South African insurer Discovery has built a growing international business on the back of its expansive ecosystem and innovative technology platform.

The development of a powerful and extensive ecosystem has enabled South African carrier Discovery to become a “Living Business” that delivers an array of hyper-relevant insurance and financial services offerings. It provides its South African customers with highly-personalized health, auto, home and life insurance as well as specifically tailored wealth-management and banking offerings.

What’s more, Discovery has used the innovative technology platform that underpins its multi-vendor ecosystem to drive its business into major markets throughout the world. Its Vitality1 platform has been adopted by around 20 other insurers including AIA, Generali, John Hancock, Manulife, Ping An and Sumitomo Life.

At the heart of Discovery’s success has been its ability to leverage its ecosystem and platform. This critical capacity, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, is one of the key attributes of Living Businesses. It enables such organizations to provide their customers with constantly relevant products and experiences that are drawn from an ever-increasing range of service providers. This drives growth in their core businesses while also opening opportunities beyond their traditional markets.

Discovery has built alliances with around 50 business partners.

Discovery recognized the “power of scale” soon after it was founded in 1992. It disrupted the South African health insurance industry by using a combination of behavioral economics and clinical science to both improve the accuracy of its underwriting and to encourage customers, through a variety of incentives, to adopt healthier lifestyles. Discovery’s behavioral approach to health insurance proved to be highly successful. Customers’ health and longevity improved significantly, as did Discovery’s claims and attrition rates.

The company built on its early success by expanding the technology platform that supported its highly personalized health insurance services to provide additional forms of cover.  Discovery deepened and extended its relations with customers by using the data they shared with the company to offer them car, home and life insurance that was tailored to their specific circumstances and needs. It recently added a full suite of digital banking services to its product portfolio.

All these offerings support Discovery’s innovative Shared Value business model that uses incentives and rewards to encourage risk-reducing behavior among its customers. As the company extended its product offering it also broadened its ecosystem by forging partnerships with a growing list of product and service providers. It currently has alliances with around 50 business partners. This expansion has enabled Discovery to increase the range of incentives and rewards it can offer its customers. It has also boosted the volume and quality of the customer data that flows between Discovery and its allies.

Nearly a third of the financial services firms we’ve identified as Living Businesses have entered into alliances with at least one partner outside their traditional activities in the past year. Such elite companies are twice as likely to enter into such alliances when compared with financial services companies that have retained traditional business models. Living Businesses are also more likely to recognize the importance of effective up-scaling when striving for greater customer relevance.

For further information about how insurers can become Living Businesses take a look at the link below. Alternatively, send me an email. I’d like to hear from you.

Living Business: Achieving sustainable growth through hyper-relevance.

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