Aviva Canada president shares key strategy

by Donald Horne02 Dec 2015
The head of one of Canada’s biggest insurers has a clear message for the industry she and advisors share.

 “We changed our lens entirely from one that focuses on product, and one that puts the customer at the centre,” says Sharon Ludlow, president, Aviva Canada. “It sounds like it is a really simple thing to do on paper, but it is one that can be quite difficult if you don’t approach it with the right environment.”

It was a message delivered at the 24th Annual KPMG Insurance Issues Conference in Toronto, during the closing panel session, explaining how Aviva has changed the way it is innovating.

“We created these ‘creative spaces’ – what we call ‘the digital garage’ – which brings together the business and the technology folks, and some folks from outside of Aviva,” she says, “to think about and work on and develop in a very agile way solutions for customers. Not thinking about it from a product point of view, but from a solution point of view.”

One of the more interesting results that came from the London, England garage (the company has three, with the other two located in Singapore and Toronto) in regards to the life benefits that Aviva provides to its large employer clients.

“One of the studies found that employees are turning to the Internet to self-diagnose,” says Ludlow, explaining that employers were finding that their employees were spending a lot of time worrying and fretting about minor ailments.

“What we did was bring in a third-party Babylon to provide virtual medical facilities,” says Ludlow.
Now, employers who have Aviva’s life/health insurance are offered a benefit where employees can tap in on their smart device and book a virtual appointment with a medical professional to discuss their health concerns, and quickly get past the anxiety so they can become more productive in the workplace.

“It was something that was born of a little bit of research and a lot of creative thinking,” she says.