmark study we recently carried out in various economic sectors. Hospitalisation insurance is well established, unlike outpatient plans. However, more and more employers are convinced that cover for outpatient medical care gives their employees a beneficial increase in purchasing power and is among the most tangible benefits. 

​So we certainly see plenty of opportunities to continue playing our role as a high-quality all-round player in pension and healthcare plans in the years to come. ​