Building the GrECo Health & Benefits Business: A Catch-up With Adam Riley

In July of this year, Adam was recruited in a newly created executive leadership role, to run, build and develop GrECo’s specialist Health & Benefits business across its 17 countries.

It is widely recognised that GrECo has seen continued success across its specialist businesses and has built its reputation across the Central, Eastern and Southern European (CESEE) region by providing market-leading risk and insurance solutions to clients. As part of its next phase of strategic growth, GrECo laid down a clear marker this year: it is going to invest in building its Health & Benefits business, which reflects the demands of clients and employers across its markets.

As a business which attracts high-calibre individuals and top talent, it is renowned for its people, reliability, stability, and independence.

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together” – an African Proverb, Adam Riley’s favourite phrase to use with his team. In July of this year, Adam was recruited in a newly created executive leadership role, to run, build and develop GrECo’s specialist Health & Benefits business across its 17 countries. Adam’s appointment has enabled GrECo to relaunch its Health & Benefits offering across the CESEE region, and of course the wider international markets. 

We caught up with him to find out about his 2030 vision for GrECo´s Health & Benefits business.

Hi Adam, how have the last four-months been for you and what have you been focusing on since starting at GrECo?
The past four months have been both refreshing and rewarding. Meeting with a huge number of people from across our business, I have witnessed first-hand the close-knit and people culture for which GrECo is known. The depth of capabilities from across the group is inspiring as is the integrity and spirit of our dedicated teams.

The most important focus for me has been to refresh, restructure, and relaunch our group-wide Health & Benefits strategy and direction for the business, giving it a fresh outlook to reflect the next phase of our strategic growth! 

So, what would you say employers are looking for when employing a risk and insurance management provider?
The market is changing, employers are demanding more sophisticated solutions and much more from their specialist advisers. 

Employers are looking to work with a specialist consultancy that understands their business, and employee requirements and, above all else, is seen as their true partner to provide sustainable long-term Health & Benefits solutions.

You’ve been working on a newly developed Health & Benefits strategy. Can you give us a snapshot of what the future holds for GrECo as a result?
At GrECo Group, we don’t just look at the “now”, we also look at how our business will evolve over the next few years. Our new Health & Benefits strategy focuses on a clearly defined roadmap outlining our “2030 vision” for the business.
You will see that we have changed our name from “employee benefits”, to Health & Benefits. This better reflects the new direction in which we are headed. Coupled with the risk management services and solutions we will be offering our clients, and the future of our business, this reflects and incorporates a fresh approach.
Put simply, we will become the leading Health & Benefits risk management adviser and employer of choice across the CESEE region, further enhancing the value proposition for clients, partners, and carriers!
Some might say that’s a bold statement but looking at results in the last few months alone, and your projects for the next 12 months, it is clear the new Health & Benefits business at GrECo, under your direction, is shaping up to do just that!  What’s GrECo’s current position in Health & Benefits, and how do you see it developing by 2030?
By revenue and premium, the GrECo Health & Benefits business is already a top-five broker in 10 of its 17 countries, with the remaining seven countries not far behind. Part of the “2030 Health & Benefits vision” is to double our revenue through both organic growth and selective M&A activity. 

Building a more robust and sustainable proposition, incorporating a mix of traditional insurance-led solutions with Wellbeing, data insights, and online and digital offerings is core to the future of the GrECo Health & Benefits business.

On the topic of M&A, what’s currently happening in the CESEE market? 
The markets in our region are changing, we are seeing more consolidation of Health & Benefits businesses than ever before. With this, opportunities for the GrECo Health & Benefits business are emerging – as a group, we are very selective on M&A activity: culture, people and synergy are core to what we look for when looking at potential acquisitions.

Adam, you’re also working on integrating the MAI CEE Health & Benefits business into the GrECo structure. How’s the acquisition been received? 

Very well! The acquisition of MAI CEE was seen by the market as hugely positive, with many synergies brought by both businesses, as well as bringing great new talent to our team. Our Health & Benefits business has expanded to over 120 specialist people. 

It also strengthened several of our countries where there were established GrECo and MAI CEE offices and furthered GrECo’s reach across the CESEE region with new operations in Albania and Georgia. Our business in Georgia officially changed its name to GrECo in early November.

