How do leaders and their people respond with agility when priorities change frequently? How do you foster authentic human connections remotely? How do you build work with good mental, physical and relational health when the future of work looks increasingly hybrid and digital?

These were the questions that insurers had to ask themselves in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. As workforces were sent home across the world, insurers had to innovate fast. As the submissions for the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance show, leading insurers used digital to connect, collaborate, and transform in new and exciting ways.

Nine standout nominees

The nine nominees for the workforce transformation all used digital in ground-breaking ways – either to streamline productivity and data, or to foster a cohesive corporate culture. These were:

  • AXA – BlockCo – Blockchain for inter-company financial reconciliation
  • Allianz Turkey – Business Agility Transformation
  • ASR Netherlands – Employee Mood Monitor | eMood® | proven contribution to more happiness at work, lower absenteeism, higher productivity and customer satisfaction
  • Liberty Seguros Brasil – Gamificação para Força de Vendas (Gamification for the Sales Team)
  • Bradesco Seguros – Innovation Week Project 2020
  • IndiaFirst Life Insurance – Leveraging technology for workforce transformation to quickly adapt during the pandemic times
  • Zurich Insurance Group Brazil – The Zuricher Song, an innovation analyst shared a company song that brought employees together from all corners of the globe
  • VidaCaixa, Spain – Vidatathon shifted culture to embrace the power of data
  • Generali – We SHARE App

These nominees all stood apart with their technological savvy and employee focus and were all worthy of acclaim. Ultimately, Assicurazioni Generali (Italy) won the Workforce Transformation 2021 award for the We SHARE App, with AXA earning silver for their innovation and Vida Caixa securing a bronze. Let’s look closer at the winners, and what their innovations say about the insurance workforce in 2021.

Gold: Generali for “We SHARE App”

The We SHARE App was a central outcome of Generali’s 2021 People Strategy, which celebrates people ownership and participation in sustainable value creation, while fostering the Group’s innovation and digital transformation ambitions.

Giovanni Lanati, Head of Group Reward & Institutional HR Governance explains:

“The We SHARE App is the first app created by Generali at the overall Group level to reach employees worldwide. Its purpose is to enhance the digital employee experience through a user-friendly interface and an ‘all-in’ inclusive source of information with dedicated content. This makes it easy to keep our people up to date about what’s going on in the Group, our business strategy and on our Employee Share Ownership Plan, We SHARE.”

With more than 21,000 employees and a participation rate of 35.3%, the We SHARE plan was a resounding success. And the dedicated App is currently the most downloaded employee app in the Group.

The We SHARE App is developed with an adaptive and agile approach, maximising the strong collaboration of HR, Communications, IT and other internal functions and providers. The team worked to launch the App in July 2020 in order to provide an effective and secure channel for connecting Generali colleagues across 35 countries, bringing them together and fostering the value of alignment and engagement that is even more important in this context.

The App is a true information hub and go-to destination for updates about the Group strategy, share price performance and the outcome of the We SHARE donations to the Group’s Foundation ‘The Human Safety Net’ (THSN). It also gives “The Owners’ Club” Members access to a world of valuable information from the Generali world. Special features include a Financial Education Program, previews on Group news and additional advantages dedicated to participants that will be rolled out throughout the plan’s duration.

Lanati adds, “There are many contents & features that we are proud of and draw the attention of We SHARE participants. If I have to choose I would mention two:

  • The first one is the We SHARE calculator, which gives participants an up-to-date picture of how the plan is going and of their potential gain.
  • The second one is about the Financial Education program we have launched starting from 2020. It is a tailored and easy explanation of how the financial world relates to our Group, the We SHARE Plan and our daily life. The main feature of the initiative is the “Word of the Week” (‘WoW’): a regular column developed in collaboration with the Research and Investment team of Generali Group Asset & Wealth Management.”

