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Swiss Life partners with business software provider bexio

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Swiss Life in October 2017 entered into a long-term partnership with Swiss business software provider for small businesses, bexio.

Swiss Life becomes one of the largest shareholders of bexio and Swiss Life Switzerland CEO Markus Leibundgut joins the Board of Directors. The start-up already has over 10 000 customers and employs a staff of 50 in Switzerland.

Bexio focuses on small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and offers web-based services – including the order-to-cash process and payroll – that appeal to the same customer segment as Swiss Life. Beginning in mid-2018, Swiss Life pensions and some individual products, such as accident or short-term disability benefit insurance, will be integrated into bexio payroll modules, reducing the administrative burden associated with managing employee benefits and personal insurance. bexio works in software-as-a-service (SAAS) mode and prices range from CHF 29 to 99 per month, depending on the number of users and on functionality.

Swiss Life will offer bexio software “to selected existing and potential corporate clients”. According to the company, “This cooperation is a further important step for Swiss Life to be able to provide our customers […] with new and innovative products and services that meet the growing customer requirement for simplicity in an increasingly digitalized work environment.”

The partnership between Swiss Life and bexio is part of a current trend that sees insurance groups investing in technology companies (in this case, not even an insurtech) and forming distribution partnerships with “ecosystems” that serve a particular client segment. Here, the segment is (Swiss) SMBs and the ecosystem includes a software provider; a bank (UBS); an insurer; and a network of 358 small accounting firms (status as of late October 2017).

Extending the concept to other products (P/C insurance comes to mind immediately) and replicating it in other countries should be relatively easy once the software is adapted to local legislation and local banking data transfer standards.

Conspicuously absent from this deal are the usual intermediaries, brokers, IFAs, and employee benefits consultants. In most cases, the savings on intermediary compensation ought to be significantly higher than the cost of the software, providing a monetary incentive to switch on top of the convenience factor, as long as Swiss Life decides to adjust its pricing accordingly.

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