Tag Archives: social media platform

Facebook-Axa: Reimagining Insurance

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?

The Last Analog Generation (and Other Stories of the Dead and Dying)

The Last Analog Generation—let’s call them LAGgards—are departing, and in their wake a fascinating new world is emerging.

I’ve been surprised lately, when meeting with the nation’s leading financial service providers and discussing the tsunami of intergenerational wealth transfer that is upon us. The generation that is now entering (or will soon enter) the work force stands to receive something like $30 trillion of personal wealth over the next 20-30 years. That’s a staggering figure by any measure, but what’s really surprising is the apparent lack of preparedness and stunning dearth of appreciation for the opportunity – and potential threat – this massive wealth transfer represents to stalwart companies and even entire industry sectors.

For context, according to research, there exists roughly $230 trillion of personal wealth around the globe. That’s both financial wealth, like cash and its numerous equivalents, and real and personal property; the figure does not include corporate or public holdings. To give some sense of perspective to the enormity of that figure, just consider that the gross world product (the combined market value of all the products and services produced in one year by all the countries in the world) totaled approximately $85 trillion in 2012. Thinking about the number another way: To accomplish the transfer of $30 trillion over the next 30 years would mean that more than $1.9 million would have to change hands every minute.

By the time the last baby-boomer has shuffled off this mortal coil, about 13% of all global personal wealth will have changed hands in one form or another. Understanding some of the techno-societal distinctions between the bequeathers and the bequeathees should be a discipline required for anyone who aspires to make sense of the opportunities or threats attendant to the wealth transfer.

Because we develop a sort of digital life for the things in our users’ lives (by collecting and digitally managing all the information about those things), Trōv is becoming a technological bridge between the LAGgards, who were born before the digitization of everything, and the emerging generations who are indisputably “born digital.” In our interactions with users and the service providers that are precariously dangling between these two distinct constituencies, we are developing a sense for both parties. A couple of the big thoughts that seem to aptly describe what influences the perspectives of two groups are at once technological and sociological: the death of privacy and the power of information symmetry.  

Privacy is dead

LAGgards are concerned that their personal information remains private. Okay, this should neither surprise nor irritate any of us. However, the norms for what is considered private are being entirely redefined by the constant revelations of breaches (both nefarious and national) – and the new (ab)normal boundaries of self-disclosure regularly displayed on the massively adopted social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and their do-alikes.

Just take a peek (if you have the stomach for it) at Instagram’s ersatz cult of spoiled children referenced as #richkidsofinstagram. Photos are regularly posted depicting the profligate lives of a generation of an über-wealthy and unbelievably overexposed generation reveling in their latest acquisitive binge or imbibing impossibly costly libations.

As Robert Scoble, one of the oracles for the emerging generation of Digital Natives, intimated to me, privacy is all but dead, and it is no longer a core issue of the emerging generations. So what? Self-disclosure and widely available information about all connected people and institutions will make a profound impact on reputations: personal, corporate and governmental, and if you’re attempting to engage the new generation of wealthy, transparency is mere table stakes, at best.

Information symmetry — your advisor is dead (he just doesn’t know it, yet) 

Information symmetry will be the death of intermediated businesses. When Netflix started shipping CDs and DVDs to homes throughout the U.S. in the late 1990s, the writing was on the wall for the leading distributors of home video. And, as cloud storage and high-bandwidth digital pipelines became ubiquitous and increasingly affordable, Blockbuster (as a proxy for all things analog) scuttled its storefront retail business – bowing out because its distribution channel was obliterated by technology’s relentless march.

Retail auto sales have undergone a somewhat similar coming-of-(digital) age, as well. For years, LAGgards have been subject to the demeaning process of haggling over price, because details about costs were kept intentionally opaque, giving the salesperson the information advantage. (This imbalance in access to data is sometimes referred to as information asymmetry). The sales process was successfully upended when data from the likes of Carfax and Kelly Bluebook were made instantly accessible to anyone with an interest and a browser. 

For roughly similar reasons, LAGgards have grown dependent on trusted advisers, various specialists and brokers to make decisions about many of their important investments, risk, spending and even medical choices. Data asymmetry is at the very center of the LAGgards’ dependence on these data-equipped intermediaries, and models for business — even entire business sectors — have been built on its expected continuation. 

But make no mistake, these intermediated, information-unbalanced businesses are (or soon will be) in trouble; their added value questionable. With massive data availability, the information-scales are being leveled, and with instant, mobile connectivity, the generation-digitalis is no longer apt to transact or make decisions through a human intermediary. The generations of Born Digitals demand immediate, hands-on, intermediary-free access to nearly all aspects of their lives. 

So what? If your livelihood assumes that your clients will be dependent on you because you alone hold the magic elixir of unique information, beware. You might need to consider embracing the new models of info-egalitarianism rather than resisting them. 

To wit, we recently began testing an in-app capability to insure a newly acquired item at point-of-sale with literally the push of a button. This action alerts the broker-of-record to information that had been previously unavailable and carries tremendous customer-retention and quality-of-service implications (not to mention risk management and potential revenue upticks).

I have been perplexed by some brokers, who appear more concerned about the incremental work that this might create than the expansion and quality of their service. Powered by data accessibility, irrespective of our entrenched operations, the march toward disintermediation is inexorable.

Although these two ideas — personal privacy and disintermediation –- may appear to be distinct families of thought, they are much more than distant cousins. Indeed, they are utterly related and perhaps alone frame the most important distinctions between the LAGgards and the Born Digitals.  

If you depend on your intermediated services and expect them to remain relatively unchanged, you may be setting yourself up for incalculable risk (and you’re most likely a LAGgard). However, if you are comfortable with gobs of information floating around in the cloud and are adopting the tools that help you benefit, then you are likely going to survive the turbulence.

The opportunities arising from the merging of data and disintermediation are just becoming evident – and these trends will entirely reshape seemingly unassailable businesses and entire industries. 

As the fabric of personal information privacy becomes increasingly threadbare, the expectation for transparency in all segments of commercial life will be elevated to a prerequisite for any type of engagement. And as new generations of shoppers, investors and the “serviced” become less concerned about privacy and more connected to — and facile with — data, business as usual will be anything but.

(This article first appeared in JetSet magazine.)