Bayo Adesanya on the power of partnerships and AXA Mansard's Innovation Exchange Program

AXA Mansard recently launched its Innovation Exchange Program for founders, innovators, and enterprises who will provide solutions along the insurance value chain.  The program is tailored towards aiding innovations that will increase insurance adoption and bring insurance products to end users in a way that benefits all parties involved.

t AXA Mansard believes that the quality of partnerships is what builds successful businesses and building on mutually beneficial relationships is what has led AXA Mansard to this moment. Speaking to TechCabal in an interview, Bayo Adesanya, Chief Digital & Innovation Officer AXA Mansard, he tells us about the Innovation Exchange Program and how AXA Mansard plans to build an ecosystem of partners across the insurance and asset management space.

TC: What are the duties of a Chief Digital & Innovation Officer?

Bayo: At the core of what I do are three main initiatives. One is the distribution of our retail products at AXA Mansard via online and alternative channels. This we do for all our lines of business including Property & Causality and  Life Insurance,  health insurance, and asset management. I am also responsible for driving business transformation, which is the optimization of critical internal processes. And lastly, I also drive our emerging customer business, which is sometimes referred to as micro insurance. I would say those are the broad responsibilities that I have.  

TC: How do you manage these broad areas of responsibility at AXA Mansard? 

Bayo: These three areas are connected by a common focus on innovation and the use of technology to create superior value for the business and our customers. To truly accomplish this objective for the latter, there’s a need to build and manage digital ecosystems and partnerships. There is no self-respecting digital enterprise that thrives or survives alone as the quality of the partnerships goes a long way in determining success. For us at AXA Mansard, this includes partnerships with telcos, banks, fintechs, startups, and other insurtech enterprises. These partnerships help us to improve the type of products that we provide on our channels as well as on partner channels. 

TC: Let’s talk about the Innovation Exchange Program. What is it and what birthed this idea?

Bayo: The Innovation Exchange Program is a creative way to leverage external partnerships in the creation of value internally for AXA Mansard as well as the insurance industry, in general. The exchange is a defined and transparent approach to partnering with external parties. In this case, a lot of them would be technology companies, so fintech startups and the like. It helps us to clarify what problems we can solve by partnering with external parties and it also helps us to find the external partners and define the parameters that ensure that these partners can create solutions that can be leveraged across our entire value chain or ecosystem. 

As for the origin, we have always recognized the value of partnerships in delivering superior solutions to our existing and future customers. This company has a track record of being forward-facing, innovative, and leveraging technology. We want to build an ecosystem of partners that creates value across the space we play in which is non-banking financial services. We want to help these partners build insurance and asset management solutions that can be commercialized and also scaled to serve the huge needs that still exist within that industry. So ultimately, we want to create a mutually beneficial relationship between ourselves and these partners, but most importantly, we’re interested in customers deriving superior value through these solutions that are developed and how we can deliver it to them. 

TC: Which areas within the insurance ecosystem are experiencing the gaps that these partners for the Innovation Exchange Program will help provide solutions for?

Bayo: Broadly, we categorize these processes into five areas. They are distribution, claims management, technical underwriting management, customer management, and payments. Those are the five areas in which we are focused on along our value chain to look for partners that can help us to do things in a new way and then commercialize and scale from there. Insurance market penetration is around one percent or below, so there’s a lot of work to be done. We recognize this challenge and are working to find partners that help us to address it in a way that is commercially viable and ultimately delivers real value to customers.

TC: What kind of technologies or innovations are you interested in for this program?

Bayo: We’re looking for companies, startups, organizations, innovators, and builders that have ideas that can scale in the sectors that we play in. We will prioritize innovation based on the underlying technology and view of the capacity that it has to disrupt the insurance industry. So the areas of applied artificial intelligence include robotics; connectivity and the Internet of Things specifically; social tech; blockchain; low code/no code (USSD and QR codes); mobile; and lastly, big data. Our business is a data-rich business and there’s a lot of value that can be gained from analyzing that data. We’re quite keen on radical ideas that can help to use small and big data and analytics to find trends that, on one hand, help to improve customer experience and engagement, and on another hand, help us to take better decisions internally.

TC: What resources will be provided to participating startups and what benefits can they hope to get from this program?

Bayo: This is a program we’re treating very seriously and it must be a mutually beneficial relationship. We have been around for a while in the country and there are resources that we have as part of our day-to-day operations that would be valuable to smaller organizations or individuals starting out. We will provide mentorship by attaching these founders to a sponsor from our executive and senior management teams to mentor them. Our digital business is driven by APIs and we will provide API access and technical expertise to help test and scale the solutions developed. For all successful partners, we will be their first client following the launch of the solutions developed through the program. We will also introduce them to other organizations within our larger network and facilitate those interactions that will supercharge the ecosystem even further. So, there’s a lot of value we aim to deliver to our partners.

Interested participants in the Innovation Exchange Program can send their pitch deck describing their idea/solution and a three-minute video introducing their team to innovation@axamansard.com or click here to apply.

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