The Financial Education program in the We SHARE App has resonated across the Group and sponsored Generali’s inaugural participation in Italian Financial Education Month. This involved one dedicated week of webinars held by expert colleagues from Alleanza Assicurazioni and Generali Investment about insurance, pension funds and finance, with focus on the effects of the current global crisis on financial savings.

To date, more than 5,000 participants and counting are active on the platform; and more than 300 items of app-specific content have been published on various topics. The We SHARE App is a powerful illustration on how to keep employees both up-to-date and educated on core topics and news items in an insurance company. For more on the initiative, watch the showcase video here.

Silver: AXA Partners for BlockCo : Blockchain for inter-company financial reconciliation

AXA Partners used blockchain to not only drive efficiency, but increase employee satisfaction and engagement. Every medium and large company employee experiences repetitive tasks as they go about their daily work, such as copy and pasting, manual checking, and juggling phone calls, messaging and emails. For finance teams, the inter-company reconciliation or ‘InterCo’, is a key financial process, and involves many different stakeholders for the approval, registration and reconciliation of invoices.

Inji Charkani, Chief Innovation Officer says, “The combination of Blockchain and RPA was the most efficient to answer our pain points and objectives. For RPA to generate invoices and connect with our internal systems, and Blockchain solution (provided by Stratumn) to provide an end-to-end workflow, with timestamping, trackability and encryption. Financial processes involving multiple stakeholders, data structuration, and need for timestamping, immutability and trackability are considered to be integrated to this platform powered by Blockchain.”

AXA Partners recognised this potential pain point for employees and decided to respond by changing the way they reconciled InterCos to alleviate their daily work routine. With the help of blockchain, they have created: BlockCo: Blockchain for Inter-company Financial reconciliation processes. The initiative is an example of how the right technology, used in the right place, can dramatically alter the efficiency and satisfaction of daily tasks. For more information, view the project video here.

Bronze: Vidatathon for Vida Caixa

As insurers move into a new, tech-driven work era, they have to ensure that their people are adequately skilled. Vida Caixa has made this upskilling process inclusive and engaging with Vidatathon, an engaged, gamified and competitive learning path to creating a data-driven culture. Fran Morente, Innovation Program Manager at VidaCaixa says, “Through rapid digitization, data crosses all market segments and connects companies that have never been in contact before. Any innovative company can disrupt your market segment and make you irrelevant. In parallel, customers are aware of this great change and have become much more demanding: hyper-customization, real-time, ‘wow’ effect.

For VidaCaixa, data is fuel to expand our people’s know-how and is an opportunity to redefine the meaning of life insurance. It is the moment to transform data into high-value impact. Only by empowering our people through data, we can shape the new and next in life insurance.”

With Vidatathon each employee of VidaCaixa discovers the hidden value of data, upskilling the level of each person to become a true data-driven company, ready to reshape the future.

Vidatathon applied gamification to intensify practical thinking through leadership, collaboration and competition. This has led to over 100 people participating in the first edition. People are divided into cross-cutting teams of varied expertise, collaborating with their mixed skillsets to solve various quizzes. Each team is accompanied by a ‘Data Lover’, or Great Data Expert, who accompanies and guides them in every step of this ambitious competition.

Cristina Bellido, Head of Data Analytics at VidaCaixa says, “The main asset of an organization is its people and its talent. Likewise, insurers, by their very nature of business, have a lot of disaggregated or dead data that can become a transformational source. For insurers who want to do the same, our top tips are:

  • Clean your data sets of toxic data,
  • Acquire a proven analytical technology, and
  • Above all, put the data in the hands of your people. Each one, depending on their capabilities, will be able to squeeze that data to find new patterns”.

Technology and human ingenuity

As the nominees and winners show, the insurance industry is moving from a time of rapid response to disruption, to actively building the foundations for a reimagined workforce. We look forward to seeing how these initiatives, and others in the industry, continue to evolve. We would love to hear how you are transforming the workforce in your insurance company.

You can now submit your workforce innovation to the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards for 2022.

View the full Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance winners announcement here.

Get inspired. View the 2021 insurance innovation library here.


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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors.
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