IAG, Insurance Australia Group, is the largest general insurance company in Australia and New Zealand. But moreover, they live and breathe innovation. In terms of vision, strategy and making this happen, they are way ahead of similar size insurance carriers. That’s why we we’re very pleased that Inge Cootjans, the director of IAG’s Firemark Labs sat down with us to share their journey and plans. Firemark Labs focuses on creating, acquiring and partnering with cutting edge ventures which operate beyond the traditional insurance vertical, in ecosystems such as ‘work’, ‘shelter’ and ‘mobility’. A perfect way to get access to new customer segments and to open totally new revenue streams.
Last year, IAG announced setting up a new division, focused on strategy and innovation to build a technological edge. Digital is really top of the agenda at IAG. Can you share a bit more?
“Yes. For us, the objective of digital strategy is really to accelerate and enable our corporate strategy, informed by our technology strategy. What we're trying to do is really capture the value and the potential that's created by digital technologies and capabilities. This involves thinking about how we can deploy that and put us ahead of competitors or disruptors that might enter the category.
If you zoom in on our digital strategy, you can see that it stretches across three different horizons. First, we try to digitize our core business, and the way we work. Second, we also try to grow value through innovation and innovating how we serve and what we offer our customers; increasing our customer base and the relationships that we have. The third horizon is more around reimagining the business, creating new digital businesses, new offerings. Entering new markets outside of insurance, to actually bring in new to IAG customers. This also includes new digital models, and offering connected products and services.”
Looking at the third horizon, I think that's where Firemark also comes into play. Can you share a bit about what Firemark is? There is Firemark Ventures, Firemark Labs in Singapore, Firemark Labs in Sydney and Auckland. Can you explain a bit more what they do and how they differ?
“Of course. Firemark was created a few years ago, acknowledging the fact that we needed to look beyond insurance. We needed to look at insurtech, but also beyond insurance. So, we set up various labs that enable us to unlock some of those opportunities.
At Firemark Labs we use evidence based kind of experimentation models to rapidly dive into opportunities that we see; and shape those opportunities. We identify new ventures, but look especially at desirability, feasibility and viability. And how we can shape these opportunities in a way so that they link to our purpose; which is ‘we make your world a safer place’. It is about really addressing the customer need and removing customer pain points. Of course we also look at the various assets that are in place to create ventures that we can actually scale. We've developed a framework that enables us not only to identify those opportunities, but all the way to scaling ventures as well.”
So, Firemark Labs ANZ is about creating new ventures and new business models yourself; not necessarily in insurance. How about Finmark Labs Singapore?
“Firemark Labs works of course along similar principles. Their focus is probably slightly more tech focused. They have direct access to the Asian economy and interesting technologies that we see there. T">
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