Chubb: Driving Digital Insurance Innovation

Chubb is driving digital transformation within the vast insurance marketplace.

The insurer is a global provider of property and casualty, accident and health, reinsurance, and life insurance on a global scale.

Gabriel Lazaro is the Head of Digital for Chubb’s international general insurance business – a role that sees him based in Singapore, and responsible for the success and growth of the digital businesses across Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Lazaro works with the consumer and digital teams globally to expand Chubb’s distribution through digital ecosystem partnerships.

“We innovate in terms of insurance products and value propositions. That includes claims and the technology to enable a seamless customer experience,” explains Lazaro, who spent 12 years in early-stage and mobile content companies, before a stint at AIG as Head of Digital for emerging markets. It was this experience that led to a move to Chubb in 2016, where he now oversees the digital insurance product distribution and expansion of the company’s digital business across 51 countries and territories.

A culture of development and inclusion

With a global footprint of local offices in 54 countries and territories, Chubb has a robust reputation in the industry. It is known for its excellence in underwriting, risk engineering capabilities, and claims services, as well as for its innovative approach to digital transformation.

The sheer volume of the company is staggering. Chubb employs an estimated 34,000 staff around the world. In 2021, the company reported a total of US$47bn in Gross Written Premiums (GWP) and currently owns around $200bn in assets.

Yet, despite its massive size, looking after its people is a “prime consideration”, says Lazaro, who speaks of his team with pride.

He adds: “I like to inspire people to become the best versions of themselves. In order to do that, I need to provide a clear vision to make sure that everyone is aligned and moving towards a common goal.”

Empowering the workforce is also critical, he states. “It’s imperative to empower people to unleash their creativity. The other part I’m passionate about is execution and providing tangible results. At Chubb, we are a very diverse group of professionals. There is entrepreneurial spirit across the organization with a can-do attitude and we practice our craft with precision and passion.”

Driving digital transformation in emerging markets

Although the company has always had a strong focus on digital products and services, many recent changes have been implemented to expand and engage consumers.

“We have always been focused on expanding our digital products and services through partnerships based on a B2B2C model,” says Lazaro. “Developing unique value propositions and embedded experiences within platforms and ecosystems is paramount. We have almost 200 digital distribution partners globally, across financial services, e-commerce, super apps and major airlines. These digital distribution partnerships provide us with an addressable market of more than 300 million customers, most of them in Latin America and Asia, who see our products through our digital distribution partners’ business platforms.”

As Chubb focuses on its digital transformation journey and its entry and development of emerging markets, the corporation has also developed a platform called Chubb Studio that enables it to provide API technologies to connect with partners in record time. By embedding Chubb products in the partner’s ecosystem, the company is able to deliver contextual insurance offerings to customers seamlessly. To date, more than 19 million policies have been sold across the offer spectrum through Chubb Studio.

According to Lazaro, the technology has provided Chubb with a competitive advantage over other industry players. “It’s a cloud-based, easy-to-use API platform that fuels our businesses and partnerships while helping us to connect with our digital distribution partners. We can create products within their platforms in a very easy and fast manner, pulling our digital underwriting, claims and service capabilities together into one place.”

“It provides scale because, as a global platform, every time we incorporate another market or product, our partners are able to benefit from our expanded offerings.

Emerging markets and insurance technology adoption

One area Chubb excels in is emerging market penetration. This isn’t a task for the faint hearted; companies developing new products in such a space must often be prepared to work with outdated systems and legacy business models before introducing any new products to market.

“At Chubb, we see emerging markets as a fantastic opportunity – especially Southeast Asia and Latin America. These two territories alone have a combined total population of one billion people, 80% of which are under the age of 40 and fully digitally engaged through smartphones.”

Lazaro says that, during the pandemic in Southeast Asia, more than 70 million people became digital consumers, therefore, enabling protection solutions for those customers digitally has become an opportunity. Entering into such markets also enables companies to benefit the local populations by reducing the protection gap and providing low cost, easy-access insurance products that previously were not available.

“There’s a protection gap globally – especially in developing economies and emerging markets – of around $1.2tn. These markets have low insurance penetration compared to other markets globally,” says Lazaro, who points out that the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across can geographies, developed markets and sectors.

