To be relevant to consumers in today’s highly competitive insurance market, carriers need to do more than simply refresh their product portfolios or broaden their distribution channels. They need to become truly customer-centric. They must be able to constantly gauge the needs of their customers and deliver products and experiences that satisfy the unique requirements of policyholders no matter when or where they’re wanted. 

Zurich Insurancewhich was recently named the Efma-Accenture Global Insurance Innovator of the Yearwas quick to recognize the vital importance of customer relevance in an increasingly digital marketplace. It has begun transforming its traditional business model to become what we call a Living Business that strives to always be relevant to a broad range of customers 

Zurich understood that it needed to change to attract more, younger, customers; to meet the rising demand for digital products and services; and to deliver on-demand connected-insurance offerings. Without these changes it would be unable to attain the relevance vital for its long-term success.

Zurich Insurance drives innovation across its business

Critical to Zurich’s transformation is a strong commitment to innovation throughout the organization. The many innovations it submitted to this year’s Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards reveal the extent of this commitment. Zurich is setting the pace in many of the key innovation trends that I identified in my previous blog post

Get to know me: In Spain, Zurich has launched the Klinc on-demand insurance service that provides users of mobile devices with an innovative and engaging digital experience that allows them to buy cover whenever they need it. Klinc was voted the top product or service at this year’s Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards. It is designed for millennials who want on-demand digital coverage and experiences that satisfy their unique needs. Initially focused on home insurance, the Klinc offering has recently been expanded to include life protection with the launch of Klinc Vida. 

My market: By forging close ties with its customers, Zurich has been able to introduce a variety of enticing digital experiences, or momentary markets, that are available on demand. They include Toggle, a digital insurance platform that provides flexible, customized cover for people renting accommodation. Zurich has launched Toggle in the US through Farmers Insurance. In Spain, the insurer has introduced an app-based wellness service called Azul that analyzes facial images, using artificial intelligence, to provide users of mobile devices with real-time assessments of their health as well as quotes for life cover. 

Beyond boundaries: At its global head office in Switzerland, Zurich has introduced a Make the Difference scheme to promote trust, collaboration and innovation among its employees. The scheme breaks through traditional barriers of hierarchies and bureaucracy and encourages workers to share ideas that could improve the company’s performance and the customer experience it provides.  

DARQ Power: Zurich’s Belgian, Dutch and French businesses are working with Accenture to provide a secure self-service portal, which uses blockchain distributed ledger technology, for customers who require surety facilities.  

Insurtech partnerships: Zurich has teamed up with a variety of insurtech partners to extend its business beyond its traditional boundaries. It has entered into a European agreement with CoverWallet and launched in Spain and Switzerland a digital insurance platform for small businesses that incorporates the US start-up’s technology. Zurich is also collaborating with another US insurtech firm, Snapsheet, and has deployed its virtual claims technology in its Irish business. To increase its access to innovative start-ups and foster further co-operation, the group last year launched a global insurtech competition. The Zurich Innovation World Championships attracted more than 450 start-ups from 49 countries. Canadian start-up Chisel AI, followed by US firms zesty.ai and LifeNome and Australian company Soldier.ly, were the winners of the competition. Zurich is currently running pilot projects in several countries with some of the promising insurtech firms. It has just launched its 2020 championships. 

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss how some other progressive insurers that participated in the Efma-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards are using a deep understanding of their customers to develop exciting new products and services. Until then, take a look at the many impressive innovations submitted for this year’s awards:  https://www.efma.com/innovationininsurance/.

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