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Discovery named Global Innovator of 2020 as carriers across the world quickly adapt to huge changes sweeping the insurance industry.

Insurance pioneer Discovery has won the top accolade at this year’s Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards. The carrier was named Global Innovator of the Year. This is a great achievement for the South African company, which has a long track record of innovation and creativity in insurance. Its flagship Vitality shared-value platform, started in 1997, now serves more than 10 million people in 23 markets throughout the world. PrudentialJohn HancockManulifeGeneraliMitsui Sumitomo and Ping An are among the many big insurers offering the Vitality service to their customers. 

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The winners of the 2020 Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards were announced at a virtual ceremony attended by members of the insurance industry across the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced insurers in almost every country to increase their innovation and rise to new challenges. It was wonderful to see how insurers are responding to these testing times. They’re finding new ways to better serve their customers, support their employees and foster the communities in which they do business. 

My colleague Daniele Presutti hit the mark when he remarked at the awards ceremony that now, more than ever, we need to celebrate the innovations that enable the insurance industry to overcome disruption. With close to 360 entries from 240 companies in 45 countries, it’s clear that in even in these uncertain times insurers are investing in innovation and striving to become more resilient and more competitive. 

Discovery has developed an array of impressive innovations

Discovery clinched this year’s Global Innovator of the Year title for an array of impressive products and services launched in the past 12 months. They include:  

  • Vitality Active Rewards 2020: A personalized digital service, which uses the Vitality platform’s analysis of behavioral and clinical data as well as its multi-partner ecosystem, to encourage customers to live healthier lifestyles. 
  • Auto Underwriting: An automated underwriting system that draws on Discovery’s extensive repository of clinical data and wellness information to process policy applications quickly and accurately. It accelerates the issuing of policies and substantially reduces the number of abandoned applications. 
  • Discovery Life Premium Relief Option: A thoughtful response to the COVID-19 pandemic that allows customers to use some of the PayBack credits they’ve earned by meeting lifestyle incentives to offset their insurance premiums. This initiative enables customers who are experiencing economic hardship because of the pandemic to maintain their full life insurance cover without paying premiums for three months. 
  • AI Quote: An intelligent analysis system with an optical-character-recognition front-end that enables brokers to upload customer quotes and quickly receive comparable offerings from Discovery Life. The system, which reads PDFs or photographs of documents, captures around 46 different fields of information with more than 600 million possible combinations and swiftly maps them onto 32 Discovery Life fields to produce a comparable quote. 

Submissions to the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards were judged for their originality; their capacity to deliver competitive advantage and good returns on investment; and for their applicability to other markets and countries. Zurich Insurance was named runner-up in the Global Innovator of the Year category followed by Aflac in Japan. Zurich was the Global Innovator of the Year in 2019. 

Keen competition across all six categories

The other six categories in the awards were also keenly contested. Here are the winners: 

  • Core Insurance TransformationMunich Re of Germany for its “MIRApply Physician” digital life-insurance application process. Placed second was Westfield Insurance in the US. Third was Discovery with its Vitality Active Rewards 2020 offering. 
  • Customer ExperienceAssicurazioni Generali in Italy for its extensive Digital Hub omnichannel facility for customers, agents and prospects. Ping An in Hong Kong was the runner up and AXA Partners in France came third. 
  • Insurtech: Australian start-up upcover for its upcover mobile app that offers pay-as-you-go insurance and healthcare cover to workers in the gig economy. Second was Safekeep in the US while Spanish firm Mediktor was third. 
  • Workforce TransformationAssicurazioni Generali of Italy for its “We Learn: A New Way to the Future” reskilling initiative that equips employees with the business skills, digital competence and behavioral insights that they will need to support the company’s new strategic priorities. The runner up was Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance in Japan, followed by Australia’s OnePath. 
  • Product & Service InnovationBaloise Insurance of Belgium for its Cyber Safe digital security solution for consumers. Cyber Safe protects subscribers and their families from cyber threats while surfing the internet, shopping online and engaging with social media. Second was Fidelidade Mundial of Portugal and placed third was Assicurazioni Generali. 

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss some of the key trends I identified while studying this year’s submissions to the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards. Exciting things are certainly happening in our industry. For further information about the awards, click on the link below. Start getting your innovations ready for next year’s awards.  

Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 

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