Thomas Saunier (Malakoff Humanis): “We will support companies in protecting their employees”

Social protection under fire. Confined but concentrated, Thomas Saunier holds (at a distance) the helm of Malakoff Humanis with a definite course. “In a crisis situation, priority targets must be quickly defined,” said the group’s CEO, who was primarily concerned with his nearly 11,000 employees. A business continuity plan was deployed from the start of the crisis. “All the necessary measures have been taken to protect our employees, and from March 17 [date du début du confinement, NDLR], the watchword was to stay at home “, specifies Thomas Saunier who, himself, does not go to the office and juggles with mastery with the many videoconferencing tools available. The strikes of December and January were able to test the teleworking agreement in force in the company. “Today 85% of our employees are able to work remotely.” Certain activities, such as the processing of paper mail, still require the presence of employees on site. ” We have decided not to have recourse to partial unemployment and are committed to maintaining 100% of the salaries of our employees, ”adds Thomas Saunier.

It must be said that the task is titanic, while a good part of the economy is at a standstill, with 6.3 million employees on short-time working in 586,000 companies and associations, according to the Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud on Wednesday April 8. That is to say 500,000 more employees in two days. “Faced with this exceptional situation, we are mobilizing more than ever to help our client companies and our policyholders, by offering them specific services, but also concrete financial support”, comments Thomas Saunier. Like other players in the insurance and social protection sector, Malakoff Humanis has in fact just set up a “Covid-19 corporate solidarity” mechanism, endowed with 200 million euros. A very generous effort which alone equals the global envelope released by the French Insurance Federation (FFA) to feed the Solidarity Fund announced by Bruno Le Maire.

Spreading and deferral of contributions

Concretely, by offering its client companies (for collective provident and health insurance contracts) who so request a staggering or deferral of the payment of contributions for the second quarter, Malakoff Humanis is helping to loosen the grip on expenditure for the most vulnerable societies. As of April 8, the request had already been made by 20% of the 500,000 client companies of Malakoff Humanis. A figure which “increases every day”, testifies the leader. The financial impact

re, Thomas Saunier holds (at a distance) the helm of Malakoff Humanis with a definite course. “In a crisis situation, it is necessary to quickly define priority action targets”, declares the general manager of the group, who was concerned, above all, with his nearly 11,000 employees. A business continuity plan was deployed from the start of the crisis. The strikes in December and January may have tested the teleworking agreement in force in the company. “Today more than 85% of our employees are able to work remotely”, specifies Thomas Saunier who, himself, does not go to the office and juggles with mastery with the many videoconferencing tools available. Certain activities, such as handling paper mail, still require the presence of employees on site. “We have decided not to have recourse to partial unemployment and we are committed to maintaining 100% of the salaries of our employees”, adds the manager.

It must be said that the task is titanic, while a good part of the economy is at a standstill, with 6.3 million employees on short-time working in 586,000 companies and associations, according to the Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud on Wednesday April 8. That is to say 500,000 more employees in two days. “Faced with this exceptional situation, we are mobilizing more than ever to help our business customers and our policyholders, by offering them specific services, but also concrete financial support”, underlines Thomas Saunier. Like other players in the insurance and social protection sector, Malakoff Humanis has in fact just set up a “Covid-19 corporate solidarity” mechanism, endowed with 200 million euros. A very generous effort which alone equals the global envelope released by the French Insurance Federation (FFA) to feed the Solidarity Fund announced by Bruno Le Maire.

Spreading and deferral of contributions

Concretely, by offering its client companies (for collective provident and health insurance contracts) who so request a staggering or deferral of the payment of contributions for the second quarter, Malakoff Humanis is helping to loosen the grip on expenditure for the most vulnerable societies. As of April 8, the request had already been made by 20% of the 500,000 client companies of Malakoff Humanis. A figure which “increases every day”, according to the leader. The financial impact is not insignificant for the mutualist and non-profit group which generates 6.2 billion euros in annual turnover and covers 10 million insured people. “If we were to continue this effort on contributions over two quarters, that would represent huge sums for us”, agrees Thomas Saunier who expects, despite everything, to have to absorb unpaid bills. The equation is also delicate in the long term because, recalls the general manager, “the amount of the contributions collected determines that of the services which we can pay”.

In the meantime, Malakoff Humanis is not spending money and has even widened the spectrum of its services outside the scope normally covered by its insurance contracts. The group thus takes care of work stoppages of employees quarantined before general confinement, work stoppages of people at risk (pregnant women, at-risk pathologies, etc.), or also participates in the management of work stoppages. for childcare under 16 years of age up to 250 euros per employee concerned. “This flat-rate aid offered to companies with fewer than 500 employees alone represents 45 million euros of our overall support plan,” notes Thomas Saunier. Other emergency financial aid, particularly for disabled people, is deployed by the group, as well as a wide range of services available to its customers. Teleconsultations, telephone helplines and information, legal aid … “In large groups, listening devices are in great demand, while in VSEs and SMEs, employees mainly resort to legal aid, in as part of the implementation of telework or partial unemployment. “

“We are not magicians”

Does Malakoff Humanis have the backbone enough to keep such ambitious commitments? With more than 6 billion euros of equity, the group highlights its “financial strength”. “Despite the fall in the markets, as we always have prudent management, our assets are relatively preserved, which helps us in our discussions with the banks”, reassures Thomas Saunier according to whom, despite everything, the group’s income statements will be fine started by the breaks and delays in the payment of contributions. “Large amounts are at stake, and we are not magicians,” he warns, estimating that the situation remains bearable until the end of June. But there is no doubt, there will be a post-Covid-19 for the insurance and provident sector: “Other players are much more fragile and we can expect to see accelerate the phenomenon of concentration which has been reshaping our sector for several years. “