Using the cloud for tailored insurance solutions.. Insurers’ shares dip as Amazon home insurance rumored… XL Group and AXA mega merger gets shareholder approval


Using the cloud for tailored insurance solutions

Compiled by Insurance24

HARARE -With global public cloud services revenueexpected to have reached $260 billion at the end of last year, there is no arguing the fact that cloud hosted solutions will be a key driver for growth in the future. Patrick Ashton, managing executive at the SilverBridge Group, believes that insurers can leverage the cloud for better agility and scalability in deploying new offerings.

“The cloud has become one of the most disruptive forces in business today. Irrespective of industry sector, company size, or physical location, the cloud has resulted in organisations rethinking how they not only manage their IT infrastructure but also develop solutions using the vast amount of flexible processing power, new data sources, and toolsets now at their disposal.”

In fact, the shift towards the cloud goes together with how many new data sources have become available. These can assist insurers with real world challenges such as fraud prevention, risk of NTU, poor claims experience, and customisable product offerings. Part of this shift can be attributed to the growth in the number of new data channels open to businesses where data has become a commodity. However, if used correctly, it can assist insurers gain deep insights into their existing and prospective customer base. It is especially in unstructured data (thanks to social networking) that organisations are seeing significant traction when it comes to the potential for insight and solution customisation.

Understanding customers

“Traditionally, insurers have been seen to be slow-moving and unwilling to change. Thanks to the emergence of more agile fin- and insurtechs, this is changing. To be competitive in the digital market, an insurer must be able to understand individual customer needs more fully instead of approaching these needs from a mass segmented approach. People today expect tailored offerings serving their unique needs. New entrants to the market who are cloud and mobile first are able to deliver this as they can exploit data analysis to their advantage much more efficiently.”

Of course, this does not mean all is lost for insurers operating in traditional business models. They should view this as an opportunity to adapt and embrace the agility and scalability provided by cloud-based solutions. However, there must be a willingness to change. This starts with understanding the environment in which new entrants are becoming serious competitors through simpler, cheaper, and more customisable solutions.

“The cloud presents an ideal way to move towards that elusive single view of the customer. But the cloud is just one part of the challenge. An insurer should think how best to integrate the hosted value proposition with existing systems and processes. It is not possible to do a rip-and-replace. Instead, incremental changes should occur where insurance components are gradually migrated to a cloud environment and offerings enhanced through both new data sources and fresh customer insights.”

Business transformation

The cloud is not a silver bullet to future-proof traditional insurers against disruptive business and market changes. Instead, it should be viewed as a mechanism to fundamentally shift their business to make more use of available data and utilise that data to create a more efficient insurance business that provides bespoke solutions for an increasingly fickle customer base.

“Insurers need to deal with customers who expect traditional product and service offerings as well as millennials who demand more customisation to their specific needs. On top of this, there is the challenge of developing solutions that cater for the massive unbanked population in South Africa and the rest of the continent. This is not something that will happen overnight but will gradually permeate through all insurers in the country. Cloud and mobile will become one of the mandatory features of any such solution.”



Insurers’ shares dip as Amazon home insurance rumored

By Insurance24

HARARE,  A source close to the matter has hinted that Amazon is mulling offering home insurance.

The Information shared an anonymous tip that the electronic commerce giant had discussions about offering insurance together with its connected home devices. The report had a disclaimer, which stated that while a reliable anonymous source has provided the tip, it does not suggest that Amazon has any plans for insurance.

Amazon did not have an immediate comment on the matter, the article said.

However, news of the online shopping juggernaut possibly joining the insurance market has already had an impact; CNBC reported that shares in AIG and Chubb fell slightly but quickly rebounded after the report was released.

Amazon’s interest in the insurance market is nothing new; in late May, the company led a multi-million dollar funding round for digital insurer Acko General Insurance in Mumbai, India. And last October, there was a report circulating that Amazon was looking to set up an auto MGA with partners in the UK.

If Amazon does finally throw its hat in the insurance ring, a good number of consumers might be willing to make the switch. The 2018 World Insurance Report found that 29.5% of customers said that they would be willing to buy at least one insurance product from a major tech firm like Amazon – a 12-percentage point increase from 2015.


XL Group and AXA mega merger gets shareholder approval

By Insurance24

HARARE, The shareholders of Bermuda-based insurance and reinsurance company XL Group have approved the 100% acquisition by French insurance giant AXA.

The planned full acquisition of XL Group would amount to roughly US$15.3 billion, to be fully paid in cash, where XL Group shareholders will get US$57.60 per share under the terms of the agreement. The transaction is expected to close during the second half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions.

“We are pleased with our shareholders’ vote of confidence in supporting all matters, including the AXA transaction,” XL Group CEO Mike McGavick said. “In AXA we have found a like-minded partner committed to innovation and moving our industry forward. Becoming a part of AXA provides unrivalled opportunity to accelerate our strategy with new strength and dimension. Based on today’s vote, it is clear that our shareholders share this same vision and opportunity for XL Group.”

After the deal has been completed, the combined operations of XL Group, AXA Corporate Solutions, and AXA Art will be headed by Greg Hendrick, current president and CEO of XL Group, who will be appointed CEO of the combined entity and join AXA Group’s management committee, reporting directly to AXA Group CEO Thomas Buberl. McGavick, meanwhile, will become vice-chairman of the combined P&C commercial-lines operations and special adviser to Buberl on integration-related and other strategic matters.

XL Group said it has “a premier specialty platform complementing and diversifying AXA’s existing commercial-lines insurance portfolio, and reinsurance capabilities that will allow AXA access to enhanced diversification and alternative capital.”