On one hand it can drive incredible innovation, while on the other hand there is scepticism around its impact on jobs and its ultimate success.
But Generali Italia believes that technology is what will ensure the insurance industry remains relevant and influential.
Last month, the Italian insurer entered into a partnership with Google to develop products and services to keep up with people’s ever-connected lives.
“The partnership with Google is part of our strategic plan,” Francesco Bardelli, chief business transformation officer of Generali Italia, told International Adviser.
Bardelli is also the chief executive of Generali Jeniot, part of Generali Italia, the business dedicated to the development of services through the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected insurance.
“At Generali, we aspire to be a life time partner of our customers,” Bardelli added.
Generali Italia’s plans for its future technological developments are based on three factors, he said.
“First, the IoT technology that allows us to build new services for the improvement of our clients’ behaviour.”
The firm has already developed a real-time coaching tool for car insurance clients. “It is a service we have licensed and has light signals indicating whether a client is driving safely or not. And this is helping our clients drive better and work on prevention.”
Bardelli told IA that while Generali is focusing on mobility services for the time being, it also wants to develop and expand such technologies to all other insurance areas.
All about data
“The second pillar is based on data and the ability to [analyse it] in real time, but also all the external information both public and from our database.
“But new advanced analytics technologies (eg cloud, big data) and methodologies (eg machine learning, computer vision) are needed to add value to our services,” he said.
And this is where the partnership with Google comes into action, Bardelli added.
The cooperation will see Google experts support Generali Italia professionals in “the creation and industrialisation of innovative products and services”.
The insurer also opened an ‘Innovation Lab’ two years ago in order to create and test all the different kind of technologies that could be converted into services for clients.
Bardelli emphasised that it is important not to lose sight of the firm’s customers.
“The third pillar is customer experience. The knowledge of our clients through data needs to be translated into even more tailored value propositions (ie the right offer at the right time) and into easy access and quicker response time for our customers.
“We must become more easily reachable, faster, simpler and more transparent, and all this is part of customer experience.
“In the last two years, we have built a customer experience design and digital channels development unit, to introduce pure design skills and design thinking syncing methodologies – meaning the redesigning of services and processes by putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes – including all the data analytics process,” he added.
But that is not all.
“Through the partnership with Google we have the opportunity to write a new and disruptive chapter in the insurance market.”
Going forward, Bardelli said, the insurer will focus on the expansion of products within the mobility space. He said that the firm currently has 1.6 million “connected clients” in the country, and it hopes to reach two million in the next couple of years.
In addition, Generali Italia is already looking at growing beyond its home market.
Bardelli told IA: “Our aspiration is to be able to extend, internationally, the services we have already developed in Italy and continue improving them, thanks to the partnership with Google, and bring that to other countries.
“Europe is certainly our priority and is where I expect we will focus our first efforts.”