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Business ecosystems: Creating value via a platform based approach

Allianz Global Benefits’ holistic business model is organized around an employee benefits platform that aims to create value for all stakeholders through two key drivers - digital infrastructure and a strong global network.

by Dirk Hellmuth | 4 min read

Google, Apple and Uber are some successful examples of businesses that are organized around platforms or so-called business ecosystems, where products, services and solutions are offered in collaboration with a large number of stakeholders. These holistic business models create value by allowing exchange between the interdependent users and thus providing benefits to all participants.

The number of platforms among top market players is growing. What they all have in common is a clear strategic approach and the focus on creating connections instead of owning supply chains.

Digitalization and network building

The two key drivers for the success of platform business models are digital technology and strong global networks.

Successful modern platforms are strongly based on a global digital infrastructure that speeds up the interactions between stakeholders, reduces complexity and costs, and allows for innovation. As a result, business ecosystems facilitate the exchange of value - created by a decentralized network of smaller entities - at an unequalled scale.

The quality of interaction between stakeholders improves with large global networks and accessible resources. Or in other words, in a networked world, the value of the products and services offered in a business ecosystem increases, as more users interact in the platform.

AGB’s holistic business model

The concept of business ecosystems as platforms is also applicable for employee benefits networks and in concrete, the holistic business model of Allianz Global Benefits (AGB).

Addressing the needs of multinational companies of managing employee benefits globally via a truly flexible and holistic set of solutions, AGB is specialized in organizing local employee benefits products, insurance solutions and services into global programs. For this we operate a strong network of more than 110 Allianz subsidiaries and selected external insurance partners in over 90 countries, building the global platform for international protection and pension solutions.

As AGB is not an insurance provider itself, it orchestrates the activities of the various stakeholders of the platform, steering and bundling the solutions that are branded under the Allianz name. The actual insurance coverage is provided by their local insurance companies, who act as fronting companies in the country concerned. This allows AGB to qualify as a one-stop solution provider. Clients can expect the full range of corporate life, accident, disability, health, pension and asset management solutions tailored to their needs. The local employee benefits plans provided by the local insurers are the backbone of the global solutions that include Multinational Pooling, Global Underwriting, Captive Reinsurance and Global Pension.

As technology has become a key enabler for insurers, our aim is to provide core digital tools and services that are designed around our business requirements, setting the rules and standards that govern the network to maintain quality.

A concrete example is the current implementation of a personalized online portal for our multinational clients with a captive program in place. It grants flexible and up-to-date access to information about their employee benefits insurances and allows to assess risk on a more granular and frequent basis. Providing high quality data analytics, insights and reporting, the portal enhances customer experience and addresses the needs of multinational companies for transparency, interpretation and action.

Another example is the newly introduced e-signature software to send and receive signed reinsurance certificates to our network insurers and captive program clients alike. This global software is both widely available and flexible, which will make the transferal of documents more efficient and secure, and thus easing the captive certificate processes.

Understanding needs and creating value for all stakeholders

It is important to keep in mind that our platform based approach is more than just a set of technological features. It is about understanding what multinational companies, network partners and global intermediaries need. And it is about creating the foundation for growth in our business, building up the networks and thus providing value to all stakeholders.

In order to cater even better for the needs of our stakeholders we will launch a new offering next year which brings together all solutions in a more simple, digital and scalable way. Harmonized framework, streamlined model and process will allow us to deliver enhanced solutions to our clients across the globe in a more efficient way.

The development of the new offering is progressing rapidly, the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic motivating us to act even faster and be more agile. More news will follow soon!

About the author

Dirk Hellmuth

is our CEO since 2014 and leading the unit to being one of the key players on the employee benefits market.