Crésus & Wakam, insurance for a common good
This month, we sat down with Jean-Louis Kiehl—President of Crésus Associations—to talk about the partnership between Crésus and Wakam.
9 September 2020
He told us about the company’s journey, from its beginnings over 30 years ago in Alsace, to grow to more than 200 offices across France.
What is Crésus?
Crésus (ex-SOS Surendettement) is a network of federated not-for-profit associations with a vocation to aid and accompany people in economically fragile situations. Founded in Alsace in 1992, today, the association is present in 12 regions across France, counting 200 offices and over 540 volunteers (former brokers, insurers or bankers…).
In 2008, the company also created its own platform for mutual aid and mediation to help further its support mission.
One of Crésus’s major goals is also to help prevent social, economic and financial exclusion through coaching and training. The association and its volunteers educate on three main subjects: reducing and preventing over-indebtedness, and micro-credit. Crésus makes a point of accompanying those who don’t have access to traditional bank loans.
Crésus key figures
first office opens in Alsace
creation of Crésus Foundation
Crésus is constantly looking for new ways to combat financial exclusion and protect the most vulnerable—especially in hard times. The association has already set up several initiatives to fight against over-indebtedness (such as coaching, training etc.) but wanted to go one step further by developing an insurance product based on the needs of its clients. They were looking for an insurer that shared its values and had a similar desire for positive societal change. Wakam was the perfect fit for us. We wanted to co-create a special benefits insurance, a “helping hand” for when it’s needed most.
Insurance for those that need it most
At Wakam, we believe that insurers have a fundamental role to play in environmental and social progress.
For the last few months, we have been working with other bodies to evolve into a social impact company (as defined by the French Pacte law). By integrating solid and measurable engagements into our charter and establishing an external committee, we hope to obtain this status at the beginning of 2021.
In order to make this mission possible, in recent months, our teams have been working on special benefits offer to help those in economic fragility. But we needed to test and adjust the product according to the feedback of potential users. This is where Crésus stepped in to help—testing with their teams and potential stakeholders meant that we could collectively build one great offer.
It was also important for us to subsidize this unique social offer by making it zero margins (overheads and capital cost only). We were very lucky to have been approached by Wakam.
A successful co-creation
Thanks to the great work of Crésus and Wakam teams, the “helping hand” offer was created in just a few weeks. A package of 10 guarantees across 3 domains (mobility, work and service), this offer is extended to companies that want to protect their most fragile employees and is also distributed by the Crésus network directly to beneficiaries in economic fragility.
In addition to helping us in the creation, Crésus is also able to present the offer’s guarantees to potential beneficiaries. One of the product’s key strengths, we created ultra-simplified contracts to enable the association’s 540 volunteers to continue their amazing work. There are still some adjustments to be made on the offer.
There are adjustments to be made but it is a major innovation. As pioneers, you are going to be the driving force behind the change in mentality.
The next steps
Our partnership’s next task will be to fully assess the offer—a vital step in creating new and exciting initiatives in the future.
A company with a true vocation, Crésus is here to create complementary offers, not for “the masses, but for those who need it most.”
Any last words?
We’ll hand over to Jean-Louis for the final word: “The most beautiful company in the world is ‘life.’ And that’s not a conclusion I’m giving you, but an opening.”
Brand Content & Social Media Lead