FRENCH insurer AXA has partnered Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and its affiliate, Ant Financial Services Group, to distribute insurance products and services to consumers around the world.
The three parties on Friday announced in Paris they have agreed in a global partnership that will have them work together to co-innovate and develop value-added products and services to customers, as well as develop and explore new markets and segments.
The first phase of the proposed collaboration will focus on three key areas.
The first is on AliExpress, which is a global retail marketplace targeted at consumers worldwide. AXA will develop and provide insurance products for AliExpress's global customers, such as extended warranties for repairs and/or damaged goods and enhanced online payment protection.
The second is on Alibaba's wholesale marketplaces such as Alibaba.com and 1688.com, where AXA will provide insurance products to global small and medium businesses that are already trading on these platforms.
The third area is for AXA to offer travel-insurance products for Chinese travellers going overseas through Ant Financial Services.
These insurance products and services will be developed by AXA's local entities according to the customers' local requirements, the companies said.
AXA deputy chief executive Thomas Buberl, who will take over as chief executive on Sept 1, described the partnership as part of the insurer's strategy to seize new business opportunities.
"This proposed collaboration with Alibaba could provide us with a unique global and direct distribution channel, and we are looking forward to serving Alibaba's customers and to developing bespoke and innovative insurance products and services for them," he said. "Thanks to Alibaba's unrivaled knowledge of its home market, this partnership will also help us further accelerate our development in China, where we already are the number 1 international insurer (based on China Insurance Regulatory Commission statistics in terms of gross written premium)."
Alibaba Group president Michael Evans said the collaboration is part of the group's globalisation strategy and its vision to enable small businesses and consumers alike to enjoy the convenience and benefits of e-commerce in a safe trading environment.
"As cross-border e-commerce grows rapidly, it is critical that we evolve our services and offerings to the businesses and consumers that conduct trade on our platforms. The collaboration between AXA and Alibaba will enable us to create new solutions and ultimately improve the overall customer experience," Mr Evans said.