Other parts of this series:
The insurance industry has avoided the wide-scale digital disruption seen in some other industries. But, as demonstrated by the growing amount of investments insurtech firms are attracting, new ideas and new competitors are entering the market. As we saw last week, this creates an opportunity and an imperative for insurers.
One important area for innovation in this changing environment is consumer touchpoints, which cover every interaction of a customer with a brand. Refining existing touchpoints to make them more efficient or enjoyable is one popular strategy. The compliment to this strategy is to create new touchpoints to serve or delight customers.
As with touchpoint refinement, proactive insurers are already making progress on this front. These six examples demonstrate how established insurers are forming powerful alliances (sometimes with unlikely partners) while startups bring brand new ideas to the industry.
Allianz teams up with Simplesurance
The Berlin-based insurtech Simplesurance makes software that lets online retailers offer product insurance at the time of checkout. With integration across most major e-commerce platforms, Simplesurance can insure consumer goods from glasses to computers to cameras to lawnmowers. In June, the German insurer Allianz announced that it had entered a partnership with Simplesurance to distribute Allianz insurance. Allianz also took a minority equity stake in the company.
The deal “supports our ambition to meet customers’ needs anywhere and at any time,” said Solmaz Altin, the Allianz Group’s chief digital officer.
Baloise acquires digital moving services firm
In late 2016, the Swiss insurer Baloise told investors about its plans to pursue partnerships with the potential to boost its visibility and attractiveness to customers. Six months later, it bought MOVU, a digital home-moving services platform. MOVU sources quotes from moving and cleaning companies. Customers moving to new living arrangements can book the company of their choice and receive free advice from MOVU’s independent moving experts. Baloise intends to have MOVU operate independently and maintain a distinct brand.
Farmers Insurance white labels roadside assistance platform
Los Angeles-based Farmers Insurance Group this summer entered into a partnership with HONK, a platform that connects drivers with roadside assistance providers. No membership or subscription is required to access the platform. The partnership, rumored to be worth $150 million to HONK, allows Farmers to white label HONK’s technology for Farmers auto insurance customers.
HONK CEO Corey Brundage told the Tech Crunch blog that customer touchpoints drove the partnership. “We will ‘talk’ to their customers more frequently than they do,” he said.
Zurich acquisition of Covermore
In April, Zurich Insurance Group closed its acquisition of Cover-More, the biggest travel insurance provider in Australia. The $500 million deal marks a major milestone for Zurich’s travel business, which now globally ranks among the top three.
Though headquartered in Sydney, Cover-More has significant market share in the U.S. and India. It also operates in China, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Its customer base and marketing apparatus will significantly grow the number of customer touchpoints at Zurich’s disposal worldwide.
AXA’s partners with BlaBlacar
French insurer AXA is now two years into its innovative partnership with BlaBlaCar, a long-distance ridesharing platform with more than 40 million members. Under the partnership, BlaBlaCar drivers enjoy breakdown coverage, while passengers are guaranteed paid-for alternative transport options to get them to their destination safely if a vehicle is stolen or breaks down. Both drivers and passengers receive these services for no additional charge. AXA’s involvement is part of its larger ambition to become a leading insurer of the sharing economy.
Figo Pet Insurance focuses of “Pet Cloud”
Figo Pet Insurance is a startup founded in 2012 in Chicago. Despite its name, the firm does much more than insure animals. Through its “Pet Cloud” technology, Figo provides flexible risk-management assistance for customer to help them keep their pets healthy—and make hassle-free claims when needed. Some of Figo’s services, like a location finder to help owners locate pet-friendly businesses, stray outside of the traditional domain of insurers to create new opportunities to engage with customers.
As the insurance industry continues to reinvent itself, future touchpoint refinements and innovations are all but inevitable.
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