Digital innovation is providing life & health (L&H) insurers with exciting opportunities to enter new markets and deliver an assortment of lucrative products and services.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, our Quarterly L&H Digital Innovation Tracker identified several L&H that are bolstering their innovation capabilities by creating in-house technology hubs.

Some big L&H insurers are also looking outside their organizations to increase the pace and scope of their innovation programs. They’re creating technology centers where developers and start-ups can work on new digital insurance products and services. This is encouraging the development of innovative solutions for the insurance industry. It’s also giving insurers insights into new ideas and technologies as well providing them with opportunities to forge ties with promising start-ups.

UK carrier Aviva, for example, has set up “digital garages” in London and Singapore. The two centers give developers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to test their work in a commercial environment. The company also sponsors start-up weekends and “hackathons” that promote insurance technology development.

AXA has invested €100 million (US$110 million) in an insurance technology incubator in Paris. The Kamet facility will support innovation projects proposed by external developers as well as the company’s own staff.  The launch of the new incubator is part of AXA’s comprehensive innovation strategy. It will work closely with the AXA Lab, which tracks emerging trends, as well as the AXA Factory accelerator, AXA Strategic Ventures investment fund and the AXA Partners business partnership facilitator.

Both Aviva and AXA, along with major insurers such as Allianz, American Family, MassMutual and Ping An, have allocated substantial funds to invest in promising start-ups building insurance solutions.  The size of such funds, which total more than US$1 billion worldwide, shows how highly these carriers value innovation.

Aegon in the Netherlands recently joined the league of big insurance investors by announcing a €100 million venture fund. Aegon’s Transamerica Ventures is looking to invest in start-ups specializing in data analytics, digital financial services and cyber-crime security. It has already acquired stakes in six companies around the world.

Aside from venture funding, many insurers are heightening their capacity for innovation by forging strategic partnerships. Generali, for example, has teamed up with US firm Obi Worldphones to promote its services across mobile platforms in as many as 20 high-growth international markets.

As the need for digital innovation increases we can expect many more L&H insurers to reach out to external partners.  Collaboration centers, venture funding and strategic alliances will become important vehicles for carriers eager to use digital technology to tap new markets and provide additional products and services.

For further information on technology innovation, have a look at this link. I think you’ll find it worthwhile.

Driving Business Innovation Through Technology Innovation

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