“New standards, new game rules and new player relations: digital technologies are changing the ways of doing business”. This is how Nathalie Doré, Chief Digital & Acceleration Officer at BNP Paribas Cardif, sums up the main dynamics that impact the insurance market. It is therefore necessary to address the challenges thrown up by this change and grasp the opportunities. The insurance company is doing just this through an international innovation lab that tests new technologies with a view to Open Innovation, listening to customers more via new social channels but also via a different type of relationship with their partners: Insuring as a platform, smart contracts and blockchains. Here is what she said in her interview.
What are the main impacts of digital transformation in the insurance sector?
The GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) digital players have created new standards: Apple’s instant call back, Amazon’s ‘one-click order’, Facebook’s chatbots and Google’s virtual assistant. Our customers expect insurance companies to offer them new experience methods too. It is essential to be aware of these new standards and bring our products and services into line, to meet a customer’s new expectations. This is why at Cardif Lab’ we are testing the latest technologies on the market in pilot projects and creating innovative projects with partners in the countries where BNP Paribas Cardif has a presence. An example of that? A collaboration to create an advanced callbot in call centers. Digital technology has changed the game rules and therefore it is important to listen to our customers and work with them by creating a direct line of communication. We have introduced a social tool in all 35 countries in the Group, working to make communication easier online, in forums, on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. We are also starting up a Social Care Program that involves all our countries. Lastly, digital technology allows us to connect different players easily, through APIs, thus creating a service platform. We have seen a ‘banking as a platform’ trend with companies such as Varo Money in the United States. I think we are entering an ‘Insuring as a platform’ era where we can imagine placing ‘BNP Paribas Cardif as a service’.
What do you think about the opportunities offered by blockchains and smart contracts?
I think that they could potentially improve the operating process, increasing customer and partner satisfaction and allowing greater transparency. At BNP Paribas Cardif, through our fund C Entrepreneurs, we have invested in a blockchain start-up that offers Proof of Process, to monitor the value that we believe may come from this new technological proposal.
Sharing Economy: how can insurance company business change?
There are several initiatives in the Peer to Peer insurance sector and a sharing economy is not new in itself, but I do think that it allows us to test risks that are not currently covered by traditional insurance products, actively involving the community. For example, pet insurance with the P2P option: when your pet is getting too old to be insured, it may be the community that takes the initiative and offers coverage. The market will increasingly offer hybrid types of insurance. Cybersecurity: how can insurance companies respond to the new risks? The Internet Of Things is creating new risks and has created the need for new Information Technology security services. Also, the market is not yet mature, therefore the potential is enormous. New online customer behaviour and the data privacy topics are also creating new insurance needs. In Germany, for example, we have launched the Digital Life Protect policy for protecting customers against the problem of digital reputation and data privacy and security. It is important to look at these new risks in depth and study them, to find the right answer for our customers and partners: sometimes it is insurance cover, other times it is an assistance service. I’m sure that the future will be a good mix of both!
Smart Home: how is the home product evolving in Italy?
The Open Innovation route started in Italy several years ago, with the creation of a marketing research and development structure, and collaboration is still ongoing with startups thanks to the innovation contest Open-F@b Call4Ideas, which has now reached its fifth edition. Habit@t was the first home product with incorporated domotics, launched in 2013 and which is now also on show at the Cardif Lab’ in France. In an increasingly connected and service-oriented world, the next version of Habit@t will be a real ecosystem that answers new consumer needs with prevention, security and well-being solutions; it was not by chance that Preventive Insurance was chosen as the subject of the contest last year.