Nathalie Doré (BNP Paribas Cardif): how we innovate and make insurance more accessible

Nathalie Dorè, Chief Digital and Acceleration Officer, explains how BNP Paribas Cardif’s innovation works: combining internal innovation and open innovation, with a keen eye on accessibility to bring insurance to everyone who needs it

Published on 02 Dec 2021

Nathalie Dorè, Chief Digital and Acceleration Officer BNP Paribas Cardif

In-house and open innovation, with a keen eye on accessibility to bring insurance to everyone who may need: this is BNP Paribas Cardif’s innovation formula.

Nathalie Doré, Chief Digital and Acceleration Officer leading the digital and transformation acceleration, in this interview with InsuranceUp tells us how the “mechanism” works to achieve the company mission.

This mission is consistent with the focus of Open-f@b Call4Ideas 2021, the eighth edition of the open innovation contest jointly supported by InsuranceUp: “more accessible insurance”. The winners will be called at the end of November, chosen with a very clear purpose: identify solutions to be ever closer to customers, so as to offer protection to as many people as possible, focusing on issues of inclusiveness, easiness and accessibility.

Let’s start with the basics: how is innovation activity set up within BNP Paribas Cardif?

At BNP Paribas Cardif, innovation activity is held in three main steps: Exploration, Testing and Industrialization.

The Exploration phase consists of searching for interesting innovative ideas, including contests such as Open-F@b Call4Ideas, in-house initiatives and scouting activities.

Our Testing phase consists of pilot or small-scale projects to verify the innovative scope of the new product and its growth potential. We use a lean startup approach, a dedicated process to work with small innovative ventures: inside our Innovation Factory, whose hub for Europe is our BivwAk accelerator, we test the projects of startups and get the response from end users. This is where the race stops for those projects that might seem interesting in theory, but do not stimulate the “appetite” of the market. Crucial in this phase is to be fast, to quickly sort out the projects to keep investing in from those with no further viability.

Last but not least, is the industrialization phase, where the most interesting projects are structured on a large scale, ready to face the market. It is an often largely underrated step that instead makes the difference between a successful project and a fine PoC without any actual impact.

As a rough guess, on average we accelerate with this method 8 projects per year in Asia and 6 in Europe, 25% of which come to the industrialization phase.

To test the most disruptive innovations we use sandboxes, controlled and protected environments to test new products. We have an Innovation Factory for each region: one in Asia, one in Europe and one under construction in Latin America.

And what about local level?

As far as the different countries in which we operate are concerned, our policy is to provide everyone with the tools and best practices necessary to innovate and to “export” the best innovations of each local area to the others. In doing so, we are creating a positive system where the best of each is enhanced and extended to all other areas where such innovation can apply.

To this end we have tie-in programs like the annual Innovation Ambassador Program, where each of the 33 articipating countries presents its best innovative impact initiatives. Together with the Heads of Strategy and Heads of Region of the various areas, we assess which have the greatest potential at the company level. The selected Ambassadors are then responsible for organizing training sessions for the following year, in exchange for visibility both within the group and at major innovation events.

What is the importance of open innovation within BNP Paribas Cardif innovation?

At BNP Paribas Cardif, open innovation is a fundamental part of our approach. Innovation has been in the DNA of BNP Paribas Cardif since its inception. We have always invested both in internal innovation and in partnerships with companies and startups: two sides of the company, both equally important.

We are always working to improve our processes and our ability to absorb and develop innovation. Mainly we are focusing on three axes: finding new collaborations with B2B2C partners like banks or retailers, investing in digital platforms, and pushing social impact, in particular through accessibility – where an important pillar is our open innovation contest Open-f@b Call4Ideas.

What does it mean to be more accessible for a company like BNP Paribas Cardif?

Making insurance more accessible means making it available to all people who need protection. Today, at a global level and in Italy as well, we still see a large “protection gap”, i.e. a large portion of the population that has no insurance coverage. Greater accessibility means reaching more people and reducing this “protection gap”. Basically, it means first of all offering simpler, clearer and more transparent insurance products, giving people the chance to understand how they work and how they can protect themselves.

What is the role of technology in this process?

Technology and digital as tools are in this regard extremely valuable.

First and foremost, digital can be a new and more efficient channel than the traditional one. It is 24/7 and allows people to take out insurance and have access to claims and all other services whenever they need them.

What’s more, it’s essential as it allows for consumer education. Thanks to access to the internet, it’s a valuable tool for increasing risk awareness and protection opportunities. For example, let’s look at the issue of cyber risk for kids and teens, and how digital technology can help families be proactive in protecting their children.

This is a path that we do not face alone, but rather side by side with our collaborators and other innovative companies.

What is BNP Paribas Cardif’s position with respect to the growing trend of Open Insurance?

The transformation of the insurance industry towards an open system is something we have already experienced in the finance sector with the spread of Open Banking. In the face of this transformation, there are two paths: you can be reactive, and just adapt to the transition taking place, or you can be proactive, and try to ride it out.

BNP Paribas Cardif is moving within an open architecture. With regard to Open Insurance, two possible approaches are in sight: to serve other players with an “as a service” approach and to use other players assets with an “as a platform” approach. We currently work on both.

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