“Make ecology a major axis, and not just an axis”, Élise Bert-Leduc (Direct Assurance)

What would be the two major axes of your program?

First the ecological transition because it is the challenge of our time. The issues of global warming, biodiversity, conservation of our environment and therefore also of resources, are priority areas on which we no longer have time to reflect. For me, the ecological transition is an absolute necessity. However, all the political programs talk about it. But the question is how do we make it a major axis, and not just an axis.

My other priority would be education because it is the surest way to build the future today. For me, it is all the more fundamental as the uncertainties increase, and the environmental issue weighs heavily in the balance. However, to have a resilient world and counter this, education is essential. And I will even go further. I think that strengthening education and qualification is a subject to be dealt with at European level.

Finally, even if you asked me for two major areas, I would mention a third: purchasing power. We are in a world where the economic question is fundamental. However, to act on the ecological transition, we must link it to the economic subject. So in this case to the priority expectation of the French, that is to say their purchasing power. Why, for example, not set up incentive systems for the French to act on the environment.

What would be your project to strengthen the societal role of French companies?

I would already like that we no longer oppose business and societal role. Because by definition a company has this role, if only because it creates jobs. My project would therefore be to create a dynamic of promotion and to favor companies that take action. Because incitement is usually a powerful engine. For example, if we come back to the ecological transition, it would be a question of promoting companies that develop action policies on the subject and that encourage their employees to act too. I strongly believe in collective and individual commitment. And I would therefore seek to arouse and strengthen this commitment by favoring the companies which themselves develop it.

My second project would be to act for employee equality. Many things are done for the revaluation of salaries, for personal and professional balance. It would therefore be a question of also valuing the companies which set up logics based on diversity and co-education. Finally, my 3rd line of work would be to involve companies more in education. I do think that they could have a more active role in supporting universities, colleges, etc. And this role, they could play it on two levels.

First in research because I strongly believe in the interest of building bridges between the Grandes Ecoles and the research centers of companies. And this in order to catch up with the delay taken by Europe compared to the other continents. Then, in the transition from student life to professional life. It is true that we have made a lot of progress, for example on work-study. But other bridges can be created between the entire higher education ecosystem, including technical courses, and businesses. This encourages them to integrate young people who have just graduated.

Why should we vote for you?

Because “Élise at the Élysée” is a unique slogan! More seriously, I strongly believe in the diversity of profiles and universes. And I find it interesting that in the political universe there is a diversity of profiles. Including from the business world.

Which public figure would you choose to be your Prime Minister?

For me the ideal personality would be a mix of several. A touch of Christine Lagarde for her global vision and sharp point of view on the economy. A hint of Mario Draghi for his European vision and his very fine knowledge of the different institutions. A little touch of Greta Thunberg for courage, audacity, and commitment. A bit of Thomas Pesquet for his global and just look on the planet. Finally, I would add the clairvoyance, honesty and intellectual courage of a Kate Dibiasky – role played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film “Don’t look up”. For me, a Prime Minister must combine experience, natural leadership, of course, with an infinitely visionary and committed side on the subject of ecological transition.

What are the CSR / ESG commitments made by your current management?

The first strong commitment is the reorientation of insurers’ investments towards greener subjects. This is a priority supported by AXA. Then, concerning the commitments specific to Direct Assurance, we are obviously working to reduce our carbon footprint. Both in terms of employees and our buildings. We also integrate the climate dimension and the environment into our insurance products. For example, we strongly encourage re-use parts, which are reconditioned parts from the circular economy. And my immense pride is to have a real impact on the subject. In fact, 13% of the claims we handle use at least one reused part. So it’s very concrete.

We also do our best to reconcile commitment and purchasing power. We are launching a pilot offer of one month free subscription for customers who agree to use at least one reused part in their claim. In addition, we are also thinking about all risk prevention topics in order to intervene further upstream of the SMS alerts that we know how to do in the event of natural disasters.

Finally, we make HR commitments in favor of equal pay, diversity, inclusion, but also solidarity, via “AXA Atout Cœur”. An association that helps employees to engage in solidarity and with which we also work a lot at Direct Assurance.

What would be the main missions of your successor within your company to accelerate these commitments?

It should continue to act on the purchasing power of our customers. The quality/price ratio is in the DNA of Direct Assurance. It must therefore be maintained and combined with contextual commitments such as ecological transition. What we are doing with the reused part is part of this approach. We allow our customers to gain purchasing power by recovering part of their contribution. And at the same time we are working in a tangible way for the ecological transition by promoting the circular economy.

How should your job evolve to be more responsible?

I think that to be even more responsible, you have to use digital, which is a tremendous lever for acceleration. Today, it allows us, on claims, to simplify the process for the customer and for all the stakeholders. And typically with the reuse part, there’s still a lot of work to be done around parts availability, supply chain, and so on. However, I think that digital can precisely help a lot so that the experts, the garages, have a clear vision of all these points and that this accelerates their use of the reused part. We also need to work more on the understanding and transparency of products, as well as on the education of insurers. Again, digital is a great tool. For example, customers encounter some form of complexity and have questions about reimbursement levels. We have therefore developed a small simulator that allows them to understand what is in their insurance depending on the range of products they will choose from us. This helps to give them clarity, and to decipher the offers.

What would you ask of outgoing President Emmanuel Macron before he leaves the Élysée?

Kylian Mbappé’s number, because my children are fans of him and I think Emmanuel Macron knows him well!

What would be your first commitment as a responsible President made at the Élysée?

I sincerely think that we see quite clearly there on the subjects of the ecological transition. From now on, the whole question is to act. So my first commitment would be to take action! My second commitment would be to start a strong project on education.

What personal item would you bring back with you to the Élysée?

I will bring back a collection of paper books. Because we are in an ultra-connected world with an accelerating relationship to time, I believe that we also need to have moments of pause, of distance. And for that, reading is great. And despite everything, we remain very connected, because the books say a lot about our society.


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