AXA held the fourth meeting of its Stakeholder Advisory Panel on November 14th/ 15th in Paris. This was the first meeting since the adoption of the group’s 2020 strategy last June and the first under Thomas Buberl as AXA CEO. Top of the agenda was the group’s approach to innovation and risk prevention.
Panelists Heng Chee Chan, Steve Davis, Nicholas Eberstadt, Christine Farnish, Yolanda Kakabadse, Andrew Kuper and Betty Mwangi all attended the two-day meeting. Erwann Michel-Kerjan was absent and excused. Aron Cramer (the panel’s independent moderator) was also present. From AXA, the meeting was attended by CEO Thomas Buberl, George Stansfield (Group General Secretary), Christian Thimann (Group Head of Regulation, Sustainability & Insurance Foresight), Alice Steenland (Head of Corporate Responsibility), Simon Clow (Group Head of Stakeholder Engagement) and Ulrike Decoene (Executive Assistant to Thomas Buberl). AXA Board Chairman Denis Duverne also attended the meeting as ‘permanent invitee’. Denis will ensure a strong link between the panel and AXA’s Board of Directors, alongside AXA Director Angelien Kemna, who will join the panel from next April.
Key discussion points
Disruptors – challenges and opportunity
Member of the panel, Christine Farnish, gave an overview of the recent growth in FinTech and peer-to-peer finance, particularly in the UK. In response, AXA outlined its approach to these areas and to disruptive, new technologies in the insurance sector. Panelists agreed that there had been a significant increase in investment in InsurTech in recent years. They also highlighted the importance of customer service and pointed at newcomers’ “rich use of data” to support their models. The panel also discussed regulation, agreeing there was an opportunity for AXA to develop a genuine two-way relationship with regulators on the use of new technology.
Innovation – driving new thinking within AXA
AXA presented the results of its recent strategic workforce planning; the group said it was clear new skills would be needed in the years ahead. The panel stressed the importance of cultural change, and of greater inclusion to drive innovation within the group. The panel further discussed how to structure innovation activities within AXA, the advantages of an incremental, rather than a ‘big bang’ approach, and the need to remove internal barriers to encourage innovation.
Prevention – as a service and a strategy
AXA gave the panel an overview of the group’s approach to risk prevention. The panel agreed there was a clear business opportunity in this area in both health and P&C. More work is needed, however, to define a clear, viable business model in health prevention. AXA said prevention would help better align the group’s interests with those of its customers. During the discussions, panelists stressed the importance of ‘anticipation’, as well as making use of AXA’s insurance data to deliver wider social benefit.
As usual, panelists debated possible topics of discussion for the next meeting, which will take place in April 2017. Several were put forward, including global health security, the importance and use of data, and how to strengthen trust in AXA through shared values with customers and other external stakeholders.