This article is part of our special edition “An Inside View Of MAPFRE – From Massachusetts to Madrid”
The year 2019 is a strategic and important one for the global insurer that is MAPFRE. Every three years the company presents a new Triennial Strategic Plan, outlining the major goals and objectives the company hopes to achieve within each of the major markets in which it operates.
In conjunction with the strategic importance of this year’s initiative, the Spanish-based insurer invited eight journalists from eight different countries, to attend the presentation of its 2019 Shareholders meeting in Madrid.
As a publication focused on the Massachusetts insurance industry, which happens to be MAPFRE’s largest marketplace within the U.S., Agency Checklists was invited to attend the meeting in Madrid as part of a three-day tour to learn more about the company and its mission.
MAPFRE Open Innovation Platform
With the rise of insurtech, insurers can no longer ignore the importance of insurance investment and innovation with respect to its continued competitiveness and future growth. MAPFRE is no exception. According to data provided by the insurer, its digital business grew by +10 in 2017 alone.
In response, in 2018, the insurer made its first foray into the insurtech world with the establishment of its MAPFRE Open Innovation. With an annual budget of over 100 million euros, the initiative forms an integral part in how MAPFRE is actively transforming itself digitally in order to pace it in an “excellent competitive position” in order “to grow profitably over the next three years.”
Innovating from the inside
Innovation from the inside, or Strategic Innovation, is what MAPFRE categorizes as ideas and change coming from right inside the company either through programs fostering innovation, knowledge centers or other established avenues.
The first major step MAPFRE took towards nurturing this type of innovation was the creation of its Open Innova initiative in 2018. MAPFRE Innova is an “intrapreneurship program.” Open initially to employees based in Spain, Peru, and the United States, the program seeks to capitalize and reward the winning employees for their ideas and designs to solve strategic challenges using both Design Thinking and Agile methodologies.
The inaugural program saw more than 400 projects submitted from the three countries with over 1,000 employees taking part in the company’s creativity workshops. The employees were required to submit ideas in response to three business challenges:
- Young people and savings
- Automobile accidents
- Small- and medium-sized businesses
The winning companies were selected with BBites (Spain), Save Coin (Peru) and RideSafe (USA) crowned the winning teams. Employees from each of the three winning teams were brought to Madrid to the Annual Meeting in order to be recognized for their efforts.
Another way in which MAPFRE says it will foster what it calls Strategic Innovation is through Knowledge Centers. These centers, housed in areas where MAPFRE has a presence also will be a way in which MAPFRE fosters innovation. With MAPFRE’s U.S. headquarters located so close to Boston and all that Boston offers in terms of insurtech innovation, the company acknowledges that Boston is an almost perfect place to set up a future Knowledge Center.
Innovating from the outside
On the other side of the innovation coin, is what MAPFRE has described as its Disruptive Innovation. Disruptive Innovation efforts and investment involve collaborating with third parties in order to innovate more quickly and with greater flexibility.
The company says it is achieving this type of innovation in three ways: Through established agreements with Universities and Business Schools; through its new Venture Capital Fund, and through its new InsurSpace. At the end of 2018, the company announced it had become an anchor investor in the Alma Mundi Insurtech Fund, investing 25 million euros to help insurtech startups.
Insur_space by MAPFRE
InsurSpace is the last and most exciting part of the companies Disruptive Innovation Strategy. Similar to Liberty Mutual’s Solaria Labs, MAPFRE’s InsurSpace is an off-site space “… dedicated to innovation in Insurtech where the most promising international startups will work with MAPFRE’s global network.” The accelerator looks to both early and late stage start-ups and offers a training program, mentors, networking, prototypes, financing, and workspaces for fledging startups. Housed in a building in downtown Madrid, across from Google’s headquarters in Spain, it is looking to be a hub of insurtech innovation in Spain.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all is that MAPFRE’s “accelerated launch” into insurtech has been accomplished in a mere nine months. Through the creation of the Transformation and Innovation Committee, chaired by the Global CEO himself, the company says it is trying to embrace a “start-up” mindset with respect to insurance innovation.
Agency Checklists will keep its readers posted on any interesting developments from these initiatives, and if and when of MAPFRE’s innovation initiatives arrive in Massachusetts!