Disruption in insurance: not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’

 

In an interview on digital insurance agenda AXA Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Digital Officer Amelie Oudea Castera talks about the challenges of delivering the Digital Insurance Agenda, the disruption of insurance and challenges and success factors of teaming up with Insurtechs.
As a former world champion, Castrera compares the insurance business with a tennis match: “On top of technical skills, insurance requires an attention to every detail, a mix of action and anticipation, a capacity to work over the long-term and a lot of technical expertise!”

According to Castrera it is not a matter of ‘if’ there will be a disruption in the insurance industry but a matter of ‘when’. Teaming up with Insurtechs is essential in order to keep up. In her opinion, the greatest challenge for incumbent insurance companies in this cooperation is the cultural gap between the startups and large corporate worlds, including for example the difference in speed of decision-making or the discrepancies in terms of focus (growth vs. profitability).

What we, as legacy transformation experts, find is that legacy environments are often a huge bottleneck that negatively influence exactly those areas. When IT organizations focus on keeping business critical legacy systems running, valuable resources and huge budgets are taken away from innovation, integration and cooperation.

The moment they decide to get off the mainframe and migrate their legacy applications there is a clear shift in focus which opens the door to innovation. A great example of this is VIVAT, this large insurer encompasses multiple insurance brands (e.g. Reaal Dier & Zorg, Zwitserleven, Reaal, Route-Mobiel and Zelf) and a sustainable asset manager (ACTIAM).

Over the past decades, VIVAT had developed its core insurance systems using the Unisys EAE/LINC programming language running onUnisys Libra 690 mainframes. They found that this environment burdened them with high cost and limited flexibility. After they migrated 15 different applications, of which 8 business critical, they not only achieved an immediate reduction of 70% on infrastructure and operational cost but there are also new functionalities available which help them realizing their growth and innovation ambitions.
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VIVAT Case Study

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