Facebook-Axa: Reimagining Insurance

Most insurers use next-gen technologies to do the same things differently. Axa, with Facebook, will be able to do completely different things.

What a stunner and brilliant outside-in move by AXA – to position itself as a dominant digital insurance company by partnering with Facebook! You baseball fans will know the phrase, “the shot heard 'round the world,” which was said about the game-winning home run by a New York Giants player against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 to win the National League pennant. Just like that home run, this shot is a game-changer for insurance, propelling AXA ahead of the competition and redefining the customer experience.

AXA and Facebook plan to leverage the scale of both businesses via ground-breaking innovation and access to research, training and capabilities, particularly on mobile. The power partnership of the world’s top insurer and the dominant social media company has the potential to completely innovate, transform and redefine AXA’s customer experience, customer engagement, digital presence and growth potential to levels not yet seen in insurance.

AXA’s game-changer move has the potential to establish a new bar for customer excellence, loyalty and engagement that many insurers talk about, but that few have actually taken the bold actions to make happen. This move goes well beyond having a presence on social media, to embracing the power of a social media platform as the foundation of a new customer engagement model.

What is it that makes this so fascinating and game-changing?

Facebook’s mission to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected – by building a network of more than 1.23 billion (and growing) monthly active users. The influence and pervasiveness of Facebook's platform continues to grow. It is used by 57% of all American adults – and 50% of those adult users have more than 200 friends in their networks, according to the Pew Research Center.

Facebook started 10 years ago on a U.S. college campus, and it expanded across all demographics around the world, creating a powerful network of relationships that influences decisions, other relationships and outcomes. We all have seen or experienced Facebook’s power from making possible the most basic of connections with childhood friends and family to its expansion across the U.S. and the world. Beyond its original purpose of social connection, the platform has grown to have the power to save lives, influence buying behaviors and customer loyalty and motivate social and political change. And it gets more impressive.

In announcing 2013 fourth-quarter financial results, Facebook reported even more milestones that highlight the potential for AXA to turn the insurance model on its head. Consider these:

  • On a daily basis, 757 million people were active users as of December 2013, representing an increase of 22% from the previous year. Even more astounding was that 556 million people were mobile active daily users, an increase of 49% over the previous year.
  • Most impressive was a monthly average of mobile users totaling 945 million, an increase of 39%, and representing nearly 76% of the base.

Facebook’s vision, reflected in its milestones and influence, emphasizes why this partnership opens up a whole new model of customer engagement for insurance:

  • It can create a modern customer experience, like the ones people have every day with companies like Facebook, Amazon or Zappos, where there is a new level of engagement beyond the three common areas of quote and buy, bill payment and claims – the things that are not necessarily delightful! Imagine a new experience where the customer is getting more value through new services, offerings and knowledge sharing with an insurer that is offering a more omnipresent relationship.
  • Customer loyalty – and our typical manner of measuring this through a net promoter score (NPS) – is transformed through a branded customer network of relationships that share experiences, recommendations, costs, product ideas and much more.
  • Imagine leveraging the Facebook platform as a means of managing the customers' portfolios of assets, products and policies, offering life and P&C product recommendations based on their life stage or activities, or helping them during a claim or catastrophic event. Customers can also use mobile technologies in a self-service manner to find assistance with claims or to access information to help protect themselves and their assets.
  • Consider the explosion of new data that will be available and valuable in understanding the customers better so as to personalize their experience, provide insights, uncover new needs and identify new products and services that they may be unaware of.

Most insurers today are using Facebook, mobile and data to just do the same things differently within their operations. This powerful partnership that is leveraging next-gen technologies has the potential to do completely different things– going well beyond what has already been done today, creating a digital strategy and experience that will reinvent AXA and, subsequently, the insurance industry.

Game on! What will your next move be?

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