As the pension provider for today, tomorrow, and beyond, we provide pensions and invest the pension premiums paid in by millions of Dutch people as efficiently and sustainably as possible. We also help pension funds with advice on all those pensions, on how to run a balanced pension administration, and on how to design pension communications that get across.
A dedicated customer team for each pension fund
APG currently handles the pension administration for eight pension funds in the public and the private sector. We administer pension entitlements and make sure pension payments are collected on time and pension payments are made on time. And we do so while honoring each and every one of these pension funds’ unique character, including in communications with employers, members, and beneficiaries.
Even though we are a large player in our market, we go to great effort to be the most customer-driven company in our industry. Each pension fund gets its own dedicated customer team of actuaries, legal experts, and account managers with vast knowledge of “their” fund’s sector or industry. Our multidisciplinary customer teams are familiar with all aspects, ranging from administration to communication, while being a one-stop shop for each pension fund in our customer base. It couldn't be more convenient and efficient.
Broad and integrated tailored advice
Given that all areas of expertise are represented on a customer team, the specialists on such a team are able to help a pension fund with integrated advice whenever necessary. From actuarial issues to advice on legal developments.
We also help fund managers with advice on their pension communications to employers, members, and beneficiaries, ensuring that their communications are clear and comply with increasingly strict regulatory requirements. We can, for example, provide support in defining the right communication strategy, handling reputation management, and choosing (and using) communication channels and resources.
Lower costs per member/beneficiary
Despite our large scale, we at APG tirelessly pursue cost savings by, for example, (further) automating and streamlining processes. Improved data analysis empowers us to analyze our pension administrations quickly and thoroughly. This enables us to keep pushing down the price per member/beneficiary. Despite rising staff and licensing costs, the average costs per member/beneficiary dropped by a total of 12% over the past four years. And this ultimately means higher pensions for members and beneficiaries.
Information on the new pension system
The new pension system for the Netherlands has been a topic of discussion for many years now. There is still a great lack of clarity as to what the new pension system will look like. More and more pension fund members are starting to realize that they only know for certain how much they are paying in premiums, while they have little idea as to how much they will receive in pension income when they retire. And many beneficiaries drawing a pension today wonder whether their pensions may be reduced tomorrow. Will pensions continue to be linked to wages and inflation for years to come? And what happens to my pension when stock markets go down? These are all complex issues. We at APG consider it our duty to keep employers and “our” funds’ members and beneficiaries informed of these matters in a way that is effective and clear. And to explain the specific potential or actual impact on them.
Quick answers to all questions
One channel we use to keep employers, members, and beneficiaries posted and to provide explanations of the latest pension system developments is our Customer Contact Center. Our Customer Contact Center agents answer questions from employers, members, and beneficiaries by phone, email, chat, or on social media. And they do so meticulously and quickly. In the unlikely event that they do not have an answer for you, they will immediately consult with an APG specialist. Employers, members, and beneficiaries will never have to wait long for a good answer. Adequate information is more important now than ever before, given the pressure on pensions. In today’s pension climate, both employers and pension fund members and beneficiaries are increasingly wondering what specific impact the new pension system will have on them.
To answer the questions we receive, we also use Artificial Intelligence (AI). Our AI-based Next Best Question system, for example, uses data analysis to predict why a member or beneficiary has contacted us by phone, chat, or email, enabling our agents to help them quicker and better, as they can get to the point and proactively ask and answer questions. As a result, any member or beneficiary contacting us will get a more comprehensive answer and will be less likely to need to call us back with a follow-up question. And for our agents it is extremely convenient to have all the relevant information ready to hand as early as possible. Our rising customer satisfaction ratings are proof that it works. This use of AI brings cost savings, meaning that we have more money left over to put into pension accrual for members.
Our Customer Contact Center clearly meets a need: in 2019, we had a total of over 600,000 interactions with members and beneficiaries.
Customer satisfaction is also boosted by the fact that we have eliminated boundaries between different departments at APG, so that it becomes impossible for members and beneficiaries to be sent from pillar to post. With the boundaries between departments erased, team members work together more and better.
Focus on life events with pension implications
In our provision of information to members and beneficiaries, we go by so-called “Customer Journeys.” One key life event in such a journey is “Retiring”. So, we have all disciplines relating to the life event of “Retiring” work together on one team, enabling them to help members faster whenever questions arise.
A person’s life is made up of many significant events, such as getting married, getting divorced, having children, changing jobs, etc. What we do is assess in depth for each of these life events how they affect people’s income. We adopt members’ or beneficiaries’ perspective and explain how certain changes impact on their pension income. This is yet another way in which we try to live up to our motto of “Putting customers first” every day.
Getting a better grip on income
When it comes to providing information to employers, members, and beneficiaries, we team up with the pension funds as much as possible. Together with one of the funds we work for, the ABP public sector pension fund, we have developed the “Personal Pension Pot” concept, which gives ABP pension fund members and beneficiaries instant insight into their pension benefits. This kind of transparency has turned out to get people to take a more active approach to their pension, and to get a better grip on their financial future. On top of that, the Personal Pension Pot eliminates many pension misconceptions, such as “there won’t be any pension capital left over for me when I retire.” Or “I pay more in premiums now than I will get in pension payments in retirement.” Learning that this latter misconception is actually the other way around has set many minds at ease.
Together with the pension fund for the housing corporation sector, SPW, we developed a similar solution. The “Clear Overview & Insight” service gives SPW participants insight into their financial future. Besides the pension they can expect to receive in retirement, they also get an at-a-glance overall view of their other, future income and expenditure. And those of a possible partner are added to that later. We have seen that members and beneficiaries are very pleased with this overall view of their financial situation. If they are unhappy about the level of their future income, the Clear Overview & Insight service suggests possible ways to do something about that, such as saving and investing. Members and beneficiaries have welcomed these new services.