AXA Switzerland: Future-proofing the insurance business to help clients in a changing world

About AXA Switzerland

AXA Switzerland is a Swiss insurance company and subsidiary of French group AXA. With a diversified product portfolio, an 18.6% market share, and 1.9 million insured customers, AXA Switzerland is number one in the Swiss insurance market.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Switzerland

About Wabion AG

Wabion is a cloud-specialized service provider and Google Cloud Premier Partner enabling digital transformation for businesses around the world.

AXA Switzerland uses Google Cloud analytics solutions to boost internal processes and develop services beyond what traditional insurers offer, helping customers navigate a fast-changing world.

Google Cloud results

  • Improves internal processes by automating labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks
  • Enables the improvement of customer experience through insights that create more meaningful conversations
  • Reduces query and development times by 20% to 30%

Enables data-driven insights to develop new services

The insurance industry is in the midst of a big shake-up. Changes in customer behavior, regulations, and technology are moving fast, and the only way to keep up with them is to embrace change too. Having realized this early on, AXA Switzerland is leading the way towards innovation in the Swiss insurance market and carrying its tradition of 143 years into the future with Google Cloud technology.

"With Google Cloud, we’re modernizing our infrastructure to adopt new algorithm technologies that will help us enhance value for our customers and develop services beyond what traditional insurers have ever been able to offer. For this major step, we wanted the best technology, architecture, algorithms, assets, and data science community."

Carmelo Iantosca, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, AXA Switzerland

With a market share of 18.6%, AXA Switzerland is the number one insurance company in Switzerland and plans on keeping its position for the long run. “We’re transforming our business model from traditional and analog, to innovative and digital,” says Carmelo Iantosca, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at AXA Switzerland. “It has become very clear to us that to remain number one in the market, we must leverage technology and become data-driven.” He continues: “With Google Cloud, we’re modernizing our infrastructure to adopt new algorithm technologies that will help us enhance value for our customers and develop services beyond what traditional insurers have ever been able to offer. For this major step, we wanted the best technology, architecture, algorithms, assets, and data science community.”

AXA Switzerland is a subsidiary of the French group AXA. But, being large and autonomous enough to make decisions independently, the Swiss subsidiary has become the first within the group to exchange its on-premises infrastructure for a partnership with Google Cloud to fulfill this ambition.

Using data and analytics to future-proof insurance services

Amit Jain, Head of Data Science and Strategic Data Management at AXA Switzerland, and Carmelo are all too aware that the insurance industry isn’t the only one undergoing changes. AXA Switzerland offers a varied product portfolio that spans car, liability, health, life insurance, and pension solutions. So they closely observe how transformations in other industries are altering the risk landscape they must work with.

The automotive industry, for example, is shifting its business model as it, apart from selling cars, also offers car rentals inclusive of insurance and maintenance (customers pay per month or per mile usage). On the other hand, self-driving cars start to alter the mobility risk landscape.

By adopting solutions such as BigQuery, Dataflow, and Cloud Functions, AXA Switzerland aims to gain cross-industry insights about future trends and customer preferences so it can continue to provide relevant advice in a fast-changing world. “Data and analytics will help our product managers and customer experience specialists to identify new or unknown customer needs and personalize the convenience of our services in many ways,” Amit explains. “By joining our various sources of data together, we’ll be able to avoid silos, so we can make better risk predictions, detect fraud cases in different business areas, and optimize our core business.”

Modernizing infrastructure to improve processes and services

To uncover such insights, AXA Switzerland needed to adopt new technologies that required a modernization of its entire IT landscape. “Our previous on-prem infrastructure wouldn’t allow us to innovate as much and as fast as we wanted to,” says Carmelo. After evaluating different cloud providers, AXA Switzerland chose the flexible Google Cloud multi-cloud approach. This means that its developers can now write a cloud-native application once, then run it on-premises, on Google Cloud, or on other clouds, with no change in infrastructure.

“We did a proof of concept to evaluate whether migrating to Google Cloud was the right move for us, and discovered that it gives us a much more scalable, modern technology to use that helps us be more efficient and even save some money,” says Carmelo.

“With our previous database, some of our complex queries could take a whole weekend to process. But BigQuery is a really powerful technology. It’s fast and scales seemingly endlessly. We’ve already noticed a significant decrease, often to seconds. And our most complex computations now take a few minutes.”

Amit Jain, Head of Data Science & Strategic Data Management, AXA Switzerland

AXA Switzerland is working closely with a Google Cloud Technical Account Management team to learn in-depth about the new tools its team can access on the cloud and how to make the most of them. “Google Cloud brings us valuable ideas and gives us access to experts from many industries, not just insurance. This gives us new stimuli for innovating as a business without having to wait for our own industry to catch up,” says Carmelo.

