Munich Re offers a real clarity to their innovating future

The most impressive presentation I reviewed in 2017 was the one from Munich Re, held on 21st November 2017 under their investor day link

This, for me, was so well structured and offered such a high level of clarity on the pathway they are pursuing, combining innovation and digital, with the outcomes emerging, of building a new suite of Business Models.

I can only simply touch on it here, I suggest you do your own drawing of conclusions.

The Insurance industry has been struggling to adjust and adapt to the rapid changes occurring yet so many are hanging onto the traditional way of doing things. It is so refreshing to see how Munich Re are venturing out, exploring and exploiting, in multiple ways to learn a new innovation pathway.

I follow the two big Re-Insurers, Swiss Re and Munich Re specifically and the innovative differences are quite significant. Swiss Re seems locked far more into traditions and I am still to be convinced they have yet to embrace innovation, certainly from an external perspective, in the same way as Munich Re is undertaking. I struggle with Swiss Re’s messages on where they are exploring the future of Insurance. The way I view, it seems far more unclear, even random, they seem far more closed down with isolated attempts to explore opportunities.  Whereas Munich Re is constantly opening up to change, exploring and seems far more comprehensive and holistic. It seems one is undertaking “words are simply spoken” the other “actions underscored”. Maybe I am wrong.

The reason I found the Investor Day presentation so good was its comprehensive coverage of the way those involved on the day covered the Framework and Infrastructure initially, then explained through different examples their Business Transformation journey, and how these parts are extending out for their total offering, in exploring new business models and solution offerings.

If only the vast majority of Corporate Organizations could set about describing their transformation in such a concise and visual way.  It would give such a raise on the clarity of what is being explored, experimented with, and embedded, besides showing clearly if innovation is central and core, or simply given “lip service”.

All I can achieve here is in this post, is first, a real praise for the presentation and provide just a few ‘teasers’ from a presentation deck that is 140 slides long. You get such a strong feeling of how digital and innovation are being combined in new ways from this.

They not only provide a foundation and a clarification of where innovation fits but they provide a clear outline of the ongoing progress and at the results to date.

Munich Re is “forming an interlocking business model” in what they are currently undergoing. One that is providing a growing range of digital solutions and indicating how active they are in continuously transforming and extending their business. They take this opportunity to discuss, through selective projects, the level of detail that gives you a good undercurrent of their commitment and belief, in the transforming they are undertaking, one of searching for innovation synergies in all of what they are exploring.

They are looking to enable technology and digital innovation to improving their 1) existing business models, looking to 2) disrupt existing business models and 3) establish new business models in selective insurance sectors, to continuously learn and adapt. This updating is on sales, retention and service outlooks. They are looking to put into place “best user experience” where they can through digital and customer-centric platforms. They are looking to become, where possible the virtual insurance company from what they are learning and experimenting with.

As like many other industries, Munich Re is building a new digital factory that taps into the trends occurring across industries (Industry 4.0 for example) and in managing risk in different ways. They are looking to work through new risk scenario’s, extend insurability and risk mitigation or prevention, add new products, solutions, and new extended services and open themselves up to a more hybrid customer ecosystem, serving across multiple channels. All of this with the aim of having efficiency increases and growing automation.

Within this Munich Re have recognized that the transforming occurring across industries from standard products, established borders is requiring different system solutions and different investments

Part of this set of solutions is building out the digital ecosystem they see as essential where data analytics, predictive analytics and basically looking to further exploit turning data into value and risk assessment becomes paramount.

The mix of digital ingredients and having the approach to building a more agile, flexible and modular design approach gives a strong impression they are driving much innovation within the Insurance Industry. As they continue to make further strategic investments and investments in their innovation they will continue to push the boundaries for transforming the industry. For example, they illustrate the Canadian approach to their digital marketing platform.

Without a doubt the presentation was well-structured. It shows this is a journey they are embarking on and you get that clarity from the commitment from the top in exploring avenues that can lead to new opportunity or new learning. This is no finished roadmap but it does give investors and multiple stakeholders a really decent understanding of how Munich Re are managing their transformational journey

In a further update in January 2018, I have lifted out this slide from the Equity Story on why you should invest in Munich Re. Two points come across, a vigorous management attention and a strong attention to a cohesive business strategy that explores transforming ideas into tangible results in investments, experiments and learning for moving towards a tangible business impact

An excellent job of communicating the Innovation Story in my mind

The whole value of approaching the story of innovation in this way, provided by Munich Re, can be such an example to so many others, a template for communicating out the digital innovation story. It strikes me that Munich Re is recognizing and embracing the changing competitive landscape, they see digitalization fostering innovation, they are learning to figure out what are agile business models that give them a growing awareness, preparedness, and resilience to try to contain and dampen down all the volatility around them. They are clearly in search for a business-enabling set of new business models, that is a work-in-progress that does, in their own words “turn uncertainty into business opportunities”.

Thank you, Munich Re, for such a great presentation and the continued message this is simply not a one-off presentation. As I have seen previously seen, they are constantly reinforcing their innovation transformation message. This has already gone into 2018 in the recent Equity Story, just released even further in qualifying innovation impact (see above). They are clearly showing a strong confirmation that the “digital ingredients” are embedded in their business strategy to search and explore, as well as exploit innovation.

Others might be well-advised take their time to reflect on their approaches to the future and how they are undertaking any digital transformation and where innovation does sit in this. “Sitting on your hands” or treating business in that past, traditional way, of doing business as usual, is not an option.  The lessons you can learn from Munich Re, who do seem to understand this well and explain how they are undergoing their transformation journey through innovation is really good. A terrific confidence builder and validation of actions.


* All visuals used came from a Munich Re investor day presentation in November 2017 “Munich Re driving digital transformation” or the last slide for an early 2018 update in Presentations 2018, on Munich Re under “Current Company Presentation” under “Shaping change in insurance, Munich Re equity story” a download PDF, 1.5MB. Both of these released into the general public domain from their publications section.

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