Laying the Digital Foundation for Becoming an Innovative Insurer

Share this post:

How IBM’s ability to simplify IT service management with cloud freed AXA to accelerate its digital transformation, drive innovation, and reimagine their customer value proposition.

For AXA Hong Kong and Macau (AXA), the market landscape was changing fast. A strong international customer base built by offering protection, wealth management, and retirement solutions was no longer enough. As the industry was going to digital, we had to become customer-first and an innovator.

With over 1.5 million customers in Hong Kong and Macau, we began on a companywide business transformation journey. The strategy to become an innovative insurer centered on three pillars: having the digital backbone, becoming a digital business, and creating a digital ecosystem.

The first pillar was to be the foundation and critical to the transformation journey. It will provide stability, availability, and security we needed.

We knew we could not do this alone. A technology partner will help. Not just another technology vendor, but one who understood the insurance market, the insurer’s internal environment, and the ability to address critical challenges along the journey.

This vendor also needed to address a significant challenge: legacy apps. The new digital transformation partner needed the know-how and skillset to support these apps from multiple vendors using an ITIL management framework.

These are the reasons why we finally chose IBM Services.

Simplifying IT complexity

From the onset, IBM Services centralized all IT support and service management using the cloud. It simplified vendor management complexity and drove better stability and availability. We could also explore, experiment, and pivot as the market demanded without being bogged down by administration tasks.

IBM Global Business Services adopted a methodology titled the “Next Generation Application Management Services.” We immediately saw the value in this new application management method that relied on new cognitive and cloud technologies and automation to deliver services.

The new methodology raised service levels and ensured low-touch management. It also helped our IT team shift left, allowing them to test and troubleshoot earlier in the software development process. It improved the quality of their apps and reinforced customer trust. What impressed me was IBM’s willingness to back their skills and knowledge by delivering results. They were also willing to take the risk to be proactive and not wait for us to tell them what to do.

IBM Services’ strong track record on implementing large-scale, enterprise-grade application management services played a pivotal role in the project success. The in-depth experience proved critical in successfully transiting over 60 core applications within three months.

IBM’s breadth of knowledge in hybrid cloud and emerging technologies, gave us confidence in our transformation journey. Partnership is like a marriage — you listen and observe, and both parties take time to understand each other. It made them a valuable partner as we took new steps to create the first pillar.

Unshackling insurance innovation

IBM Services’ proactive partnership created immediate benefits.

We saw a 86% improvement in man-hours lost and a 18% reduction in critical incidents reported. System stability and availability improved, while automated IT health checks kept our entire infrastructure in shape. At the same time, proactive maintenance measures helped detect and address issues very early.

This transformation simplified support. It made us more agile in an increasingly digital market while creating a healthy working relationship that addressed challenges rapidly. We also did not have to worry about supporting our legacy environment.

With IBM Services onboard, we can now confidently lay the foundation for the next two pillars of the transformation journey — becoming a digital business and creating a digital ecosystem. They also help us to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving market landscape.

About AXA Hong Kong and Macau

AXA Hong Kong and Macau, a member of the AXA Group, prides itself on serving over 1.5 million customers[1] with our superior products and services. AXA is the top-tier life insurer in Hong Kong with the longest history[2] and is ranked No. 2 in insurance — life, health (stock) category worldwide[3]. In addition to being the No. 1 global Property & Casualty commercial lines insurer[4], we are the No. 1 most considered insurance brand in Hong Kong[5]. We are also one of the largest health protection providers in Hong Kong and Macau.

AXA is one of the most diversified insurers, providing a full range of coverage for individual and commercial customers. We offer all-round, integrated solutions across Life, Health and Property & Casualty to address all of our customers’ insurance needs.

As an innovative insurer, we leverage Big Data and AI to transform the customer experience end-to-end, making insurance simpler and more personal. We continue to drive innovation notably in health and protection, supporting customers in prevention, treatment and recovery.

We also believe it is our inherent responsibility to support the communities in which we operate. AXA Foundation is our flagship corporate social responsibility program covering all our efforts in promoting holistic wellbeing and supporting the underprivileged to create a positive and lasting impact in the communities of Hong Kong and Macau.

[1] Including customers of AXA China Region Insurance Company Limited, AXA China Region Insurance Company (Bermuda) Limited

[2] Top tier insurers are defined based on the annualised premiums of Individual Direct New Business (Classes A to F) of Statistics on Hong Kong Long Term  Insurance Business published by the Insurance Authority

[3] 2020 Fortune Global 500

[4] AXA Corporate Solutions, AXA Matrix Risk Consultants, AXA Insurance Company, and AXA Art with AXA XL’s insurance and reinsurance operations combined

[5] AXA Hong Kong Brand Preference Tracking Report 2019


CIO, AXA UK & Ireland (former CTO, AXA Hong Kong)

More Cloud stories

混合雲應用增 機密運算、量子安全加密、完全同態加密增企業信心

(文章於2021年3月31日在香港經濟日報網站刊登) 有云「牛轉乾坤」,儘管今年的前景對企業而言或未明朗,但我們還是能作出一些技術相關的預測。 首先,即使是敏感和嚴格監管的行業也將繼續向混合雲轉移,但企業在過程中,需要採用多方面措施,應對安全威脅的不斷演變。而機密運算(Confidential Computing)、量子安全加密、完全同態加密(FHE,Fully Homomorphic Encryption)等安全技術將有助鞏固企業的信心。

Continue reading

企業重啟數碼轉型 配對初創力量可加速突破

(文章於2020年11月30日在香港經濟日報網站刊登) 現時全球的政經局勢未算明朗,惟經濟周期循環不息,加上香港人擅長打「逆境波」,大家都相信,總會有雨過天晴的一天。 對於香港的營商環境而言,今年有兩項來自資訊科技範疇的利好因素。首先,政府將於今年稍後公布新版本的《香港智慧城市藍圖 》,繼續推動香港建設智慧城市的工作。此外,5G流動通訊服務也在香港推出。部分具前瞻性的本地企業,已在積極部署,希望借助上述因素,加快重回增長軌道。

Continue reading

Creating the Foundation for Finance Transformation

  At Generali Hong Kong, we knew it was time to transform our way of doing business. We were growing fast in a market that was also evolving quickly. There has always been a need to reduce the complexity in the way insurance business is conducted without compromising the regulations, and with rising customer expectations […]

Continue reading