May 4, 2021

Zurich Insurance launches mental health app for UK companies

Joanna England
3 min
Zurich Insurance launches mental health app for UK companies
The risk assessment tool aims to assist employers in addressing the mental health of their workers following COVID-19 mental health fallout...

The Swiss insurance giant, Zurich Insurance has launched a new health risk assessment app for companies in the UK that want to help employees manage mental health issues.

The new digital solution is called the Zurich Risk Advisor (ZRA) and is an app-based risk assessment tool that enables companies to find out more about their employee’s mental health exposures. 

The ZRA app is free to download for all UK companies - not just Zurich customers. It receives recommendations and insights connected to industry standards and runs tests on different corporate scenarios by issuing a series of question sets. Businesses can then identify areas where mental health risks might be occurring and mitigate the risk through preparedness. 

Using data from the Health and Safety Executive agency, Zurich noted the following mental health-related figures, and is hoping the app will help alleviate some of these areas.

  • Over 50% of workplace absence is due to stress-related conditions
  • Annual cost to employers of poor mental health is estimated to be in the region of £45bn, with more than half of this attributed to presenteeism (£27-£29bn)
  • Average cost of mental health absence per employee ranges from £1,475 to £2,277. This is similar across the public and private sectors
  • 12.8m working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety
  • An average return of £5 for every £1 spent on mental health intervention.

Zurich and workforce mental health

Speaking about the new launch, Zurich Resilience Solutions wellbeing lead Andrea Steer, explained that since the COVID-19 pandemic, the multipl e changes for people, both personally and professionally, has had a profound impact on mental health globally. The ZRA tool is a solution to help identify areas of potential instability and address them swiftly.

She said, “The revolutionisation of the modern workplace has been significantly fast-forwarded as a result of the pandemic. Therefore, fear, uncertainty and lack of clarity clouds many people’s outlook when it comes to the future of how they will work. Organisations therefore need to ask themselves, are they managing the obvious risks around remote working as well as they could?” 

According to reports, the app launch is also part of Zurich Insurance’s aim to suppor its customers in developing their understanding of the risks involved with the management of employee health and wellbeing. 

The insurer said that the COVID-19 pandemic shone a spotlight on the “fragility and dependence” businesses have on a healthy and mentally well workforce.

Steer continued, “Increased use of technology has led to a level of human detachment not previously experienced. And new risks such as an ‘always on’ mentality and the concept of ‘leavism’, employees working excess hours to impress their boss, only lead to increased mental health risks.”

She added, “It is imperative that employers continue to develop their own policies to manage the unintended consequences of these risks – as well as develop a healthy work culture by demonstrable leadership behaviours. After all, a collective strong mental health can lead to strong and sustainable companies.”

Image credit: Zurich Insurance

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Jun 18, 2021

Akur8’s US$30mn Series B to fuel US and APAC expansion

2 min
Parisian insurtech Akur8 has raised $30mn in a Series B round, capital which will be used as it expands out of the EU and into the US and APAC markets

Still a relatively new company in the sector, Akur8’s progress since it was founded in 2018 has been characterised by cutting-edge tech, strategic growth, and a highly personable approach that clearly demonstrates the youthful innovation of insurtech itself.

The company strives to embody four key values:

  • Challenging a status quo that doesn’t benefit customers
  • “Disrupt the known, organise the unknown”
  • Provide artificial intelligence (AI) tech with a distinctly human edge
  • Create solutions that will endure the test of time

At the heart of Akur8’s business is its Transparent AI solution. Capable of empowering actuaries and pricing teams through better, faster decision making, the insurtech touts it as “the only solution that automates rate modeling while keeping full transparency and control.”



Transforming insurance pricing

In just two years, Akur8 has acquired over 30 customers in 10 countries - including high-profile insurers like Munich Re, Tokio Marine Kiln, AXA, and Generali - and established additional offices in London and New York. Now, the company is keen to develop its business in the US’ verdant insurance market and build its presence in APAC.

The Series B round, which comes just over a year after Akur8’s $12mn Series A, was co-led by returning investors BlackFin Capital Partners and MTech Capital.

“The BlackFin team is thrilled to see Akur8 continue to spread its wings and deploy its next generation pricing platform across insurance carriers worldwide,” said Julien Creuzé, Partner. “We have built a great relationship with the Akur8 management team and it’s a pleasure to welcome new investors and continue this journey with them.”

Guillaume Beraud-Sudreau, Co-Founder and Chief Actuary at Akur8, added, “We are humbled by the trust that our clients and investors have placed in Akur8. Building the future of insurance pricing powered by Transparent AI has been our goal since the first day of R&D. Now this vision has become reality and we can’t wait to accelerate our growth to become the global reference in insurance pricing.”

Cover image source: Akur8

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