Photo: Oxa

Written by Benjamin Hindson, Chief Commercial Officer of AON

At MOVE 2023, Aon’s Global Chief Innovation Officer Jillian Slyfield challenged companies to demand more of their insurance partners. Today, we are speaking with Benjamin Hindson, Aon’s Chief Commercial Officer for Digital Economy and Rebecca Marsden, Oxa’s Vice President of Risk and Insurance, to discuss how insurance can be used to unlock innovation and enable growth.


Oxa is accelerating the transition to self-driving technology with products and solutions that enable businesses to deploy autonomy into their operations safely, efficiently, and reliably. These include Oxa Driver, the software that drives any vehicle; Oxa MetaDriver, a suite of proprietary generative AI tools that accelerate deployment; and Oxa Hub, a set of cloud-based offerings for autonomous fleet management.

Oxa also collaborates with other autonomous vehicle stakeholders including insurance leaders to define, shape and communicate innovations in best practices, standards and regulatory frameworks to accelerate the autonomous vehicle ecosystem. Based in Oxford, UK with offices in Toronto, Canada – Oxa is helping industries including agriculture, logistics, shared passenger transportation and more get the most value from their fleets.


Why do innovative companies sometimes face challenges in getting the right insurance programmes?

There are several contributing factors to the challenges faced by innovative companies when seeking fit-for-purpose insurance solutions. Without being exhaustive, these include lack of historical data with which to assess risk and model premium, new unique risk profiles associated with emerging technology which insurers have previously not had to contemplate, rapidly evolving business models as new technologies respond to customer demand, and finally, often nascent regulatory environments which may not yet provide a clear picture of potential liabilities.


How can businesses better engage their insurance partners to drive better results?

When innovative businesses are looking to place insurance, it’s paramount that they engage in open dialogue with their insurance partners. Often, whilst the insurance industry may not have a full understanding of the business, they will be experts in risk management. Access to key stakeholders, sharing development roadmaps and a collaborative approach will ensure success.

As a provider of autonomous vehicle software solutions, partnership is in Oxa’s DNA and engagement with our insurer partners is no exception. We collaborate with specialist insurers to ensure the mission, opportunities, risks and requirements of our business are fully understood, so that our journey is shared. We focus on building long term relationships with partners who will co-create bespoke, scalable insurance solutions for our business.


What should organisations be looking for when deciding who to work with to build their risk and insurance programmes?

If we were to isolate two key factors that we look for when choosing partners with whom to build or augment our risk and insurance programme, these would be creativity and agility.  Creativity is essential as there are often no standardised insurance solutions that will adequately address the unique risks associated with emerging technologies; insurer partners who are willing and able to design new coverage types rather than be wedded to pre-existing silos of risk are mission-critical to bringing new technologies to market.  Creativity alone, however, is not enough; as I noted before, innovative companies may pivot or change their business models in response to evolving demand, and successful innovative companies will often find themselves on a very rapid growth trajectory, making insurer agility extremely important.


Oxa recently appointed Aon as their global insurance partner. What are the challenges that Aon is helping Oxa to solve?

For Oxa, Aon is a partner and co-creator, who through an in-depth understanding of our mission, our business, and our autonomous vehicle ecosystem stakeholders – will be a collaborative force in bringing autonomous vehicle technology to market at scale.


How is Oxa using insurance as an enabler to grow?

Insurance and autonomy are inseparable. Firstly, insurance is an enabler for self-driving technology at scale and is mission-critical to unlocking the benefits of autonomy to every person and organisation on the planet.  Without fit-for-purpose, scalable insurance solutions, partners in the autonomous vehicle ecosystem will be unable to integrate and deploy. Secondly, insurance is integral to consumer trust, which is fundamentally the route to market for this transformative technology.


Beyond the Autonomous space, where else do you think insurance can be used to unlock innovation and enable growth?

Aon believes that insurance is essential for allowing innovation to happen. It unlocks access to capital and enables businesses to grow. Aon invest heavily in areas where insurance and risk management innovation will be key to helping us solve some of the biggest challenges we face: from climate risk, residual value and performance guarantees of new technology assets, the evolving digital landscape of Web3 and public sector partnerships.

In the context of Oxa’s approach to insurance innovation, insurance is not purely about risk management. The depth of usable data and extent of analytics available through Generative AI powered autonomous vehicle technology is unprecedented; and through autonomous vehicle technology ‘big data’ becomes ‘big knowledge’. This has the potential to be the catalyst for some of the most exciting insurance product innovation that the market has ever seen, the scope of which extends far beyond autonomous vehicles alone.

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