A day packed full of fascinating insights from some amazing minds.

MAXIS & AXA innovation event

Building on the success of last November’s MAXIS Hackathon, we partnered with AXA to co-host a client focused ‘future of work’ innovation event at the fantastic Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, London. This exciting event hosted fascinating key note presentations and panel discussions, showcased innovative technologies through our six start-up demos, and encouraged thought provoking conversations during our roundtable session. Of course, not forgetting the key networking opportunities over cocktails and canapés to wrap up the day.

The hot topics of the day included voluntary benefits, the impact of the gig-economy, value-driven applications of blockchain to the Global Employee Benefits market, global digital health trends and innovation in Health & Wellness schemes.

Our parent companies, AXA and MetLife have both made significant investments to drive innovation across the insurance industry, notably developing global networks of venture capital activities and each investing over $1bn in the last few years. Since the launch of the MAXIS Innovation Lab in 2018, we have worked on a collaborative approach to ensure that we are able to provide our clients with top level products and services.

What is the future of work? How do companies manage the evolving nature and the contractual relationship between employee and employer?

The day opened with Colin Bullen, founder of ChangeCraft, exploring how businesses can be resilient and responsive in an ever-changing world of work. Colin stressed that the pace of change will only accelerate, especially when considering digital advancements. To create value from this, he explained that companies need to be resilient to change and that changing culture needs changing behaviours.

This was followed by Helga Viegas, Director of Digital & Innovation at MAXIS, moderating a discussion between John Whitaker (Benefits Director, Workday), Dr Leena Johns (Head of Health & Wellness, MAXIS) and Dr Annabel Bentley (Chief Medical Officer, AXA PPP), on innovation in Health and Wellness. Given medical cost increases are hitting 10% a year, this was a hot topic. It was agreed that ROI is too narrow a measure of success for benefits programmes. By focusing on prevention rather than treatment using insights from quality data, there is a clear way forward. “The future is preventative, personalised and precise” as Dr. Leena Johns put it.

Elias Abou Mansour (Head of Partnerships and Service Management – International Employee Benefits, AXA France) moderated the next panel during which Aaron Brown (Regional Manager UK & Ireland, MAXIS GBN), Russell Corbould-Warren (Head of Insurance – Europe, Middle East & Africa, Uber) and Florent Malbranche (Co- founder and CEO, Brigad) discussed the challenges and opportunities that the increasing presence of the gig-economy represents for multinationals. With 162 million gig-workers in Europe and the US, this historically under-addressed market is set only to  get bigger.

Traditionally, claims processes and benefits have been focused on professionals but there has been less consideration for blue collar workers. This is changing and both and Brigad and AXA have been exploring effective means of financial wellness, mental health support and training for this group.

Ghanshyam Patil (Digital Lead – Blockchain, AXA XL, a division of AXA) then took the lead to present all things blockchain. He explained that the system delivers a higher level of authenticity and control meaning it would eradicate any data leakages caused by current systems in the EB market.  

The sessions were then put on hold, although the creative juices continued to flow, while the guests indulged in a delicious lunch.  

Parul Kaul-Green (CFA, Head of AXA NEXT Labs, Europe) kicked off the afternoon with the captivating topic of digital healthcare trends. AXA Next research around 2000 tech-led companies a year. Six main trends were discussed in the session and these were: self-care, digital platforms, mental health and wellness solutions, personalised wellness, telemedicine and family friendly benefits. We learnt more about how major technology is bring these trends to life. For example, the use of AI and machine learning to empower patients and aid diagnosis.

After lunch, six inspired start-ups were showcased, revealing exactly how some of the ideas and opportunities discussed earlier could take form:

Apricity is a next generation fertility clinic who have reimagined fertility care – maximising chances of pregnancy by bringing the best experience possible. They have created a fertility benefit for employers to support the cost of the treatment because it not only affects personal but also professional lives. According to Caroline, their CEO, 75% of patients say the process is more stressful than divorce and 71% considered ending the process early due to stress levels. The app that Apricity offers is designed to lower risk of errors, reduce stress and offer reminders.

BioBeats is a digital health and artificial intelligence company that specialises in creating evidence-based workplace wellbeing programmes, targeting mental health. Working with a world-class team of scientists, engineers and leading academics from the University of Oxford, BioBeats is on a mission to empower and inspire every employee to take control of their wellbeing.

Birdie use digital products, home connected devices and machine learning to help the care community deliver better, preventative care. Care professionals use a suite of digital products to record care notes, time sheets and medication electronically while Birdie gradually provide guidance on their work, saving them time and money. They also support family members and help them better coordinate through the use of their care companion app.

Cognetivity, provide early and easy detection of dementia, through their Integrated Cognitive Assessment. The ICA only takes 5 minutes, is sensitive, accurate and able to detect pre-symptomatic dementia. The test is developed for iPad and smartphone use and uses AI to give an objective measure of cognitive performance.

Prenetics discussed how they are using DNA to provide users with easy to understand, actionable information. The company that they presented was DNAFit as part of the Prenetics group. They’ve taken genetic science out of the lab and used it to assess the way that people diet and exercise. This includes a range of tests focused on specific genetic markers (listed below) related to fitness and nutrition.

Oxford VR presented its psychological treatments through VR and wowed the audience demoing its VR tool for fear of heights. They develop evidence-based, immersive virtual reality (VR) programmes to address common, complex and costly conditions such as depression and anxiety. Their programmes feature a virtual coach who delivers standardised treatment protocols to enable greater access to quick, cost-effective and high-quality care.

To tie the event together, the roundtable session got everyone talking and provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on the themes of the day. Ideas were shared and developed, revolving discussion around prospects for today, tomorrow and beyond.

Finally, Matthieu Rouot (Senior VP, Head of International VP, AXA) closed the sessions summarising the day and speaking of the partnership between AXA, MetLife and MAXIS and how we can all push for change and innovation of the future of work. The sky‘s the limit.