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The banking jobs: Chief Digital Officer

  • Sebastien Vannier Chief Digital Officer
  • Milan
  • 05.10.2018

In a career that has spanned continents and multiple positions, Sébastien Vannier’s path through BNP Paribas has been largely determined by the value he places on building relationships. Beginning as a management accountant in India within an insurance-related subsidiary of the Group, Sébastien has moved into sales and marketing over the years. His current challenge? Data processing at Italy’s BNP Paribas Cardif. Let’s get to know the man behind the data.

Tell us about what you do at BNP Paribas. 

I have just started in the position of Chief Digital Officer at BNP Paribas Cardif in Italy, which is the Group’s insurance subsidiary. Italy is a critical market for Cardif, due to the company’s territorial presence via two business entities: Cardif Vita, for life insurance products, and Cargeas, which devotes itself to other kinds of insurance (auto, home, etc.). 

My new responsibilities involve taking stock of local data initiatives, in light of the Group’s recommendations. The relevant use of data in order to best serve our clients—in accordance with local regulations, like those of the GDPR—is, in effect, one of BNP Paribas’s strategic priorities. More than ever, data is understood to be one of the company’s assets, which brings several important issues with it: collection, processing, security, etc. 

insurance is an area where it’s crucial to value empathy and human beings

For Cardif, data functions as a marketing lever, allowing expansion into new markets, increased customer satisfaction and optimized internal operations. My role will be to improve the processing of this data and to translate it into commercial strategies. 

Why did you choose to build your career in the insurance world? 

After 10 years within the Group’s finance department, I wanted to work in the field, closer to the core businesses at BNP Paribas. Establishing human connections has always been my top priority when it comes to my career, and insurance is an area where it’s crucial to value empathy and human beings. In fact, it’s thanks to the excellent relationship that I had with my recruiter that I decided to join the Group in the first place. All of the big changes in my career at BNP Paribas became a reality on the heels of memorable encounters. This is especially true of my first manager in India, to whom I owe a great deal. 

Data represents a major strategic challenge for the Group: what role does it play in the field of insurance? 

At Cardif, we aim to enhance our clients’ key data in order to provide them with the best service. For example, during the management of an accident, our client is expecting operational excellence from us, which should mean swift compensation; in this way, the data has an important role to play. Data also helps us to know our existing clients better and to improve our understanding of their expectations, always with the goal of personalizing our offers. This is, of course, accompanied by efforts to educate the distributors of our insurance products—be they bank representatives, agent networks or other intermediary actors—in order to support them in their sales and marketing processes.

You spent over five years at Cardif in India before assuming your current role in the Italian branch. What did you do in India and what inspired your career trajectory? 

In India, I first took on the position of management accountant at SBI Life Insurance, a joint venture created in 2001 between Cardif and the State Bank of India (SBI). After three years in this position, I wanted to move toward a job that dealt with sales and marketing. My manager’s advice after listening to what I was looking for allowed me to see things more clearly and to change jobs very smoothly. I became Business Transformation Manager within the bancassurance channel and was put in charge of digital projects at SBI Life Insurance. And so, my expatriation was prolonged for two and a half more years.

I chose Italy after that, for family-related reasons and also to gain more experience working in a mature market where, contrary to a developing country like India, the population was already well-equipped when it came to insurance products. This means that the commercial issues at stake are different, though data remains at the core of our strategies. 

“Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to defend your ideas and convictions, and don’t hesitate to throw yourself into new challenges. My motto is: “Those who dare, win!”

Sébastien Vannier

Chief Digital Officer - Cardif Italie 

What is the biggest challenge you’re currently facing?

The biggest challenges is making data a strong company asset that best serves our clients and helping our collaborators unite around this idea. Data should be the motor behind our innovative products, as well as the impulse that drives the evolution of our operational models.

Photos credits: header © Arcansél // ©slonme

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