Featured Topic 3: Digital Strategies

Important Theme for Utilizing Digital Technologies

In our digital strategy, we aim to intensively and dynamically utilize digital technologies, which are evolving at an exponential speed, in Group operations. The evolution of technologies could bring about great changes not only in the business processes of insurance companies but also in customers, business models, and the environment. We have set four goals for our digital strategy.

  1. Business Efficiency in All Segments
    Utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies to raise productivity and efficiency
  2. Enhancement of Customer Contacts
    Develop products and services that enhance customer experience by utilizing the Internet of Things (IoT)
  3. Marketing for Digital Native Generation
    Develop products and services that will be chosen by the so-called digital natives
  4. New Business Model Utilizing Digital Technologies
    Create new business models based on digital technologies

Dialogue: Digital Strategies ― Future Issues and Expectations

Masatomo Nakajima (Left)
Digital Strategy Planning General Manager
Sompo Holdings, Inc.

Mr. Hideto Kawakita (Right)
CEO, International Institute for Human, Organization and the Earth (IIHOE)
Publisher, Socio Management Review

We have included third party comments from Mr. Hideto Kawakita in our CSR Communication Report since 2001. Mr. Kawakita shared his thoughts on issues facing digital strategies in the future.

Using Digital Technology to Offer Customers New Experiences

Nakajima: Big data and digitalization have created a revolution in which we are discovering things that were previously unexplainable. Risk segments are increasing due to digital technology and we are able to use such data to understand people's actions.
As risk segmentation progresses, customers whose risks are low may be chosen first (cherry-picked). However, as a Group we will continue to place great importance on cooperation and co-existence in society. The Group aims to achieve security, health, and wellbeing, and we intend to use the data we obtain to find solutions to help prevent accidents rather than to measure accidents.
We expect the evolution of digital technology to have a significant impact on business, which will lead to changes in our customers, business models, and the competitive environment. For example, we will eventually reach a stage where most of customers have been familiar with digital technology from birth. How we respond to changes in customers holds the key to our future. Digital technology is a means to an end. We must consider how we can use such technology to provide new valuable experiences to customers. In the insurance business, we aim not only to pay insurance claims when the need arises but also to provide support for their safety and security on a day-to-day basis.
How we use digital technology astutely is important, and in actual fact, we have already incorporated digital technology into various processes of our Group businesses (see Key Initiatives That Use Digital Technology).

Kawakita: I feel it is necessary in the future to specifically indicate whom you will offer cooperation and mutual support systems and the values that use digital technology, and how.
Japan, an ageing society, will eventually reach a stage in which improvements in driver assistance technology will enable us to get around easily, including those who cannot drive and find it hard to go shopping or to attend hospital appointments. Considering how to back-up technological developments and its use is the key to Japan achieving a societal development using technology, and this is where insurance will play a vital role. Giving quick and concrete solutions that “encourage development and use of technology” using insurance will be even more important in the future.
When you quantitatively indicate what has evolved and the value produced as a result of digital technology from the customers’ point of view, it will be easy for them to understand and experience the impact on society. This in turn will lead for the Group to be chosen more often and by more people.
Will you provide services aimed at the global market?

Nakajima: Taking the customer experience developed in Japan to the world is one of our tasks going forward. We have looked at various case studies throughout the world and have concluded that, given the rising rates of smartphone usage in developing countries, developing countries are one step ahead of industrialized countries in terms of use of digital technology.

Kawakita: As you say, the possibilities in developing countries are enormous. Regulations vary from country to country, and it may be possible to create a global market for products and services that could not be implemented in Japan.
I hope the Group will accept a wider range of users, or “changes of your customers” in a positive light, and inform of interface improvements not just improvements in communication speed and tools.

Nakajima: We emphasize the customer’s “experience.” For example, traditional drive recorders sound an alarm in dangerous situations. Our safe driving support service, Smiling Road emphasizes “praising” safe and responsible driving (see Supporting Safer Driving Using Big Data and Telematics).

Kawakita: I have high expectations in the “universal design of interfaces” that takes various people into consideration such as the elderly, people with special needs, and people from other countries,

Nakajima: We will definitely consider this in near future. Thank you so much for your time.

Hideto Kawakita

CEO, International Institute for Human, Organization and the Earth (IIHOE)*
Publisher, Socio Management Review

After university graduation in 1987, joined Recruit, responsible for international hiring, corporate communications, and management support until 1991. He established IIHOE in 1994, after various positions, including as Japan representative in an international youth exchange NGO, and a policy secretary for a member of the National Diet of Japan. Provides consultation services to improve the management of civil society groups and corporations interested in social responsibility, support for building a hub for collaboration of citizens, businesses and governments, and support for social responsibility initiatives of corporations, civil society and local governments.

  • IIHOE: An NPO established in 1994 "for the democratic and balanced development for all the lives on the Earth."