The claims managing director believes the use of data and analytics has been exhausted in pricing, and should instead be used to enhance the customer experience

For Waseem Malik, executive managing director of claims at AXA Insurance UK, the one positive that has emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic is the acceleration of the insurance sector’s digital revolution.

This includes being able to use data and analytics in a more meaningful way to improve the customer experience, rather than solely focusing on figures related to pricing.

Claims is on a big journey to catch up in terms of the whole digital revolution, and there’s a huge focus on customer experience as well as a real move to using data more intelligently,” he says.

“Claims is at a point where it’s recognised that it is the customer experience that we sell to our policyholders. But, at the same time, it’s an area where we have a lot of data available, so we can use that to do things quicker and better for our customers.

“Historically, all the focus on data and analytics has been in pricing, but I think everyone’s exhausted what we can do from a pricing perspective and it’s now moving to claims.”

AXA had this in mind with its newly launched ‘Repair or Replace’ tool, which it piloted at the start of the year before fully rolling out today.

This aims to more accurately gauge whether vehicles are a total loss or suitable for repair using data from initial claims conversations with customers.

Ultimately, this process is designed to reduce customer waiting times and ensure a quicker claims turnaround; Malik says the insurer has been sending too many total loss vehicles to be repaired, delaying the claims process.

“It’s just using what we have, the technology that exists, in a different way,” he adds.

Internal innovation

Internally, AXA has ramped up its own digital transformation as a response to the coronavirus crisis.

This includes enabling retail motor customers to log claims via the firm’s website rather than on the phone, while brokers are now able to notify AXA of claims using an e-form.

Malik says the insurer is also using e-notifications for travel claims, due to the “huge surge” it has seen as a result of Covid-19-related cancellations.

Logging claims online was also, in part, aimed to mitigate service delays while AXA adjusted to moving its 1,800 claims staff to working remotely – Malik says that within three weeks, 99% of the workforce, including front-line claims handlers, were able to work from home.

“We were very conscious that customers initially may struggle to get hold of our teams, particularly in the early days when offices were still open and absence rates were quite high, so we enabled more digital means for customers to log their claims,” he says.

Robotics is another area Malik is seeing gaining traction, both at AXA and across the sector. He believes bots that carry out mundane or admin-based tasks empower “people to spend their more valuable time on value-adding tasks, because claims is an area that will always require a human touch”.

Malik says insurance startups are also a welcome part of digital revolution, because they bring “new ideas, new energy” to push “insurers, who can be a bit traditional, to move forward themselves”.

With this in mind, AXA has invested in the Guidewire claims platform, the migration to which is still underway, Malik adds.

Virtual tour

Another way AXA has responded to the coronavirus pandemic is by extending a tool used by its household business to also be applicable to commercial property.

This means that if a property sustains water damage, for example, policyholders can arrange a 40-minute telephone consultation at a time of their choosing, where they can show AXA staff the relevant damage via smartphone camera.

The technology within the tool can analyse the materials and the size of the damaged area, for example, and by the end of the call policyholders can agree a settlement with AXA, ask for the insurer to instruct repairs, or take time to gather additional quotes.

AXA has been using this technology for around 18 months, with commercial property policyholders having access for the last three months.

“We’re getting fantastic feedback because the customer feels they’re in control. They can do it at a time that suits them and it also means there’s a much quicker turnaround in their claim being settled,” Malik adds.

“Particularly with Covid-19, this stuff’s really helping as well. [Usually] we have a team of claims inspectors who will go and physically inspect certain claims, so we’re now getting them to use this technology because they can’t go out at the moment because of lockdown. It’s really positive.”


  • Became executive director, claims at AXA in April 2018.
  • Joined AXA in June 2006 and held several positions such as chief financial officer and finance director prior to current role.
  • Worked at PwC between 1997 and 2006. His last role there was senior manager, transaction services.