The pandemic brought many issues into sharp focus for employers but one of the most prevalent was ESG – particularly the social elements; how is the Health & Benefits business incorporating ESG? 

Addressing ESG factors can help employers manage their environmental and social footprint and determine their business risks and opportunities. The “social” element links directly to Health & Benefits. When looking more widely at the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, good health & well-being is one of the 17 goals – the GrECo Health & Benefits team is already part of this conversation with clients. 

With the geopolitical and global economic backdrop currently being faced by us all, we have never experienced this level of uncertainty before! When will the next pandemic hit? The next war? Global recession? Energy crisis…? It is now about how the Health & Benefits programme can function and be sustainable for when the next challenge arrives.

The new world order is bringing many existing workplace trends to the fore, accelerating the adoption of flexible/agile working as well as raising concerns around the mental health of employees.  

Adam Riley, Cert PFS 

Group Practice Leader Health & Benefits

T +44 (0) 7507 788 144

Related Insights

Health & Benefits Insurance: Matching Employer Brands & Employee Needs

Employees looking at Health and Benefits Insurance

Our Health & Benefits team analyses and determines actual client needs and develops individual or collective employee benefits plans based on corporate goals.

Protecting the health and safety of employees has never been more important for employers than right now. Employees are now looking for working environments that best meet their individual needs, provide well-being and health benefits as well as opportunities for career development. Employers are thus challenged to adopt new ways of cooperation and establish a collaboration culture with new values. Asserting one’s employer brand position and remaining attractive for both existing employees and new talents has never been more difficult.

Across the globe, HR managers are familiar with the “war for talents” – the battle for skilled workers. Hence, it is
not uncommon for highly qualified professionals to have the upper hand in negotiations. Committed employees
expect more than just an adequate remuneration for their work performance. Looking beyond tomorrow,
they expect additional packages, such as a contribution to their personal future provision or even a pension plan.

We like to act in the spirit of a large Opbacher family and offer our employees special solutions in the area of employee benefits. The GrECo team has the necessary expertise to coordinate the content of these solutions with our tax advisor and the perseverance for the right timing.

Mag. Viktoria Neuner-Opbacher
Managing Director at Opbacher Installationen

Providing tailored Health & Benefits insurance solutions

We put our effort into satisfying the individual needs of our clients by making sure they receive:

  • Tailored health and benefits concepts which we compare to relevant labour and tax law options.
  • Planning and support for in-house implementation and optimisation of existing systems.
  • Support in the selection of partners through tender negotiations and comparisons, evaluations, etc., as well as support for tenders under public procurement law.
  • Complete project management expertise to implement employee benefits schemes.

“The specialists from GrECo regularly benchmark our existing Health & Benefits programmes with others available in the market. We receive reliable market research, loss ratio reports
and information on brand new products e.g. Covid-19 or cancer insurance. Moreover, GrECo Poland also provides support for our employees –they are always available per e-mail and telephone for them!

Marta Pogorzelska
HR Manager at Boehringer Ingelheim Poland

Creating added value

We help clients tackle the challenges they face as employers:

  • Premium and cost containment: Our multilevel approach to obtain best pricing conditions as well as regular and transparent loss ratio control results boosts efficiency in risk placement conditions.
  • Individual approach and service quality: Ensuring the highest quality standard and an individual approach at all stages is our topmost priority.
  • GrECo competitive environment: We aim for an optimal cost benefit, coupled with the widest possible coverage.
  • Highly professional team: Every member of our Health & Benefits team is a highly qualified specialist who looks back on five and more years of experience in insurance and employee benefits.

We had an extensive decision-making process about the change of our severance payment fund together with our works council and the investment department. The specialists from GrECo accompanied this decision with their in-depth knowledge and experience based on their annual market study, which gives a long-term overview of the development of the severance payment funds.

Gerhard Humpeler
CFO at Julius Blum GmbH

This article is part of our new Annual report 2021. The annual report gives you a review on GrECo`s facts & figures of the last business year and our most important developments. In addition you can find testimonials on the services the GrECo Group provides to its clients. The case studies are from different industries and GrECo regions.

Related Insights