We spoke to Henrietta, our Manager of Strategic Digital Projects, to find out about her role at MAXIS and how digital technology is shaping the future of employee benefits.
Hi Henrietta, Happy New Year! Can you tell us a bit about your role at MAXIS and the strategic digital projects you manage?
Happy New Year to you all too. Like most people at MAXIS, I’m lucky that my role is quite varied. One moment I can be discussing how best to pitch or finance a new product that we want to launch to our customers or members and can then switch to planning a big internal transformation project. Having that variety definitely keeps me on my toes!
I sit in the Digital & Innovation team and I’m currently part of three key projects. This includes:
That sounds fascinating. You’ve worked in a variety of insurance roles before MAXIS, how does your current role differ/compare to those?
- looking at how to close the protection gap for non-traditional workers – contractors, freelancers, self-employed and gig workers
- a large internal project to implement a data warehouse and ETL (extract, transform and load) software which will enable us to store all of our data in one place and dramatically improve accuracy, accessibility and the speed we can get data to our clients and stakeholders
- integrating with global employee benefits platforms. Many of our clients are moving to using these systems so we are looking at how we integrate our network with the most popular platforms to make it easier for data to flow between these systems.
Most insurance companies face similar challenges when it comes to innovation, so some parts of my job are similar to my previous roles. MAXIS differs in that it has a dedicated team and a really good innovation culture focused on maximising client value. We ensure that the best ideas and solutions to tackle our client needs are brought forward and implemented. We especially focus on the short term so that we can make a more immediate and tangible difference. Improving the services we offer through the use of technology sits at the heart of what we do as a team – so it’s really exciting.
How important is data for multinationals in the world of employee benefits and how can technology help make data flow more efficiently?
Of course, the data itself is important, but being able to use that data to effect positive change is even more valuable. The expectation nowadays is to have data as soon as possible but with so much data available, good analytics and actionable insights are what makes the real difference. Multinationals want to understand the ‘so-what’ about their data, and we have a team of data analysts at MAXIS who make this as easy as possible for our clients.
While perhaps not the sexiest area of innovation, creating a strong middleware layer is important. Simply put, this means using technologies like APIs (application programming interface) and ETLs, that I mentioned earlier, to allow different systems to communicate and share data… It can be a real game changer. Using this to automate data flows allows businesses to grow faster. And it also means that data analysts have to spend less time looking into anomalies and instead can focus on the data that has the potential to make the biggest impact to their business.
You mentioned non-traditional workers earlier, have you seen some good examples of multinationals and insurers offering this growing group of workers protection benefits?
There were already more people entering on-demand work driven by the growth in the platform and gig economies, but the pandemic has only accelerated the need for flexibility and made non-traditional work patterns more popular. 30 years ago, this group was a lot smaller and these workers would never have received benefits like traditionally contracted employees – partly due to market trends but also in some cases regulation. But this is definitely changing.
We are now hearing from multinationals that these workers are asking about benefits as part of their standard package, and as a result insurers are being asked to provide more flexible products to suit these workers. Some employers are beginning to offer benefits to this group, but there is still a big gap.
Non-traditional workers are highly sought-after and crucial to the success of a business, so attracting and retaining them is key. Offering benefits can play a huge role here. Businesses are just at the start of the journey of doing this, but it won't be long before we are at a tipping point, so multinationals need to act if they want to remain ahead of the curve and be a business of choice for these workers.
Outside the world of work and EB, how do you like to spend your time?
When I'm not working, you can normally find me out on a run or trying a new restaurant. Thankfully my love of being active and outdoors helps count
erbalance some of the effects of loving food. I like to read about behavioural economics as well and, when the situation allows, travel as much as possible, in particular to places where I can practice my Spanish.
Where’s your favourite place in the world you’ve travelled? We’re guessing a Spanish speaking country…
That's a tough one, but I would say Mexico and Bali are up there. I like the combination of beach, wildlife and jungle that each offers. But also, I think Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and I'm very lucky to call London my home.