22.6.17 Amanda Blanc – Group CEO – AXA, speaks at Devonshire House
Date: 22nd June 2017 Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
Location: Royal Thames Yacht Club, 60 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7LF
We were delighted to welcome Amanda Blanc, Group Chief Executive of AXA Group in the UK, to Devonshire House as our Speaker.
Amanda Blanc was appointed Group Chief Executive of AXA Group in the UK on 1st July 2016 having been CEO, AXA Insurance UK & Ireland since January 2016. She joined the Board in March 2011 when she was appointed CEO, AXA Insurance Commercial Lines. This is Amanda’s second career within AXA – she re-joined AXA UK in 2011 from The Towergate Partnership where she was Deputy Group CEO, with responsibility for the leadership of Towergate’s retail broking business. Amanda has also held senior positions at Groupama, Commercial Union and Ernst & Young. She sits on AXA’s Global Property and Casualty Board and leads AXA’s Global SME initiative. She is a member of the Board of the Association of British Insurers, currently chairs the Insurance Fraud Bureau and was President of the Chartered Insurance Institute in 2013.
To most observers, the insurance industry, founded in the 1680s in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house in London, is perceived as big, solid, predictable, a bit boring and with all the suppliers looking the same from a distance. Amanda would not dispute this view!
She would say that Insurance does not currently enjoy the best reputation with its customers who tend to think that Insurers are out to charge customers high and pay out low. AXA is in the forefront in working hard to try to rebuild that trust but the progress is incremental and slow. What is required to make that major shift in perception is a significant shift in Insurers’ behaviour.
We would be expecting Amanda to tell us that the way it is done is through people – inside and outside the company – and, which may surprise many of us, through technology. Quite right! But much of what we will hear about – and talk about – goes further – much further.
This is the aspirational aspect of what she wants to talk about – where insurance can go as an industry if it approaches the way it works and society in the right way.
Amanda Blanc says, “We need to create greater affinity with our customer base by recruiting the same type of people we market to. We need to adapt our business models to our customers’ needs and allow them to tailor the product and service to suit their particular needs. We need to play a greater role in changing society for the better and improving people’s lives. And we need to do this quickly and effectively if we are to survive. If we don’t do it, external disruptors will.”
The fundamentals do not, of course, change, How do you recruit, train, motivate, enthuse, reward and manage your own people – at all levels – particularly when it is those at the coalface who front up to customers the most? How do you reach past, current and future customers and, vitally, how can you be seen as the best people to do business with? How do you get the product and its branding right? How can you best harness the burgeoning power of technology?
Amanda Blanc adds, “My vision may sound very aspirational, but I would argue the signs that this is already happening are clear if you know where to look. We are transitioning from a ‘payer’ role to a ‘partner’ role by partnering with digital innovators and the dreaded disruptors. We are working to change the way people drive and reduce deaths on the road with driverless car projects. We are investing in home resilience, research and development. We are helping people to live longer, healthier lives by equipping them with the digital tools to monitor and act upon their health. We are bringing greater security to peoples’ lives using digital devices to monitor safety in the home.”
………………. and she sums up as follows:- “In developing insurance products that allow people to protect their assets when they want and how they want, we can’t do this on our own and we must partner with external disruptors to do it. Equally, they need our expertise, resource and scale to implement their ideas. Together we are, I believe, capable of ushering in a new Golden Age of insurance. An industry that does more than just pay claims. An industry that plays a key role in pushing society forwards. An industry that has found its rightful role once again. To survive long term, we must create business models that derive financial success from prioritising customer outcomes/experience. We need to be the disruptors of our own industries or we will become irrelevant.”
AXA is one of the largest insurers in the UK providing both personal and commercial insurance direct to the customer, via brokers, aggregators and in conjunction with corporate and retail partners. AXA is the number 1 global insurance brand 2016 (Interbrand Top 100 Global Brands 2016). In the UK, AXA has over 10 million customers; employs about 10,000 people; has been ranked 19th in The Sunday Times Top 25 Best Big Companies to work for Survey 2015 and has been awarded first class Best Companies Accreditation in recognition of our commitment to employee engagement