AXA’s customer-centric digital transformation journey is refining the art of the possible to unite business with technology at one of the world’s biggest insurers


AXA is a leading global insurer offering a range of services to its customers across home, travel, health, business and more. Challenged with improving customer experience (CX) across these verticals, and accelerating the tech transformation for the business in the UK & Ireland, CIO Darrell Ryman brings a wealth of experience to the role having previously overseen AXA’s IT strategy as its Chief Technology Officer in Hong Kong.

A transformation strategy

The UK & Ireland arm of AXA is placing momentum behind its digital transformation journey, and what better guide to take the business on this journey than a CIO who has navigated similar challenges at AXA Hong Kong by focusing on three pillars: developing a digital backbone, becoming a digital business and creating a digital ecosystem.

“A digital transformation is both a challenge and an opportunity for most insurers,” reflects Ryman. “Many of the legacy systems insurance firms use are now outdated and based on the nine-to-five business operating model – they’re not designed for the modern digital experience.”

In pivoting to the new digital world Ryman highlights the focus on the customer. “They could start their interaction with an insurer, like AXA, by doing some research on its website. They may get a couple of quotes but then go offline to talk to someone in a call centre, or perhaps a broker, before returning to the online scenario – this is omnichannel.

“So, being able to capture and track a customer’s activities is super important to make sure you’re servicing their needs. In understanding what it is they really want to do, clean data, organised in a way that you can actually consume intelligently, is essential.”

Future-proofed CX

“Customers want more than just policies,” continues Ryman. “Our digital focus is opening up new opportunities around distribution channels, partners and additional services. We saw this with our transformation in Asia where it used to be a race to the bottom of the pricing barrel to get the cheapest policy and then a customer would make a claim.

“Customers have become savvier and even if they’re paying a low price, they want something additional from their insurer now. They’re looking for value with more regular interaction. We’re not going to be able to provide all these services ourselves, so it’s important to partner wisely with other organisations that compliment your policies with partner services. This drives the value dimension and improves what you offer customers in real terms of being able to help them from a day-to-day perspective, rather than just contacting you each year for renewal – it’s a change of mindset.”

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