“We are focused on an emerging middle class, small-to-medium companies, gig workers, content creators, Gen Z and Millennials,” he adds. “There is a huge opportunity for those across the globe.”

Insurance technologies and the digital ecosystem

As part of its digital expansion, Chubb has partnered with a wide range of businesses on a global scale. The insurer provides its innovative services as part of a move to increase embedded product opportunities for agents and brokers.

“We work with businesses globally, and our goal is to help them to embed insurance offerings into their core products and services,” says Lazaro. “This provides peace of mind to the end customer and also helps businesses increase customer loyalty and then support it with new revenue streams.”

As a global company, Chubb offers a turnkey solution by helping its digital distribution partners with regulatory and related elements to make sure they have a successful insurance experience. The teams have broad industry expertise and implement digital insurance product offerings for verticals such as banks, fintechs, super apps, ecommerce retailers, mobility companies, travel, mobile network operators and more.

Lazaro’s team collaborated with Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading superapp providing users with transportation, food delivery and digital payment services, to provide Grab users with an innovative insurance solution called Ride Cover.

Ride Cover provides complimentary personal accident insurance to Grab’s passengers and disburses a voucher in the event of a delayed pickup. Available in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, Ride Cover is opt-in and integrated into the passenger’s ride booking journey within the Grab App. For a very low fee (eg S$0.30 in Singapore), passengers are offered a premium service with additional protection in the event of accidents.

They have also partnered with other innovators such as NuBank, the largest neobank in Latin America, to launch a fully digital life insurance offering embedded in the bank’s app. “Together with Nubank, we created customer-friendly life insurance with a flexible product and a price that resonates with the Latin American emerging middle class. It was reported that, in the first year, we sold more than half a million life insurance policies, more than half of those who bought the product said it was the first life insurance they had taken out,” he states.

Other partners include Dacadoo and Betterfly, as well as other major players in Latin America, Korea, and Southeast Asia, all creating value-adding services to the end users that extend beyond the traditional insurance. “We like to co-create to develop those unique experiences at scale,” says Lazaro. “One of our core strengths is that, as an international company, we partner with companies that have a vision beyond their unique markets.”

Lazaro says Chubb creates unique value propositions – from selling to claims experiences. “We see everything as a whole. We are proud of our journey and partnering with the best-in-class partners that we have. It has helped us improve our services from the product and technology perspectives.”

Growing services in the pandemic

Like many providers, Chubb’s digital business expanded during the pandemic because the demand for digital services skyrocketed. “For us, especially in the digital space, it has had a positive impact in terms of uptake,” says Lazaro. “We launched Chubb Studio in the middle of the pandemic, and we are going to keep expanding our capabilities through the platform to make the connection with our partners easier.”

Lazaro says that, in terms of claims and servicing, Chubb is working towards frictionless customer journeys, enhancing the overall experience to make claims effortless, simplified and with as few clicks as possible. These enhancements will be made possible by new technologies the insurance giant is investing in.

“In terms of the technology that we’re investing in, data analytics and discovering how we can take advantage of the data that we’ve collected by ourselves through our partners, this information will enable us to work towards product recommendation engines and make, at scale, much more relevant offerings for partners to provide to their end users.”

The goal, he says, is to offer the right product to the right partner at the right time.

The future of insurance

Embedded products are, in Lazaro’s experienced eyes, the future of the insurance industry – although they are also relevant in other sectors. Point of Sale offerings, he reiterates, present truly new and valuable opportunities for insurers looking to expand their products and services.

“Chubb was one of the early movers on embedded insurance, through airlines many years ago. Then we expanded partnering with ride-hailing companies, super apps, and fintechs. We are the leaders in some markets and territories, in terms of volumes and experience.”

“We truly believe embedded insurance provides the means for each platform to be able to provide really meaningful insurance products to their customers in a seamless experience. With one click, we can increase protection for customers and create incremental sources of revenue for our partners. It’s a win-win situation.”

It is this connectivity that will result in a smaller protection gap for end-user customers – especially those in emerging markets, which, says Lazaro, is the ultimate goal. “I strongly believe that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There are more than four billion people connected to the internet right now, and the digital economy, through partnerships and ecosystems, will be worth trillions of dollars.

“It’s inspiring to be leading in this journey.”

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