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Home / Insurance / Discovery – a holistic, ongoing innovation story | Insurance blog

Discovery – a holistic, ongoing innovation story | Insurance blog



The Qorus-Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards are proud to celebrate the world’s leading innovators in the industry. The awards’ ultimate accolade – Global Innovator 2022 – recognizes an insurance business that not only manifests innovation in fresh, exciting ways, but lives innovation through its strategy and daily practices. This year, there was no doubt about it Discovered embodied what it truly means to be a global innovator in insurance. Its innovation practices provide inspiring lessons for all insurers and related businesses as they navigate a changing economic landscape.

Laying a foundation for innovation

Discovery is well known for its shared value model, most notably its Vitality product which is based on the idea that if a health or life insurer focuses on making people healthier and changing their behaviour, their risk profile will change for the better.

Gareth FriedlanderVice President of Discovery Life, says, “As the Vitality product has grown and matured in our business, it has become apparent how powerful this shared value model is across various financial industries. It really challenges the idea of ​​risk as a static indicator. Rather, risk is strongly influenced by behavior and eighty percent of morbidity in healthcare risk is driven by factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity and diet.When driving, 60 percentage of fatal accidents is a result of behavior alone. If insurance companies can change customer behavior and help them make better choices, then the risk curve changes.”

This core idea of ​​Vitality̵

7;s shared value model has proven to be powerful and replicable across geographies and industries. By building a business centered around a clear sense of purpose, continuous innovation and customer needs, the possibilities for future innovation are endless.

While it certainly helps for insurance companies to innovate in response to market changes, that should not be the raison d’être for innovation. Friedlander says: “Our view is that innovation is proactive and not reactive. Innovation in Discovery is institutional rather than event-based or spontaneous.” This is reflected in its disciplined innovation cadence across the business, where employees from all parts of the business are encouraged to regularly contribute innovation ideas.

Being prepared for change when it happens

In Accenture’s recently released Digital Health Technology Vision for 202297 percent of healthcare executives believed that continuous advances in technology are becoming more reliable than economic, political or social trends in informing their organization’s long-term strategy. Regarding Discovery’s innovation in the context of the covid-19 pandemic, its existing technology and innovation infrastructure meant that it was well suited to respond to some of the unique challenges brought about by the global pandemic and changes in technology use in the industry. .

Discovery’s Vaccination Max PayBack product, a silver winner in the category Social, Sustainable and Responsible, is an example. Although created in response to a global event, the innovation was enabled by Discovery’s existing shared value model and innovation infrastructure. “The initiative was created in a context of slow vaccine deployment and increased skepticism about the vaccine, due to a lack of awareness and education about the vaccine. As a company, we felt a social responsibility to drive behavior and increase vaccination rates quickly. This social responsibility perfectly aligned with our business goals, dramatically reduced the risks and rewarded people for getting vaccinated, says Friedlander.

Vaccination Max PayBack guarantees customers up to 100% of their first year’s premiums back in cash when they are fully vaccinated against covid-19 to help South Africa’s vaccination program, leveraging the shared value model to refund up to R182 million in premiums at the end of the first insurance year and improve insurance capacity in the process.

He adds, “When we started the initiative, we had to move quickly and find solutions without the normal control towards the market. It felt good for us, for the community and for our customers, even if we didn’t really know the quantities yet.” It turned out they were right, there was an extremely positive reception from clients, with eighty percent completing their vaccinations, a number higher than most developed countries.

Shared value – what the data says

As a life insurer operating in the eye of that pandemic storm, it was only natural that Discovery turned its focus wholeheartedly to innovations that would help its customers protect themselves against its risks and cope with its impact. Products such as Discovery Hospital at home provided clients with access to world-class telehealth, digital tools for members and physicians, and remote monitoring devices to enable real-time tracking of clinical progress and rapid delivery of care. Discovery Strength in Unity supported South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination program and created nine vaccination sites to supplement capacity.

Before the pandemic, Discovery knew that incentivizing clients helped reduce health risks associated with behaviors within their control. However, this has not been widely used in the case of a widespread infectious disease. What they found that it had an even stronger potential in the context of COVID-19.

Friedlander says, “When covid-19 emerged, it was a new risk that no one had data on and people were trying to understand. Because Discovery has possibly one of the largest integrated datasets in the world, our actuaries were able to lean into the challenge and analyze the triggers and levers required to change death rates. Throughout the pandemic, it was a priority for us to get our hands dirty in the data to try to get better results.”

Wellbeing as part of a wider ESG agenda

At the heart of Discovery’s innovation is the idea of ​​what it means to feel good – as an individual and as a society. This well-being extends beyond healthcare to finance, infrastructure and the environment. Discovery’s other winning innovations in the Qorus Innovation in Insurance Awards included Healthy Future Calculator, Motion warning and Pothole Patrol. The Healthy Futures Calculator analyzes an individual customer’s unique biometrics to give them a basic overview of their health (including predicted lifespan and health), and provides personalized, science-based recommendations and insights to improve both measures. Motion Alert uses telematics technology to detect when a vehicle may have been stolen, alerts the owner and initiates vehicle recovery services automatically. Pothole Patrol, in partnership with Dialdirect Insurance and the City of Johannesburg, manages and repairs potholes to make the roads safer, using a pothole reporting app. Each of these innovations helps Discovery customers live better lives and make better, more educated decisions about various aspects of their well-being, as well as creating additional value for society at large.

What comes next

Looking ahead, Discovery’s commitment to innovation shows no signs of slowing down. “We have successfully created a disruptive mindset across the business. Innovation is at the heart of our business and has been institutionalized across all touchpoints with ongoing and enthusiastic management support,” said Friedlander.

In the near future, Discovery will continue its focus on technology and personalization. Friedlander adds, “Technology continues to be a wonderful opportunity to collect data on behavior change. As humans, we need feedback to change behavior, and wearables provide us with this rich and relevant data in real time. Along with our broader insight into health data and trends the effect is powerful.

People are motivated by different things, so we continue to strive to design products that are personal to each of our customers.”

Discovery is an example of what can be achieved when innovation is imagined, lived and applied in an insurance business consistently and with purpose. We congratulate them on being our Innovator of the Year for 2022.


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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used as a substitute for consultation with our professional advisors.
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