Partnerships for a brighter future
In the race to save the planet, imaginative partnerships are critical to a successful outcome. Through synergies of diverse talents, innovation itself has become humanity’s greatest partner
In an age of extreme weather events, from super-cyclones to raging wildfires, killer tornadoes and monsoon floods, geospatial imagery is more vital than ever in saving lives in search-and-rescue missions and assessing damage in the wake of calamity.
That is why MS&AD has forged a creative partnership with Geosite, a Palo Alto-based software analytics platform that enables the exchange, sharing and workflow management of all types of geospatial data, including satellite imagery, drone mapping and remote-sensor intelligence.
By investing in Geosite through its venture capital arm MS&AD Ventures, the Tokyo-based global insurance group is expressing a conviction that lies at the heart of its business philosophy: partnerships between innovators with a common purpose yet different strengths are critical to overcoming the challenges of our times.
"MS&AD is always looking for great partners such as Geosite who can help us build a sustainable future,” says Jon Soberg, managing partner, MS&AD Ventures. "We look for companies whose values align with ours and we are fortunate to work with some amazing startups who are making a positive impact on the world."
The strategy is aligned with a new paradigm of global cooperative engagement explained in MS&AD’s recent Nature of Business white paper, based on research conducted by Longitude, a Financial Times company. Thanks to their wealth of risk management acumen, today driven by AI modelling, insurers such as MS&AD can be a vital partner in this vision.
“Our job is to identify risk,” MS&AD representative director Tetsuji Higuchi says in the Nature of Business report. “When events do happen, we want to help reduce the economic burden and ensure a swift recovery.”
United in the face of existential threat
In August, UN secretary-general António Guterres sounded “code-red for humanity”, declaring: “We must act decisively now to avert a climate catastrophe,” Imaginative partnerships and true global collaboration will be prerequisites for survival, and MS&AD is committed to building these bridges to a more secure future.
Partnerships such as that between MS&AD and Geosite unleash powerful synergies that drive solutions to tackle major future threats and save lives and property when catastrophes occur. In the words of the Nature of Business report, it is a vision where innovation itself “becomes the crucial partner”.
MS&AD believes smart use of data and technology can have a transformative effect on how we manage resources and build early warning systems. The ability to predict and pre-empt threats is one of the reasons why MS&AD, through MS&AD Ventures, has invested in more than 60 tech startups since the unit’s launch in 2018, and encourages open innovation between industry, government and academia. The strategy is also driven by digital hubs for open innovation in Tokyo, Singapore, Silicon Valley, London and Tel Aviv.
Partners in times of need
In the case of the Geosite partnership, collaborative synergies bring MS&AD powerful new visualisation tools to accelerate damage assessment and offer timely relief to families when calamity strikes.
For example, Geosite’s Beacon platform enables claims teams to integrate and access existing claims data — along with weather, disaster and remote-sensing data — to more rapidly and accurately process claims. Beacon also supports surveyors on the ground with up-to-date information on road conditions and recommended routes in the event of emergency.
“Our partnership with MS&AD is a perfect alignment as we strive to ensure their customers are well taken care of during major natural disasters,” says Geosite chief executive Rachel Olney. “Geosite’s Beacon application helps insurance companies settle claims more quickly following natural catastrophes so those affected can rebuild their lives faster.”
It is a view supported by Jack Toyama, business development partner at MS&AD Ventures. “Our geospatial platform helps us take care of suffering people from disasters in a faster, proactive and responsive approach,” he says. “Partnership with Geosite innovates the entire customer experience in claim settlement as well as creating loss prevention or loss mitigation solutions against disasters, which delivers true safety and peace of mind to living people.”
Underpinning the partnership ethos is a new model of “Sustainability Transformation” (SX), through which MS&AD can drive positive change with synergies between its own AI-driven innovation and cutting-edge digital investments.
The Nature of Business survey cites a majority of respondents acknowledging the need for SX but lacking the tools to achieve it. MS&AD’s proactive pursuit of digital partnerships, such as that with Geosite, brings clients solutions for achieving their sustainability goals and priorities.
In doing so a virtuous cycle of partnership innovation is unleashed for the benefit of humanity and the planet. “Our investments are closely aligned with MS&AD headquarters, which values sustainability in many areas including financial inclusion, climate change, health and well-being for humanity,” says Tiffine Wang, investment partner at MS&AD Ventures.
“Investing in startups exposes MS&AD to new business models which gives the group more options for partnerships and joint ventures which enables them to make a greater impact.”