Last week we talked about how a recent Accenture analysis of Swiss insurers showed most are lagging in the race to digitization. However, there are a few clear exceptions, led by AXA, as you can see from the chart below.

Doing digital right: AXA Winterthur - Financial Performance and Digitalization Insurance Switzerland

Notice how the eight insurers align on the grid. As Digital Champions, AXA, Mobiliar and Allianz were above average in both financial performance and digital transformation. Zurich Switzerland, as a Digital Challenger, is on track to becoming a Champion as its digital transformation has progressed at an above-average pace. As Digitalization Developers, Swiss Life and Generali lagged on both profitability and digital transformation, but stand to benefit by adopting new customer-friendly services. Finally, the Traditional Champions, Baloise and Helvetia, are financially outperforming the Developers, but are apparently lagging on digital transformation, which could make it difficult to sustain market success in the future.

The truly standout performer among these competitors is AXA Winterthur, in all four areas of the digital index: strategy, sales, service and enablement.

Strategy: Most insurers are only partially aware and intent regarding digitization, and Swiss insurers across the board do not reveal the specific objectives of their digitization. In contrast, AXA Winterthur clearly communicates its strategy. AXA’s top management highlights digital trends among its key impact factors, and published a Digital Business Vision in 2011, although it was not specific on objectives or targets.

Obviously, this index is relying on an outside-in view based on data available publicly. However, it is possible that facts are not published and available for public knowledge, particularly in the case of strategy. Rankings could be different from an inside-out perspective. Putting this aside ,however, the same argument is true for the digitally advanced companies which from an inside-out perspective could be even more advanced.

Sales: Although the Swiss insurers across the board offer online contact/feedback forms, agent finders, premium calculators and policy submission—and maintain a broad social media presence—only a few like Allianz and AXA offer more advanced products, such as AXA’s Crash and Drive recorder or fleet telematics solutions.

Service: Almost all of the Swiss insurers run portals for private and/or commercial customers, although they vary in scope and functionality. Apps are also widely used as information, interaction and service tools, primarily for use in private cars. Less common are online claims reporting for customers (offered by Zurich) or claims reporting through apps for both private and commercial customers (from AXA Winterthur).

Enablement: Among the Swiss insurers, digital enablement seems to be in its infancy. Most insurers are not revealing details on their internal or partnership/alliance approaches. However, AXA uses a dedicated “Digital Business Lead” tool to provide insight into the digital organization, and Mobiliar runs the Mobiliar Lab for analytics and big data in cooperation with the Technical University of Zurich (ETH).

As the first of its kind, the Digital Index study of Swiss insurers is interesting as a blueprint for the future. It will be intriguing to see how these carriers align over the next few years, as digital increasingly becomes a fact of life for these companies.

To view the Swiss Digital Index, go to:

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