AXA Switzerland is still finalizing the design phase and migrating its existing data lake. Meanwhile, the company is already using Dataflow for data engineering, Pub/Sub and BigQuery for ingesting data and enabling analysis, and Cloud Storage for a safe and reliable way to store and access information used for the running of everyday business operations.

“With our previous database, some of our complex queries could take a whole weekend to process. But BigQuery is a really powerful technology. It’s fast and scales seemingly endlessly. We’ve already noticed a significant decrease, often to seconds. And our most complex computations now take a few minutes,” says Amit, who also celebrates no longer dealing with complex on-premises infrastructure. “When you join hundreds of servers on-premises, there’s always a risk of something going wrong,” he says. “Whereas with Google Cloud, all you have to do is show up because you can totally rely on it working.”

“When customers call to report any incidents, we want them to have the smoothest possible experience. Google Cloud helps us provide that with automation solutions that improve our internal processes and analytics solutions that help us give more relevant advice to each customer.”

Carmelo Iantosca, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, AXA Switzerland

Aiming to leverage this improvement to provide a smoother and more rewarding experience for other departments too, AXA Switzerland is improving the internal processes for its customer operations employees, who still handle labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks that can be refined through automation and AI. Ultimately, customers will also benefit from faster and more valuable interactions.

“With our new technology in place, we’ll help employees by automating some of their tasks, but also by augmenting their tools,” Carmelo explains. “When customers call to report any incidents, we want them to have the smoothest possible experience. Google Cloud helps us provide that with automation solutions that improve our internal processes and analytics solutions that help us give more relevant advice to each customer. It’s such a pleasure to see customer satisfaction rising, thanks to the actions of AXA‘s Customer Experience, Distribution, and Product Responsibles, where we can help with the most relevant results from data. It’s amazing to see smiles on the faces of our employees working in this new environment as well, and this helps attract new talent.“

To implement its modernization plans, AXA Switzerland also partnered with cloud-specialized service provider Wabion, a Google Cloud Premier Partner. Wabion is helping AXA set up its analytics platform and its Transmission Control Protocol, so application programs can exchange data via a network conversation.

“We were fascinated by AXA Switzerland’s clear vision, whose general viability had been demonstrated in its proof of concept,” shares Heiko Timmerkamp, Wabion’s Engagement Lead for AXA Switzerland. “Building on this initial idea, we systematically helped AXA Switzerland to reach an industrialized and compliant setup. Together we designed the best foundational configuration of Google Cloud for uncompromised security, easy-to-maintain automation, and integration with AXA Switzerland’s CI/CD processes. This AXA Switzerland ’version’ of the Google Cloud platform ensures AXA Switzerland is able to make the best use of the products most suited to their needs and is aligned with its strict compliance regulations."

The partnership is also helping AXA Switzerland ensure that its operations are integrated so that once the migration is concluded, it will have a unified and fully functioning new working environment.

Staying safe and worthy of customers’ trust

As industries rush to digitally innovate, cyberattackers increasingly find opportunities to strike. AXA Switzerland is paying attention: “We already insure 40% of the companies in Switzerland, and we were one of the first in the country to bring cybersecurity insurance to them,” says Carmelo.

Meanwhile, the protection of AXA Switzerland’s own customers’ data is another top priority. “In trusting us with the security of their finances and health, our customers are also trusting us with the protection of their information,” says Carmelo. “And we take that very seriously.”

With that in mind, AXA Switzerland carefully examined the data protection safeguards and security compliance of cloud providers when deciding to become a data-driven company. “Google Cloud offers us an absolutely professional service which keeps our data safe. It’s important to clarify this, as some might hesitate to hand their data to a third party because of cybersecurity concerns,” says Carmelo. “We’ve done our research and we have found out that Google Cloud meets the highest data protection and security standards. This means that the only party that can access any kind of information from AXA on Google Cloud is AXA, and no one else.”

In this fast-changing world, AXA Switzerland is taking strides in the race to become the insurers of the future, as it not only embraces technological changes, but reinvents itself to future-proof its entire business model.

“We want to be personal in how we interact with our customers, proactive in helping them avoid problems, and progressive in how we innovate,” says Carmelo. “In other words: we’re leveraging innovation to go beyond the traditional boundaries of an insurance company and fulfill our customers’ future needs.”

About AXA Switzerland

AXA Switzerland is a Swiss insurance company and subsidiary of French group AXA. With a diversified product portfolio, an 18.6% market share, and 1.9 million insured customers, AXA Switzerland is number one in the Swiss insurance market.

Industries: Financial Services & Insurance
Location: Switzerland

About Wabion AG

Wabion is a cloud-specialized service provider and Google Cloud Premier Partner enabling digital transformation for businesses around the world.