Technology, social inclusion and regulatory innovations in the insurance industry in Europe

The Microinsurance Network attended the 2017 FARAD Finance Forum which took place in Luxembourg earlier this month. Organised by FARAD International, an independent insurance broker specialised in the Private Life Insurance sector, the event was held as a full-day forum for the first time, and brought together players of the three pillars of the financial industry: the banking sector, the insurance industry and investment funds.

Because of distribution inequalities in today’s world, the financial sector is more and more interested in the social and solidarity economy concept, be it in Europe or the USA. “This sector is starting to uncover opportunities in new technologies and social innovation while offering new investment opportunities”, explained Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg’s Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy.

In terms of insurance regulations a discussion revolved around the Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD) voted by the European Parliament and published in the Official Journal of the European Union in February 2016. Although aimed as minimum harmonisation, the new European Directive introduces several significant changes and challenges namely on strengthening consumer protection in the insurance field by tightening rules on the information and advice provided by insurance undertakings, insisting on the training of insurance product distributors and transparency of information provided. Since many players today are involved in selling insurance products, from traditional insurance companies and bancassurance[1] to companies offering car rental services, the IDD concerns all actors, from insurance intermediaries, insurance comparators and other insurance distributors.

According to Marie-Hélène Massard, AXA-Luxembourg’s CEO, the insurance industry today, needs to stay competitive, become specialised in terms of product offerings and be able to integrate challenges of cyber risks in product development. In order to answer these emerging trends, AXA Group has initiated a number of innovation structures that are summarised below:

AXA Labs

Based in Shanghai and in San Francisco, AXA’s two Labs are designed to detect innovation and identify talented entrepreneurs, emerging trends and new customer needs. The aim is to nurture partnerships with the most promising start-ups and replicate the best-performing models.

The Labs work closely with the Group’s other innovation structures: Kamet, AXA Strategic Ventures, AXA Partners, and AXA’s Digital Partnerships team. 


Kamet is an incubator of technological innovation, devoted to creating innovative companies in the insurance and asset management sectors. Its aim is to launch, incubate, and build by teaming with the most talented entrepreneurs, and supplying the resources (advice, methods, structures and financing) they need to grow and achieve their ambitions. Initially equipped with EUR 100 million, the incubator’s main objective is to envisage, initiate and accompany disruptive InsurTech projects.

AXA Strategic Ventures

AXA Strategic Ventures is AXA’s dedicated FinTech and InsurTech investment fund. Endowed with EUR 230 million, this international fund invests in start-up companies all around the world at different growth stages: the seed stage or a later growth stage.

AXA Partners & AXA Digital Partnerships

These teams engage AXA in partnerships with innovative companies to reinvent products and services and how they are distributed. These partnerships and investments allow AXA to remain in the leading position in digital and technological developments and offer innovative services to better anticipate and meet the needs of its customers.

About FARAD Group: FARAD (Finance, Insurance, Research, Analysis and Distribution – in French) is a B Corps[2] and acknowledges the importance of inclusion by supporting a number of social responsibility projects.  “As a B Corps, we support investments in the research component of the European Association against Leukodystrophy. Leukodystrophy being a genetic disease that destroys the central nervous system in children and adults” - Marco Caldana, CEO, FARAD Group

Jenny Nasr is the Senior Development Coordinator at the Microinsurance Network and represented the Network at the 2017 FARAD Finance Forum.

[1] The bank insurance model (BIM), also sometimes known as bancassurance is the partnership or relationship between a bank and an insurance company, whereby the insurance company uses the bank sales channel in order to sell insurance products.

[2] B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.