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Digitization in the insurance industry – opportunities for Swiss SMEs

Insurance is one of many industries in which digitization is steadily progressing. Customers can now get much of their information online. However, according to Felix Huemer from the insurance technology firm wefox, the industry's business models still need to be adapted. In the following interview, Felix Huemer explains where the potential lies for the insurance industry and how Switzerland as a technology center can benefit from this.

Digitization is forcing the insurance industry to adopt new business models
Digitization is forcing the insurance industry to adopt new business models

Felix Huemer, how is digitization changing the insurance sector?
Digitization has now established itself in the insurance industry. Customer acceptance has grown, and there is a clear need for action when it comes to the development of the industry’s business models. To simplify their interaction with customers, many providers are relying on apps and social networks as well as improving their presence on the internet. Often these solutions don’t go far enough when it comes to creating cross-functional customer focus and a subsequent 360-degree customer view. Independent brokers find this particularly difficult, as they often lack the technological and financial means. There are also gaps in processing between product providers and sales that make efforts towards digitization more difficult. The industry is only just beginning in this regard.

In what way does digitization give added value to customers?
Digitization gives policy holders 24/7 access across all channels. Data analysis not only helps to identify more sophisticated customer segments, but can also conveniently provide the customer with the right offer at the right time. The focus of every successful digitization strategy is therefore the customer. In the long term, customers will recognize the added value of artificial intelligence systems such as chatbots.

What kind of experiences have you so far had with digitalization at wefox?
Customers have become accustomed to the digital world in many areas. The comprehensive change in the insurance industry is still at a very early stage, not least because of the low contact frequency for long-term products on the customer side. We recognized this soon after founding our company and, with our community approach for customers, insurance brokers, and insurance companies, found an approach that gives real added value to all stakeholders. We can especially provide profitable added value to brokers and insurance companies. Customers learn to appreciate the benefits of the hybrid business model and understand the combination of personal care and 24/7 access through the platform.

Which business models could be developed further in the future?
We are rapidly progressing with the development of our business models. The next logical step was the development into a product provider. Along with our sister company, one, we created the first digital insurer in the DACH region, which is initially offering purely digital household and personal liability insurance in Germany. Convenience is paramount for the customer here. Therefore, we ensure the highest data quality and the shortest response times in all areas of customer interaction. One's business model is the beginning of an evolution that will shape digitization in the insurance industry.

Our community approach also offers a wide scope of application in the further development of our business model on the insurer side. We can give insurers the possibility to better understand their customers using anonymous smart data analytics, which will enable them to align their product range to customer requirements and thus sustainably increase sales.

Where do you see opportunities for Swiss SMEs in this transformation?
The digitization of insurance certainly offers many opportunities for Switzerland as a technology center. Insurance companies need to take action to develop their information and telecommunications technology, for example, specialists in building omnichannel-enabled tools and cloud-based platforms are going to be in demand.

Do you want to learn more about “Technology for Insurance”? Meet exciting speakers like Felix Huemer at the “Impulse Event ICT” on November 14, 2017 in Lucerne. Register now

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About Felix Huemer

Felix Huemer graduated from the Technical University of Munich as a business economist and industrial engineer. He worked for a management consultancy as a consultant in Switzerland and the USA.
As one of the very first wefox employees and co-founder of the Austrian subsidiary FinanceApp Austria GmbH, he was responsible for the Austrian rollout and was entrusted in particular with integrating and adapting the wefox platform to the requirements of the Austrian market.
His topics within the company include digitization and the further development of the wefox platform to offer improved customer service and make processes more efficient.

About wefox

The insurtech company wefox was founded in Switzerland under the name FinanceFox in November 2014. Wefox combines expertise and years of experience in the insurance market with the modern opportunities offered by digital technologies. The service platform enables customers to intelligently and efficiently manage brokers and insurance companies, insurance and financial products, and business processes. The product is based on a combination of modern technology and consulting expertise from the classic insurance business. Since launching in Switzerland in September 2015 and in Germany in October 2015, wefox has already won over more than 110,000 policyholders in record time. With more than 100 employees, the company works together with numerous local insurance brokers and continuously expands its network across the two nations. An expansion into other countries is currently under preparation.

Felix Huemer

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