Aviva partners with Silicon Valley accelerator to kick-start innovation

Insurance firm Aviva is partnering with Silicon Valley startup accelerator Plug and Play to gain access to new innovations

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Insurance company Aviva has partnered with Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Plug and Play to gain access to innovative startups.

The insurer hopes the partnership will enable it to tap into the innovation of digital startups. In return, it will help the startups realise their product and service concepts through advice, networking and mentorship.

Aviva CIO Monique Shivanandan said the partnership was a key way to move the insurer’s culture and innovation forward.

The partnership is part of Aviva’s InsurTech programme, due to start in September 2016, which is designed to find and help startups with insurance-based digital innovation ideas.

The insurer hopes to attract 1,000 candidates through the programme, and 30 to 40 of the best startups will receive support from Plug and Play to develop their ideas on how to use digital to disrupt the insurance industry.

The startups will work out of the Plug and Play offices in Silicon Valley to develop their ideas.

The partnership with Plug and Play, along with the InsurTech programme, is part of Aviva’s strategy to take a “digital first” approach to customer service, with the aim of making the insurer easier for customers to interact with.

Investing in digital skills

Aviva is also aiming to transform its internal culture to become more flexible and technology-driven.

To accelerate this process, Aviva will be giving its employees the opportunity to spend up to three months with Plug and Play in Silicon Valley to help them develop a greater understanding of emerging technology.

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“This partnership forms another exciting strand of our digital innovation strategy, as well as providing opportunities for our people to work with leading entrepreneurs to explore new digital innovations and thinking,” said Andrew Brem, chief digital officer at Aviva.

Aviva originally set out its Digital First strategy in 2014, through which it has implemented a number of initiatives to advance technology innovations and make the firm more digital as part of its goal to improve its customer-facing services.

As part of this, the firm runs annual hackathons for staff to collaborate on projects which may then be implemented and released as products to its customers.

The insurer also partnered with Beyond the Classroom earlier this year to help encourage young people into digital jobs such as UX designers, coders or product managers.

Many of Aviva’s digital and technology employees are now based in the firm’s Digital Garage, which is a stone’s throw away from London’s Silicon Roundabout.

The venue was built in 2015 following the development of Aviva’s digital strategy to kick-start the changes happening across the business.

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