Jean-Marc Pailhol, Head of Global Market Management and Distribution at Allianz, spoke with Oliver Wyman’s Prashanth Gangu at InsureTech Connect 2018 about how partnering with the Olympics will push Allianz to innovate and keep in step with technological change. Insurers not only have to keep up with innovation in the marketplace and manage their downside risks, but sometimes they also have to force themselves to innovate. The question is how?
Connecting with new, innovative businesses is one way. Take passenger drones. By 2020, there will be autonomous passenger drones in Shanghai and Dubai. But those businesses cannot get started without insurance – and because of that, insurers have an opportunity to help open this new sector as the business launches, providing coverage and also investing in those businesses. “To transform ourselves, we need to be part of the larger transformation,” according to Jean-Marc, explaining that being involved with technological innovation from the very beginning makes it easier to create new insurance solutions.
The Olympic Games represent a similar opportunity. Allianz will be the official insurer of the Olympic Games from 2021 to 2028. As such, they will provide products like fleet and casualty insurance to the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, which represents the International Olympic Committee, the National Committee, and the host city, and is charged with organizing transportation, lodging, medical services, and other logistical necessities.
Specifically, during its tenure Allianz will work with China’s National Committee and the city of Beijing and the US National Committee and the city of Los Angeles. Jean-Marc notes that this “obliges” the company to make its products more widely available in those two, very large markets, where its footprint is currently limited.
This use of sports partnerships is not new for Allianz. They are also a partner of the Worldwide Paralympics, ABB FIA Formula E Championship (electric-powered car racing), and the Drone Racing League. The way that Pailhol sees it, partnering with these sports leagues can help Allianz gain access to new technology companies. So Allianz often plays a dual role as investor and insurer, helping new technology companies innovate and mitigate risk. “The sport itself is like the emerging part of an iceberg,” Jean-Marc observes. "We have to transform ourselves and participate."