Digital Croatia: Pension Insurance Institute Embarks on Digitisation

Lauren Simmonds

A more digital Croatia is on the horizon and a farewell to taking entire days off work to wait in pointless queues only to be told incorrect information by a poorly trained clerk could be closer than ever. The Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) is another Croatian institution set to place a great big ”E” in front of its services, and it can’t happen soon enough.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes on the 7th of March, 2020, the tender for the first two phases of the digitisation of HZMO is now over, and the tender(s) for the following two phases is expected in the last quarter of this year.

The project, named the Modernisation of ICT Support of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) – or eHZMO, according to director Ivan Serdar, is one of the largest in the entire history of the institution, which truly isn’t difficult to believe.

The Institute uses all available tools and channels in its communication, but it still uses traditional methods far more often than it uses modern ones.

”The Institute’s large daily data processing system, which continuously caters to more than 1.5 million insured persons, more than 1.2 million pension beneficiaries and more than 150 thousand child allowance users (for more than 300 thousand children), requires modern information and communication technologies. That’s why we launched the project and the EU recognised it by awarding more than 144 million kuna in grants for it,” says Serdar.

The restructuring of HZMO’s administration is a necessary step in the points of order launched by this project, especially since some processes date from the early 1980’s and rely heavily on the concept of paper documents circulation, which is incredibly embarrassing when application solutions should absolutely cover the paper process exclusively in this day and age.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for the majority of institutions operating within the Republic of Croatia and that is why a digital Croatia that can drag the country into the 21st century is desperately needed. The country holding the rotating EU Presidency asking people for stamps and to take numbers and wait in line? It’s more than just a little bit shameful.

As previously stated, the tenders for the first two phases of the project have now been completed and the evaluation of the submitted bids is currently in progress, but for the second two phases – which regards the implementation of the new IT system to cope with basic and support processes, the announcement is expected in the last quarter of 2020 and 145.3 million kuna has been secured for it.

Strengthening efficiency

The project, which is to be officially announced next week, claims to have a significant impact on the efficiency of internal IT processes, which will consequently significantly increase the quality of service to all users. “In layman’s terms, it will reduce paperwork and red tape for users in exercising their rights through new and improved e-services.

It will then fully digitise the processes and all of the documentation, and by digitising, HZMO will transform existing processes and rearrange them so that the same or better results are achieved in a much more efficient way.

While it’s rather embarrassing that so many processes and procedures in Croatia aren’t digitised, it’s great to see that a digital Croatia now appears to be closer to reality than it ever has been before.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for more on digital Croatia.


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