The end of insurance as we know it: Discovery

Adrian Gore, Global Chief Executive at Discovery, discusses how they don’t leave innovation to chance, making sure it is a mentality that is instilled throughout the company.

Publish date: 25 January 2021
Author: Discovery
Theme : Innovation

What makes your company truly innovative?

Discovery pioneered the Vitality Shared-Value insurance model, in which incentives are used to create behavioral change, which is then priced into financial services. The model has proven its efficacy across insurance lines for delivering tangible business benefits; benefits to our customers (improved health, wealth, and driving) and to broader society (healthier more productive society, with fewer road accidents and a stronger savings culture). The model is exported and scaled through the Global Vitality Network, an alliance of some of the largest insurers across key markets including AIA (Asia), Ping An (China), Generali (Europe), Sumitomo (Japan), John Hancock (US), Manulife (Canada) and Vitality Life & Health (UK, wholly owned). Now present in over 24 countries, the business model reaches over 16 million members; and has been globally recognized as leading the industry and taught as a case study of a born shared-value organization by Michael Porter at Harvard Business School.

What are the major goals and results obtained from your ongoing innovation strategy? 

The Discovery Vitality Shared-Value Insurance model has been academically validated, with those highly engaged in the program demonstrating 10% lower hospital admissions, 10-30% lower hospital costs, and 15-20% higher life expectancy. Reinsurers have also validated the long-term mortality impact of Vitality, where on average Vitality members have 42% improved mortality, and highly engaged members have up to 76% reduction in mortality. The model's proven success and differentiated value offering has seen it being exported to new markets through partnerships with leading global insurers, who have benefited from increased sales and similar actuarial improvements. Discovery and this Global Vitality Network have jointly committed to making people healthier, and their collective goal is to make 100 million people 20% more physically active by 2025, and the empirical evidence of how this will benefit society is profound.

How is a culture of innovation achieved across your company?

Discovery's corporate culture is one that encourages disruptive thinking and instead of leaving innovation to spontaneous chance, feels it needs to be instilled and be time-based. Discovery has dedicated R&D teams across businesses that drive yearly product updates. These teams work closely with all operational areas to develop ideas into products and solutions that benefit clients across markets. As a result of these annual, scheduled launches, Discovery has introduced over 150 product innovations since 2013. There are also annual corporate programs / contests that spur innovation. The Inspiring Excellence contest invites anyone in the organization to submit a business idea with CEO mentorship and constant iteration to develop the best three ideas, which get awarded implementation prizes. An annual actuarial contest sees actuarial teams from across the business conduct new analyses or value-generating actuarial concepts with the top 10 ideas being showcased at an annual actuarial conference.

How does your company manage the overall innovation process?

Ideas are generated across the business. Each innovation goes through a rigorous review process to assess value, cost, and efficiency, and receives board approval. The research and development teams manage areas across the business that have to implement or make system updates to accommodate the innovation. Strict project plans guide set launch dates. Product ideas are conceived early in a year, market announcements occur around September and, following finalization, new products or services are available by the beginning of the next calendar year. In implementing innovations, Discovery always selects partners that assist in offering high-quality service and experiences.

Download the full paper "Innovation in insurance: The end of insurance as we know it" and read the other exclusive interviews.

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