The AXA press release in France on its strategic tie up with Facebook has caused a stir in the insurance industry. At the moment publicly available information seems limited.
This post summarises what we know, what we don’t know and identifies some things to look for in the months ahead. As this story unfolds please share your views and opinions – and hard facts as they become available.
One thing for sure is that this announcement, more than any other on digital insurance, seems to have made a mark in the insurance industry and captured people’s imaginations.
What we know
So let’s start with the facts. The image of the complete AXA press release is given below:
Insurance networking has released an interesting article by Denise Garth speculating on the implications and taking an upbeat approach and interpretation – read the article.
What we don’t know
There is no doubt that AXA have had a tremendous impact from this simple press release and have the industry abuzz.
It is certainly “1-0” to AXA and builds very nicely on their set-up of a digital lab in San Francisco last year. As a reinforcement of a “signal of intent” it is highly effective.
But let’s look beyond the hype and into the details:
- It is not an exclusive arrangement – just the first “international insurer”. Perhaps US insurers have similar tie-ups already?
- It is not a distribution arrangement – Facebook are not tying up with AXA to sell insurance
- It looks like a commercial arrangement whereby AXA pays to access the skills and knowledge of Facebook analytics and innovation experts in the mobile field. The size of that team is not disclosed
- It appears to be centred on France – as the Facebook quote is from the CEO of Facebook in France. Tellingly there is no Facebook press release
What’s the impact?
AXA has been very smart to recognise it doesn’t have the skills in digital and that partnership is the best way forward. Many insurers continue to labour under the belief that everything should be done ‘in-house’ – despite all the evidence to the contrary.
If the partnership is good we should expect to see further innovation in Facebook related aspects of insurance from AXA – and more detailed press releases of the impacts on their business and their plans. So let’s hope AXA share some more information beyond its limited press release – the industry is certainly interested and engaged on this topic!
The Digital Insurer’s view is that the AXA strategy is a solid option from a global perspective but should also be supplemented by actions to create room for more “bottom up” innovation. As business models change the winners are likely to be those that learn to take risks and invest in pilots and then learn from the failures whilst aggressively back the winners.
As Denise Garth summed up nicely it is a “shot across the bows” and a signal that digital insurance is stage centre in the industry. I am sure the industry leaders will be looking at how to react – and taking a fresh look at their digital strategies. It is never to late to readjust strategies – and the pace of change will demand this as the winners emerge.
Editor’s note : The Digital Insurers views in this article are their own and are based on publicly available information and an analysis of industry trends